One SP – 12 Years in Scotland (This Is Not Pop)

Review of the new collection by French hip-hop emcee OneSP

French rapper extraordinaire MC OneSP recently released an impressively energetic collection of collaborative hip-hop tracks spanning his career in France and the UK over the past decade and beyond. 

Extracted from long-buried cassettes and mini discs, some thought lost, the album is a heady sonic trip through some incredible studio sessions, featuring some influential names for those familiar with the bustling late 90s Edinburgh hip-hop culture, and even the formative years of Big Dada. 

OneSP, with the help of boutique Glasgow label This Is Not Pop, compiles these hidden gems in the order he found them, minimally tampered with. The sure studio hand of Gareth Bury, aka Asthmatic Astronaut, is apparent in the presentation of the collection, which finds a home on his buzzing short-run imprint.

Through these productions, the listener can hear as OneSP discovers his particular creative zone, located in a sense of spontaneity and improvisation. This is hip-hop borne of street cyphers, freestyle sessions and late-night, smoked-out clashes. As the recordings progress, the stability of his identity as a rapper and poet emerges, revealing bags of charm, eccentricity and humour on each recording.

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His sharp intellect is contrasted with some very silly wordplay, which bursts energetically through in synchronization with his collaborators. A diverse MC, OneSP is a lyrical chameleon, adapting vocal styles to changing beat dynamics, swinging easily between hip-hop’s touchstones in jazz, funk and dub.  

This creative self-awareness reverberates throughout, and the whole album delivers slice after slice of unity, head-nodding beats and just sheer fun. Producers and vocalists who bring their own distinct styles to the table include collaborators such as ragga hip-hop legend Toastie Tailor of New Flesh, with whom OneSP collaborated before they became the first band to sign to Big Dada. 

Elsewhere, appearances from Edinburgh alt-hip-hop lumiaries like Mikel Krumins of Abdominal Showmen, and Lifeshows of Underling will cause gasps of recognition from those in the know. Sterling production from the likes of Ben Seal, Jatin Purin, DJ Red 6, Salam Anders and of course Asthmatic Astronaut keep things varied, and always enthralling. 

This impressive collection is a time travel adventure – a narrative snapshot of OneSP’s creative exploration, aesthetic and artistic interactions from a little-known but much-admired era of Edinburgh’s underground hip-hop culture to the present day. 

Within the gaps of these recordings, OneSP traces the steps of his journey from the south of France, where his peers often taunted him for being a mere poet, rather than a macho MC, to finding his creative identity here in Scotland, and building his very own family unit, both in his personal life, and in his creative circle of friends. 

Meant to be released in celebration of OneSP’s 12th anniversary as an adopted Scot, the fact we had to wait until 20 had passed only makes this compilation more of a delight. To the first-time listener, what difference does time make? These tracks still vibrate with the urgency of now, even when they call back to lost eras.    

Affiliated with music collective the Black Lantern Clan in the mid-2010s, OneSP threw down an in-depth interview earlier in the month with label founder Texture, on his newly-minted Scottish hip-hop radio show for Radio Kaos Caribou.

RR caught up with Texture to ask about the interview: “Interviewing onesp for the radio show reminded me just what a tremendous rapper he is.” On the evidence of these two decades, even that would be an understatement. 

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Author: Miff Morris

In many senses, I am still discovering myself through the complex tapestry in which life continues to weave, gaining unique physical experience in order to aid the progression of my precious spirit, this will continue for the rest of my fated days and my understanding of who I am shall be determined through how I learn to react, act and adapt towards the circumstances I face. I do sincerely hope the span of this life is enough to fully come to terms with the potential of my unique existence, through deep-rooted understanding, compassion, and love, and that I may fully acknowledge the absolute full potential of my existence through the network of others. Thus far the core of my being has learned through unique experience and individual perspective that I am most certainly a creative soul who takes solace in the truth & liberty of artistic expression. Freedom lays behind the eyes within the evocative realm of one's imagination, transforming originality through individual perspective, this is when my art becomes yours. Inspiring, motivating different modes of expression to overall influence and shape a better world, to help elevate to a higher consciousness. We are part of the great web of life and in this way each and every one of us are interconnected, to create a major shift in consciousness. We must wholeheartedly start to believe in what can be created for the greater good of this world, in my view it is most certainly the power of thought and intention which connect us, no matter how near or how far. Being understood has always been of paramount importance to me, self-expression is something I have been aware of from a very young age. From my point of view, artistic expression has always been the most liberating and uniting mode. When I am not caught up in life's cogs I love to write poetry, short stories, and shoot photographs. I adore and feed off music, so I highly enjoy capturing the live music scene in the city of Glasgow, Scotland. I also enjoy writing for Uk Entertainments website, Louder than War, as well as run my own music blog www.Revel Rousers.org, Amalgamating my love of music, writing, as well as photographic expression (Music, Landscape, Street, Wedding), which gives me a great sense of creative release, therefore forging a strong sense of purpose in the way of documenting life's remarkable moments. I find working with creatives within the music industry is wholly inspiring even though at times it can be quite challenging, after all, the greatest realizations and lessons learned are born out of challenges. I figured, seeing as I have a platform for my music reviews, interviews and photography I thought it would be time to create a platform for my creative writing and poetry.....It takes courage to expose oneself through the intimacy of poetry, However, that is how we truly unite and grow in compassion and understanding of each other's true essence. I am a deep thinker, I understand the power of words and their meanings. I also understand how empowering artistic expression can be. There is a raw truth buried within each original idea combined with a power to help change the world. Artistic expression is forever transforming through interpretation, that is what I mean when I say "When My Art Becomes Yours" My philosophy is to understand more, in order to love more....... Love ~M~

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