Scots, Knocks and Hip-hop

Did you watch that brilliant documentary called The Great Hip-hop Hoax? If not then the basic gist of the story is two Scottish rappers struggle to get taken seriously with their accents so end up adopting fake Californian personas and their careers took off. It’s definitely worth a watch, but thankfully I feel that a time might be close where the industry, and perhaps world at large, falls in love with the sound of Scottish rapping. I know I certainly have.

The final clincher was watching Stanley Odd at Knockengorroch on the weekend just gone. A fantastic Scottish Hip-hop band with tons of energy and plenty of well executed, relevant and poetical rhymes, dealing largely with social issues, which is something that is fairly consistent with everyone I’ve mentioned here. They’ve been around since 2009 but the first track I heard of theirs was the 2014 Scottish referendum inspired track Son I Voted Yes. One of their more laid back tracks but with some top class lyrics.

I also mentioned the more experimental band, Hector Bizerk in my post from The Great Escape a couple of weeks ago. They have been around since 2011, though they seem destined to make their way into the Industry this year and have been included in a few Ones To Watch lists. Their latest track Rust Cohle is inspired by Matthew McConnaughey’s character in the True Detective TV series and is featured on their EP, The Bell That Never Rang, which is also the name of the new album from fellow Scotsmen, Lau (I’m guessing both took their name from the miracles of St Mungo – incidentally I had great fun playing on the Mungo’s Hi-fi rig at Knockengorroch festival, they also played a killer set with Solo Banton – but I digress).

The LaFontaines are possibly the better known of the bunch with daytime BBC Radio One play and a more commercial Rock Rap sound. They’ve been hailed by the press as ‘the best live band in Scotland’ though I’m yet to see them live.

I actually wasn’t sure about them at first and it’s been the rapping in a Scottish accent that I find most endearing. I shall definitely be keeping an eye on them though and I’m feeling their new single King.

Finally is a rapper (singer/piper/dj/producer) called Griogair, whose rhymes are all (or at least mostly) in Gaelic. I’m not sure how I managed to miss him at Knockengorroch as he joined both Shooglenifty and Girobabies on stage, but I must have nipped to the toilet both times. Quite a few people were asking me about him whilst there, but I didn’t find out who he was until I made it home. Check him out and keep an ear out for the rise of the Scottish rappers.

Note: It’s been pointed out that I haven’t mentioned Young Fathers, after all they include Scottish rappers as part of the group. The only reason I haven’t is because this article is more about the rapping in a Scottish accent and their’s aren’t so prominent. However as I’ve mentioned Knockengorroch, it’s only fair to say that their show at the festival was one of the best gigs I’ve ever seen from anyone, anywhere. I was totally and utterly blown away. This was in no small part to the magical surroundings and a primarily Scottish crowd who fully appreciate great music.

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