Just who in the hell is Dave Ghetto? Well, he was the artist formally known as Az-Iz who dropped a single on Fondle Em with his group the Nuthouse titled “A Luv Supream.” Their debut album on Goodvibe titled Deez Nutz managed to make enough noise for Dave to begin working with artists Slum Village, Bahamadia, The Roots and more (and also switch his moniker from Az-Iz to Dave Ghetto). Instead of sticking with his group, Dave decided it would be best to go at it alone for his debut album titled LoveLife? on Counterflow. Will this virtually unknown emcee make a name for himself with the help of a host of artists such as Cee-Lo, Mystic, Phonte and 9th Wonder? Or will his guests outshine him and prove that Dave isn’t worthy of trading lines with them?
If you chose the former then you are in store for a surprisingly good album. Dave Ghetto is a pretty ill lyricist who packages his album with some of the finest talent and gives you an album worthy of mention amongst the year’s most surprising. Rising beatsmith Illmind delivers a backdrop that Ghetto handles with expertise on “Day In and Day Out.” Justus League’s YahZarah joins the fray with her sultry vocals on “Struggle” as Dave laments the hard work one has to put in to make it. Dave speaks on young society’s ills on “Hey Young World Pt 2″ with Phonte on the vocals, 9th on the beat and Mystic (yes….Mystic) spitting right alongside him. You can’t lose with that combo. “Groupie Sex” may come off a little sappy with Cee-Lo on the hook, but it’s a pretty good sappy that many can appreciate.
As great as this album is, one thing comes to mind immediately – “This dude really sounds like Mos Def.” Quite honestly, this is the album Mos Def should have made instead of The New Danger. It’s hard to separate Mos and Dave Ghetto’s voices at times, which could serve as the only drawback on the album. Some of the tracks may not provide the musical stimulant that the others have (“Static” for instance”) but that is only because some of the other tracks are extremely solid that something considered “average” can be viewed as a weak point.
So how strong is the debut album from Dave Ghetto? Quite frankly, aside from his voice striking a little more than an eerie resemblance to Mos Def, LoveLife? is an impressive album from start finish. There aren’t many tracks that will possess you to push the skip button so that’s automatically a plus. Dave Ghetto has delivered a complete album that is definitely worth checking out….even though Mos Def is sitting around somewhere wondering why he didn’t make this album.
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