Obviously comparing Glasgow to New York or LA is some serious exaggeration, but I was lucky enough to discover the other day that the city has quite an underground hip-hop scene. I’m sure some of you were already aware of this, but for those of you as clueless as I was, I present by way of introduction The Being.
The Being is a collection of hip-hop artists from Glasgow who met each other at gigs and around town. Their Myspace states that they are “more a stream of consciousness rather than a physical entity”. All the various members have their own albums and mixtapes, but the best way to introduce all of them at once is the Total Syndrome Mixtapes.
The mixtapes were recorded at the home of Loki, one of the members, and feature most of the members of The Being on one track or another. Each track has between 3 and 6 MCs, and the chemistry between them is, with few exception, fantastic. On tracks like “The Art School is Dead”, the rhyming is passed around in such an easy, conversational manner, you can’t help but think of legendary multi-MC groups like Wu-Tang Clan. All these guys are good on their own, but it’s the way they mesh together that makes these mixtapes. The beats are equally great, setting the tone with their minimalist, lo-fi feel.
The lyrics seem pretty damn good, but to be honest, I can’t understand what their saying a lot of the time. Thats not really a problem though, the flows are impeccable, and when I do pick up on the lyrics I like what I’m hearing. Also, I love Scottish accents, and they work extremely well for rapping. The sharper, harsher aspects of the speech can be brought out in more aggressive songs, but can also sound very smooth, as is the case on the closing tracks.
Both mixtapes end with a darker, atmospheric piece with more of a spoken word flow (“Total Syndrome” and “A Series of Interludes”). The tracks are deeply introspective, and almost haunting. Definitely a good way to wrap things up.
If you love hip-hop, but hadn’t considered the idea of good hip-hop coming from Scotland, reconsider. Check out these tracks, and if you like them, download the mixtapes. If you like those, there’s a myriad of other mixtapes that can be found on the members’ various pages, usually featuring a combination of two or three of them. Enjoy.
Download: The Art Schools Dead
Artists Involved: Gasp | Loki | Skribbo | The Doonhamer | Mog | Ramesis the 5th | Butterscotch | Scatabrainz… | Archie Bishop | Reggie Bluhnt | Marrik Layden Deft | Respek BA
Albums: Go to the above Myspace pages for albums and a ton of free mixtapes
Links: Myspace (pretty bare, you’re better off going to the individual artists’ pages)