Something Alternative: Wales’ Hip Hop Explosion

You only need to watch an episode of Netflix’s Hip Hop Evolution to see how hip hop has blown up into a worldwide phenomenon. British hip hop is currently at […]

You only need to watch an episode of Netflix’s Hip Hop Evolution to see how hip hop has blown up into a worldwide phenomenon. British hip hop is currently at its most popular and as the years go on, UK hip hop is gradually moving away from its London-centric origins as more and more local hip hop scenes become established throughout Great Britain. As hip hop takes Britain by storm, it appears that the game-changing genre has found a newfound home: Wales.

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Wales might strike you as an unlikely contender for a hip hop haven but you’d be surprised at the passion for hip hop in the country. What unites Welsh hip hop artists with hip hop’s American founders more than anything is a burning desire to put their hometowns on the map.

Wrexham (a large town in North Wales, about twenty minutes away from Chester, England) is quickly becoming the new capital of Welsh hip hop, with the fastest-growing hip hop scene in the country.

One media company in particular is pioneering Wales’ new hip hop revolution: Larynx Entertainment.

This digital platform for Welsh hip hop evolved out of a collective of local hip hop artists, which in turn was formed as the offspring of North Wales spoken word night, Voicebox, which was founded by author and spoken word artist Tim Humphreys-Jones.

I spoke to Larynx Entertainment co-founder Dave Acton, who is also a formidable lyricist in his own right, about Larynx Entertainment.

Dave Acton elaborated on his vision for Welsh hip hop, saying that “What we want to accomplish with Larynx Entertainment is really putting the spotlight on these artists in this part of the world that seemingly are ignored.”

“The talent I have stumbled on in my time of doing this is truly breath-taking and I hope, through our methods, we can see these artists flourish and gain the attention and following that UK acts based in London or Manchester may receive.”

Pryme Cut Entertainment are also digitally advancing for Welsh hip hop. A South Wales based media platform managed by Jacob Croft, Pryme Cut Entertainment has been promoting its own artists and events, particularly in Cardiff.

A whole host of Welsh hip hop artists are emerging from this scene and are already putting their music out on social media. Let’s get acquainted with them.

Lucid/Someperson are a unique hip hop duo from Wrexham comprising of rapper/beatboxer Saif Nassry (Lucid) and producer Stu Nicholls (Someperson). Armed with high-concept lyrical content and a flow that could rival Ocean Wisdom’s, Lucid’s high-energy performances are not one to miss. Someperson is a gifted producer who possesses an array of home-grown high-quality beats such as old school soulful beats, jazzy vibes as well as boom bap and jungle, to name a few of his specialities. Performing throughout North Wales, the North West of England and already having a few festival slots under their belt, Lucid/Someperson are undoubtedly a duo to watch out for.

Grime artist Runic is also another rising-star of the scene. A talented rapper, Runic is able to nail the grime sound effortlessly with his impressive flow and lyrics that give his music an authentic and personal touch.

Welsh hip hop might be a relatively new scene but not to old school giants like Ed Holden aka Mr Phormula. A Welsh loop-station champion and pioneering beatboxer, the bilingual Mr Phormula is one of the oldest players in the scene and has even had collaborations with respected artists such as The Pharcyde, Jungle Brothers, Boy Better Know, Plan B, Professor Green and KRS-One.

Skinny Bill is another Welsh hip hop pioneer who’s making a name for himself. Although you could describe his music as having the straight-talking sound of The Streets mixed up with the tongue-and-cheek attitude of an old-school Slim Shady, the truth is that Skinny Bill has crafted a sound unique to himself. With a feature-length solo album, as well as full-length collaboration album with MC/producer Phorcite under the name of Shinobi Boombap, Skinny Bill’s musical passion should not be under-estimated.

Turning our attention down to South Wales, Luke RV from Neath is a skilled artist determined to put the Valleys on rap’s musical map as well as representing the wider Welsh hip hop scene. Luke RV’s music is honest and unashamedly about his humble origins delivered with a undeniably groovy flow. Luke RV has an EP already on Spotify and an-ever growing YouTube presence to match.

Evrah Rose is a spoken word artist with content that is intelligent and analytical with a powerful, personal touch. A gifted performer, Evrah is yet another Welsh talent to follow.

Other Welsh hip hop artists with a growing social media presence include self-described alternative rap/emo-rapper Misfit and rap group Lizzi£ Squad.

Of course, these are all just a few of the artists in the scene and nowhere near the full-line up of Welsh talent. If you want to catch Larynx Entertainment’s artists in the flesh, get down to Larynx Live on the 30th November in Wrexham.

To stay tuned to all the talent that Welsh hip hop has to offer, follow Larynx Entertainment on Facebook.

 

Tom Costello

About Tom Costello

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