Stanley Odd - Oddio
Stanley Odd are, with Young Fathers and Northern Xposure, part of a hip hop scene currently on the rise in Scotland. Rather than sticking to the gangsta-rap themes of guns, bitches and bling preferred by certain Stateside artists, the rappers who form the line-up of Stanley Odd are story-tellers, constructing legends of Xbox-playing wasters or ‘asthmatics with hand-me-down gym kits and NHS glasses’; finding a tune for every tribe of the youth culture who might stumble across this CD. The words flow naturally, silencing any fears that swift lyricism is the sole preserve of American rappers, and sprinklings of humour are used sparingly enough to prevent this sliding into comedy-novelty territory. As with any rap album making an effort to be intelligent, there’s also a slightly political undercurrent, although again, not enough to be overwhelming.
On the downside, hip hop is composed of two basic elements – the rap and the beat – and on the latter, the album stumbles. For the first little while, the soul-jazz-funk instrumentals provide a fine musical foundation, but there’s only so long you can hear a wah-wah guitar pedal or Seinfeld-esque slapped bass lines before you wish they’d gone a capella – or at least diversified the genre a bit.