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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Hessian Renegade – ‘BullDog’ Single highlight and Interview.

The architects of sound fusion, Conor Moore & Ross McCann have had an exceptionally progressive year through their highly visual and sonically power-driven, Hessian Renegade project. The dynamic duo is set to release a rousing, supercharged single titled ‘Bulldog’ this coming Friday 15th  accompanied by animated music video, to round off, in explosive style, the end of an exciting year!  

Conor and Ross’s unbridled talents have resulted in them sharing the stage with inspiring bands, and from the release of their debut EP ‘Oral Spiel’ has received radio play in the most unexpected of places, Japan being one! Also, this year, the duo was taken under the umbrella of label, PR & marketing organization, Reaction Management which has led to a more structural approach to gained and shared creative opportunity.  

I had the pleasure of conversing with lead vocalist Conor Moore, one half of Hessian Renegade about the duo’s new single release, in where I progressed into other general mind probes about their creativity, influences and future plans. I began by asking him what the latest record was about?… and if the release was under Ross’s independent record label, Esquimaux Records?       

Conor – “‘Bulldog’ is focused on current affairs in the UK and takes a swipe at the polarisation of British politics in its current state with its tongue placed firmly in its cheek.” and yes, as always, it’s under Esquimaux and being supported by our management, which is Reaction Management

Miff – is there going to be a full EP release?

Conor – Nah, not for this, just a single drop to round off the year for us. We are always working on stuff in the background though, this just isn’t part of a bigger project.

Miff – How would you say your year has gone down for the Hessian project?

Conor – Really well! It’s been busy, mostly behind the scenes working on recording and the live show after Oral Spiel dropped, but we played a great show at Cathouse with Neshiima and played our first out of city show in Perth. Got onto Reaction Management which is working out great so far. We spent a good chunk of the year working on a Collaborative project as well which should start to reveal itself in the very near future!

Miff – How did you become involved with Reaction Management?

Conor- Our current manager Dave Maxwell was looking for bands and I stumbled across his post of Facebook pretty much! Sent him the material and funnily enough he’d caught our set last year supporting Neshiima and thought our sound was really cool and different, so we got signed up it’s a fantastic roster of bands so it was really awesome to get added alongside them

Miff – Can you name a few of the bands on the roster so our readers can check them out?

Conor – We’ve already played with Neshiima and Dancing With Dakota but there’s lots of other amazing bands we’re sharing a bill with in December who are all under Reaction like, Take Today, Layaway, DMS, Nocturne Wulf, House of Hatchets & OHNOVA!

Miff – That’s uber cool to be under the one umbrella, December’s showcase event in which Conor mentioned can be found on the following link –

https://www.facebook.com/events/1339874356179532/

Miff – It must feel empowering to channel your voice regarding today’s current political climate through the Hessian project. The political climate is incredibly fast changing, do you feel it’s overwhelming in trying to encapsulate the mood?… In a sense, so many pressing issues, not enough attention paid….

Conor – It’s great to have a creative outlet for my frustration to be honest. the political climate seems fast changing but really, we’re still arguing over the same shit as we were 3 years ago, people are just angrier. the funny thing is we wrote this song a good while back and were worried it would date quickly, but somehow, things I said originally as a joke/over exaggeration are now MORE relevant!

Miff – I hear quite allot of stylistic shifts amongst your music, would you say your project is experimental by nature?

Conor – For sure, at least instrumentally. We’ve narrowed down our core sounds, but we really enjoy changing stuff up and cross pollinating. The great thing about hip hop, dance and rock is how vast they are, each is jammed full of sub genres we can take from. We’re definitely straddling the right genres.

Miff – What would you say is Hessian’s biggest sonic influences?

Conor – we both have quite different music tastes but where we always crossed over was The Prodigy, we’re both massive fans. We also take a lot of influence from UK urban music and dance sub genres like Trip Hop, Garage, Grime, Drum & Bass etc. I think we’re both very attracted to the bleak rough stuff as much as hard sesh music.

Miff – Can you talk about the freedom of you and Ross being able to have complete creative control of your project, from writing, production, artwork and design?

Conor – Its incredible to be honest, we’re only really limited by our free time out-with our real life commitments. We also save a f*ck load of money with our combined skill sets meaning we can invest in other things, like videos, without worrying too much. The creative control from conception to delivery of a final project is beyond awesome, it looks and sounds how we want it every time. For example, the video for Bulldog was designed and directed by us for the grand total of £1.50 and some time.

Miff- Time which is priceless, of course! …Any forthcoming plans for Hessian you can divulge.

Conor – We’ve got some gigs lined up for the new year already, so more live stuff. We’ve got another single + B-sides in the pipe line for some time in the first half of the year and a very different (but very awesome) collaborative effort that should be emerging pretty soon. Now that we’re live ready and have some extra help from the awesome Reaction Management, we’re hoping 2020 will be another big step forward for us!

Exciting times for a bright and imaginative, all empowered duo!

Follow & support their forthcoming release and future creative endeavours with passion and heart over on the following links –

https://hessianrenegade.bandcamp.com

https://www.facebook.com/HesRenOfficial/

https://www.instagram.com/hessianrenegade/