The World Is A Ghetto
by War

Album: The World Is A Ghetto (1972)
Charted: 7
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  • Lyrics
  • War percussionist Papa Dee Allen got the idea for this song. Harold Brown, who was the drummer and a founding member of War, tells the story: "We were living around Pomona and different parts, San Pedro, Compton, and so on. And we spent a lot of time out around Malibu, and in Hollywood. Well, one day we started realizing that their toilets backed up. Then we started realizing that rich people, people living in some of those big suburbs and stuff, hey, they got their problems, they got broke down cars and stuff. So we started realizing the world is a ghetto. And it's really up to each one of us how we take and work with our environment. We truly believe that everybody can succeed. We believe that it doesn't really matter who you are, where you come from, or your class situation. But we don't look at it upon the way people say it, 'Well, if I don't accumulate a lot of wealth I'm not successful.' Or, 'If I'm not wearing a certain kind of clothes or driving a certain car,' or 'I gotta have a certain kind of house,' that doesn't mean I'm not successful. Well, through that song, what we're really trying to say, you can be successful, as long as you do unto each other as you're supposed to do, be a good neighbor. Get out and do the best you can. Work with each other. Work as a team. That's what we need in America. We don't need all these different factions: I'm a Democrat, I'm a Republican, I'm Independent. We are righteous, that's what War stood for. It was trying to bring everybody together through our music. That's why I think our music crossed all the different barriers, why it went into all the different nationalities. Why people accepted it, because it was a hydrogenous type music."
  • According to War guitarist Howard Scott, the intro of this song was his most unique and notable guitar intro using a Wah Wah pedal.
  • In the mid-1990s, Far Out Productions (producer and songwriter Jerry Goldstein), won use of the name War in federal court, and original keyboardist Lonnie Jordan began touring under that name. The other 4 surviving core members formed The Lowrider Band in 2007. (Thanks to Harold Brown for speaking with us about this song. Learn more about the Lowrider Band at
  • The gangsa rap group Geto Boys recorded a new version of this song for their 1996 album The Resurrection. Their version hit #82 in the US.
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Comments: 4

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn February 3rd 1973, "The World Is A Ghetto" by War peaked at #7 (for 1 week) on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; it had entered the chart on November 12th and spent 16 weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #3 on the Billboard R&B Singles chart...
    Was track 2 of side 2 on the group's album of the same name; and on February 11th, 1973 the album peaked at #1 (for 2 weeks) on Billboard's Top 200 Album chart and on February 4th it also reached #1 (for 7 weeks) on Billboard's R&B Top Albums chart...
    "The World Is A Ghetto" was the first of three straight Top 10 records on the Top 100; after this one came, "The Cisco Kid" (#1 for 2 weeks in 1973) followed by "Gypsy Man" (#8, again in 1973).
  • Sandra from New York, NyOne of my favorite songs..I listen to it everyday. The world truly is a ghetto.
  • Rick from Navarre, FlThis is a great albumn. My wife, kids (in their teens) and I would sing the songs in the car on trips. It is the only albumn we all liked and could actually sing along with. The songs all say so much and are so easy to understand.
  • Constance from Dallas, TxWar is one of my favorites. I hate to hear they lost the right to their name. Sad!I was wondering why I see Earth Wind and Fire a lot and not War. War is just as good as EWF just different style. This album cover is amazing. I used to look at it a lot as a girl. I like the boy that is about to kick a man in the but on the cover. Great artistry.
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