The Ghetto (6:19)

Cover of Everything Is Everything

From Everything Is Everything and 44 other releases

“The Ghetto” is a socially conscious, mostly instrumental / anthem, released as the first single off American soul singer Donny Hathaway’s debut album, Everything Is Everything, released as a single in 1970 on Atlantic Records.

The song was co-written by Hathaway and Leroy Hutson. The song was a six minute and fifty second workout which built upon a cinematic feel with its lengthy instrumental though it did feature vocal ad-libs from Hathaway, who played electric piano on the song, and constant chants of the song, which had a distinguished Afro-Cuban sound with congas.

The song also featured additional backgrounds, dialogue from what sound like men talking in a street corner and a baby crying before Hathaway ended the song with frenetic hand claps.

When originally released in 1970, the song became a modest charted single peaking at number eighty-seven on the Billboard Hot 100 and number twenty-three on the Billboard Hot Soul Singles chart.

The song was also featured on Hathaway’s revered Live album in which Hathaway and his musicians played a faster version of the song and later featured Hathaway getting the audience into it singing the final chorus.

Since then, the song has been covered in singles, most famously, Too Short’s “The Ghetto”, which featured Gerald Levert re-singing the chorus.


* Donny Hathaway: All vocals, spoken dialogue (except for the crying baby), hand claps and electric piano
* Instrumentation by assorted musicians
o Master Henry Gibson: conga
o Morris Jennings: drums
o Marshall Hawkins: bass


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