Getintothis’ Nick Peet on why it’s time for someone to take Scouse rap overground.
This week marks the anniversary of one of music’s most popular genres – hip-hop.
On October 13 1979 rap music went mainstream when the Sugar Hill Gang‘s Rapper’s Delight became the first hip-hop track ever to hit the US Billboard charts.
Shame then that Liverpool’s history in the noble art of hip-hop could be scribbled on the back of a matchbox.
The city that spawned four boys that would go on to change the face of popular music forever has the kind of rap back catalogue that would make even Vanilla Ice wince.
The banks of the Mersey have absorbed every other sound from stars of soul and folk to classical and country developing their style with a Scouse twang.
But the hip-hop influence, has for almost three decades now, passed Merseyside by.
The highlight of Scouse rap remains Liverpool’s FC’s 1988 FA Cup final anthem the Anfield Rap, while John Barnes is the nearest thing to Jay-Z that we’ve produced after his stint on England’s 1990 World Cup anthem World in Motion.
During last year’s Capital of Culture celebrations Toxteth rapper Riuven took to the stage at the grand opening of the ECHO Arena but he’s little more than a comedian at heart portraying the parody of Scouse Rap, unlike the many others taking their lyrics much more seriously.
Over the past few years British rappers have suddenly begun to emerge as genuine marketable money-making artists for cash hungry studios, no more so than Dizzee Rascal, the London rapper who is arguably the most popular musician in Britain right now.
But is Scouse Rap about to go mainstream too?
Spend half an hour on YouTube right now and you’ll discover that the genre is exploding at an almost uncontrollable rate.
The likes of Mr Bang On, Kev Teezy, Renegade and DyNamic are laying down freestyle raps almost as quickly as they can be uploaded.
Kev Teezy: This is Merseyside
And back in August The Picket hosted a Scouse hip-hop night when names like Skech and Crude Craig spat well thought through lyrics of tales of life growing up in the real Liverpool.
Unlike a lot of British rappers there’s no forced American accent it’s all Scouse and straight from the streets of Croxteth, Bootle and beyond.
And it really should come as no surprise that Liverpool would be a hot-bed for hip-hop music.
After all, like New York and Los Angeles, Merseyside is a working class city with its fair share of mean streets and tough living.
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The big question now is how long will it be until the Scouse rap scene is given a genuine platform to truly become recognised?
After all, 30 years ago in back street parties in the Bronx district of New York nobody imagined then that they were creating a new sound and collective that would lead to a multi-million dollar empire.
Surely now the time has come to upgrade Liverpool’s hip-hop soundbite from, “Alright Aldo’, ‘sound as a pound’, ‘I’m cushty la, what’s going down?'”
Mr Bang On: Scally Thugs