In Chicago during the mid-90s, house DJs started mixing up their sets with southern rap and Miami booty bass, giving birth to ghetto house. The resulting sound was stripped down Chicago house with a raw and gritty edge, and, often, totally over-the-top lyrics exemplified by DJ Assault’s “Ass N Titties” and Mr De’s “Sex on the Beach”. The genre fell into obscurity until a revived version that was harder, grittier, and bassier emerged in the 2010s courtesy of artists like Destructo, Amine Edge & DANCE, Malaa and NuKid.
1990s ghetto house started out as a more explicit version of Chicago house similar to American hip house. While the genre borrows aspects of techno and electro, one of its main defining features is its stripped-down, rhythm-centric arrangement. Modern ghetto house also takes cues from dubstep and trap, often offsetting classic Chicago house beats with trap-inspired bridges.
Ghetto house features bass-heavy drops and rhythm patterns with intricate hi-hat fills that often come straight out of trap music. Pitched-down rap lyrics and bass riffs are complemented with white noise, metallic reverb, and sometimes obnoxious sirens and synth stabs.
Jammin The House Gerald – “Pump That Shit Up”
“Pump That Shit Up” by Jammin Jerald features a frantic, pounding four-on-the-floor uptempo beat with trademark lyrics over stripped down production.
Destructo – “Higher”
Washington DC, 2013
“Higher” has a deep bass sound with a really basic drum beat.
Amine Edge & DANCE – “Halfway Crooks”
French stars Amine Edge & DANCE produce a stripped down track with wobbly bass that looks back on early incarnations of the genre, but on this track there’s a build and drop giving it a more modern house feel.
Malaa – “Notorious”
90s rap legend Notorious B.I.G. gets the modern ghetto house treatment on Malaa’s “Notorious”.
NuKid – “Can’t Deny It”
Los Angeles, 2016
“Can’t Deny It” by NuKid is a great hybrid that seamlessly blends bass house, EDM and trap.
Shiba San – “Back To Funk”
A stripped down Chicago house beat makes for a stark but powerful track that is all about the rolling bass and simple vocal sample.
Malaa & Jacknife – “Revolt”
French DJ MALAA uses auto tuned vocals overtop a deep and simple beat on “Revolt”.
REZZ x MALAA – “Criminals”
Niagra Falls & Paris, 2019
In a genre known for bass drops rather than full-spectrum epic drops, Rezz & MALAA hit listeners with a body-rocking combo in “Criminals”.