By Erica Lennie
Fans of One Direction look away now; there are no love stories to be found here. Instead Scotland’s emerging hip hop scene, which has been crawling out of the underground and edging closer to the mainstream over the past few years, is discussing the harsh realities of living in a society where unemployment or minimum wage is the norm, Saturday nights in the city centre resemble the Somme and serious substance abuse problems, alcoholism and casual violence plague our tiny country.
Easy listening it is not but someone has to bring these issues to light. Thankfully artists such as Hector Bizerk, Stanley Odd, Loki, Gasp and Kayce One & Toni are doing just that.
When Hector Bizerk burst onto the scene just over two years ago their concept was simple: drums and rap. Their debut album ‘Drums. Rap. Yes’. features Louie’s witty, hard-hitting and flawless lyrics combined with Audrey’s perfect rhythm. The speed and unparalleled force in which Louie raps is mind- blowing and instantly commands the attention of the crowd. Over the past two years the duo have performed relentlessly and it appears their hard work is paying off with a second album in the pipeline and summer festival appearances at the likes of T in the Park, Insider and Wickerman.
Last month’s Scottish Album of the Year Awards highlights just how far the hip hop genre has come with Edinburgh’s Stanley Odd finding their second album, Reject nestled alongside nominees such as The Twilight Sad, Meursault, and winner, RM Hubbert. Collaborations between artists of different genres are also becoming more popular, helping to bridge the gap between hip-hop and mainstream music. This was demonstrated recently at Glasgow’s legendary King Tut’s when Hector Bizerk performed with alternative pop trio Prides and were featured on the same bill as Fatherson and The Cairn String Quartet.
Yet Scottish hip hop is far from selling itself to the masses. Listen carefully and you’ll find the lyrics still hit as hard as a Glasgow Kiss. Still not convinced? Seek out venues hosting regular rap battles to witness some of the sharpest, most foul-mouthed and hilarious lyrics you’ll ever hear.