Hip hop in Scotland - Taking the mic
David Pollock selects ten of Scotland’s brightest hip hop talents
MC SOOM T
Combining fierce vocal ability with commercial versatility, fast-rapping Glaswegian Sumati Bhardwaj has opened for Basement Jaxx and Aphex Twin, and performed diverse styles such as reggae with Mungo’s Hi-Fi and folk alongside The Burns Unit.
PROFISEE/CLOAK X DAGGER
Around since the days of the Scotland Yard MCs, Profisee is a solo artist and the former co-promoter of Edinburgh’s Volume dubstep and grime night. His partner Ema Johnson used to be involved there too and the pair now record together as Cloak X Dagger.
Starting out as a boyband in their teens, the Edinburgh trio have grown up (sorta) and grabbed attention in NME, Front, Arena and of course nabbed a List cover for themselves. The commercial face of Scottish hip hop, they’re a crew of effortless party-starters.
A throwback to the good ol’ days when a rap single wasn’t a rap single without a massive string sample from an old soul track over the top, Edinburgh producers Fly-T and Professa Fresh make fine music. Also check out their DJ sets around the country and their debut single on Mungo’s Hi-Fi.
Influenced as much by Dr Dre and Ice Cube as they are desi and bhangra sounds, Glaswegian brothers Raj and Pops are fixtures on the local scene and set to go further. Bobby Friction is a fan and they’re signed to the Panjabi MC-breaking Nachural label.
This isn’t a time for Sugababes and Girls Aloud, is it?’ asks Northern Xposure’s Eunice Olumide. ‘But that’s what the bourgeoisie want us to listen to. As long as we don’t think about reality while they make their money and ruin the economy and the economies of other poor countries suffering in the world.’
Not the kind of thing a Scots-Nigerian girl from a council estate in Edinburgh’s Sighthill should be concerning herself with, right? Wrong, of course. The only one of her peer group who went to university, Olumide would travel to London in her mid-teens and rapped on the same stages as a pre-fame Mike Skinner and Estelle. She’s toured the world since with her older brother Ibrahim and the Northern Exposure crew – a bunch of kids from the local area who help with performing, production and crewing. ‘This band isn’t a youth club,’ says Olumide, ‘though sometimes it feels like it’.
HUDSON MOHAWKE & RUSTIE
Call it ‘aquacrunk’ if you like, but there’s more than a bit of hip hop in the squelchy, space-adventurer sound of the LuckyMe Collective’s most well-known, Warp-signed artists. Also see; Jay P, The Blessings, Dema, Nadsroic, Mr Copy, Éclair FiFi.
KYON AND DYEMS
Also on Crystal Wish, the elusive Kyon and Dyems post only childhood photos of themselves on MySpace, but make atmospheric electronic pop with a large amount of Scots-accented MCing going on.
The Glasgow-born, Bronx-raised MC does big, beefy, high-gloss jams and raised his profile previously having collaborated with N.O.R.E. and Busta Rhymes.
S-TYPE AND JAISU
Mates Bobby and Olly from Edinburgh work together and separately on a range of old-school productions with an electro edge, which are earning them work with artists like Prince Po and Sha Stimuli. Bobby’s older brother is in Found, which is a good eclecticism indicator.
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