Cham reflects on 17 years of ‘Ghetto Story’ - Artiste talks about making the hit single, working with Madhouse Records

May 05, 2023
Cham (left) and Alicia Keys (right) during a special shoot for the ‘Ghetto Story’ remix video.
Cham (left) and Alicia Keys (right) during a special shoot for the ‘Ghetto Story’ remix video.
Cham at the premiere of ‘Slow Motion’ on Wednesday.
Cham at the premiere of ‘Slow Motion’ on Wednesday.

This year marks 17 years since dancehall star Cham released the hit single Ghetto Story, which was executively produced by Dave Kelly from Madhouse Records.

The hardcore dancehall tune, which was later remixed to include R&B songbird Alicia Keys, peaked at number 15 on the US Billboard Hot 100 R&B/ Hip Hop Charts, and was nominated for a BET award in the category of Best Collaboration. Speaking with THE WEEKEND STAR, Cham reminisced on the making of the record.

" Ghetto Story was written on the lake in Miami. Dave wanted me to kind of elaborate on my past and how I grew up between Sherlock Crescent, Marverly, Hughenden, Waterhouse, between Studio Mix and Jammy's Studio, and we just kind of filtered from there," he recalled.

Cham was speaking during the premiere of the Slow Motion mini-movie and music video on Wednesday at the ROK Hotel in Kingston. The song is a collaboration with him, Bounty Killer and Dexta Daps.

Now looking back at the success of Ghetto Story, Cham attributed the impact of it to his team, which, according to him, he is nothing without.

"To think about it being 17 years now is very special. When Ghetto Story comes on right now, it still feels like it was released yesterday and that just gives to the credit of timeless music. [It is] not only myself but also my team. Dave Kelly as the producer and you have Monique Blake in the background doing her thing as management, and you have Janet Davidson doing her thing in office. It is a beautiful thing and that shows you that we are blessed," the Vitamin S deejay said.

Ghetto Story was the title track of the first album the artiste released on a major label back in 2006. He has released a number of tracks and projects since then, but one thing has always remained consistent, his loyalty to Madhouse Records with whom he has been working since he left high school. As the label celebrates its 30th anniversary, Cham is happy to be part of the musical legacy.

"The reason I went to Madhouse was because of Buju Banton and all these other great artistes that Dave Kelly has been producing for years. They had Buju when I was going to school. [There was also] Terror Fabulous, Garnett Silk, Nadine Sutherland, Tony Rebel, Wayne Wonder. For them to be doing it so long, 30 years is a massive achievement," he said.

Cham, along with his long-time friend and colleague Bounty Killer, are currently working on a joint EP Time Bomb which is scheduled to be released later this year. It is produced by Madhouse Records.

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