It is not often you hear Scotland and hip hop in the same sentence*, but when you do make sure you listen up because they’re probably talking about Young Fathers, a seriously rad hip hop trio hailing from Edinburgh, and they are worth knowing about.
Scottish hip hop via Liberia and Nigeria. Young Fathers’ careful fusion of culture and electronica makes their brand a superior form of hip hop.
This electronic hip hop threesome, comprised of Alloyisious Massaquoi, Kayus Bankole and ‘G’ Hastings, are creating a unique strain of hip hop that incorporates their mixed backgrounds as much as today’s trending electronic music sound. They have been making waves since signing to Anticon in 2012 and have seen a consistent increase in success and popularity winning the 2014 Scottish Album of the year for their EP Tape Two and more recently taking out the prestigious Barclaycard Mercury Music Prize for their debut album Dead. Previous winners of this award have been The Arctic Monkeys, The XX and James Blunt so it is safe to say they are in good company.
Listening to their rhythmic and base heavy tunes it is not a surprise that the music world has responded so positively to their individual sound. The album’s first single Get Up packs a punch; it bounces on a strong fast paced base line and delivers some head shaking hooks. Synthesised drones amplify the chorus and are contrasted by light energetic percussion additions motivating the listener to “Get up” and dance as Massaquoi and Kayus encourage us to “Do the right thing” over the pumping dance beats spun by Hastings.
The African sounds, a product of Massaquoi and Kayus’ backgrounds, Liberia and Nigeria respectively, are easily discernible in both the composition of the music, the style of singing (sometimes chanting) and the combination of dance rhythms. When the group’s rapping gives way to melodic and often harmonised choruses, such as in Dip and Just Another Bullet, a gospel sound reminiscent of the deep south of America can be heard.
Their careful fusion of culture, genre and instruments make Young Fathers a unique musical contributor, they are not creating a different version of an already existing sound, they are creating a new sound and are a welcome addition to both the electronic and hip hop scenes.
Purchase your tickets now because they are currently touring Europe but if you can’t make it over in time to see them live (which I have a feeling would be amazing) their full album, Dead, is available on Spotify and Soundcloud so grab your kilt and get ready to boogie down Scottish style…well sort of.
*Ed: Unless you’re Scottish and um… a hip hop artist in which case it would probably come up pretty often.
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