Before we get started! The most important thing about this post is that proceeds donated and raised from Skribbo’s mixtape will go towards repairing/rebuilding London’s oldest anarchy bookstore that was fucking firebombed. I can’t even get my head around that. So, if you can throw some extra bucks towards the tracks for the sake of books and freedom of speech, do it please.
I’m sure there’s a couple musicians you associate with this blog and for me personally one of the biggest would have to be the bEINg and the Scottish Hip Hop movement (which feels weird even calling it that but whatever). Before I had the courage to put their stuff on Digital Mumbles, I was quietly trying to understand the Glasgow rap scene from the comfort of the internet. And, I know how fucking insane that sounds since I’m just some rambling blogger from California. I feel sorry for my old roommates who likely heard a couple hours worth of TERRIBLE and SUPER OFFENSIVE Don’t Flop videos and I remember the confused response from my friends who didn’t even know there was a rap scene in Scotland. OR EVEN THE FUCKING UK (beyond Professor Elemental). I get how crazy it is and I understand I’m not the person who SHOULD be writing up some glowing blog post about how much I love this stuff. But, here we are. It’s been two years. You know what you’re dealing with by now.
If you’re looking for an explanation as to why a dorky girl from the suburbs could connect with this stuff, your guess is as good as mine. I mean besides the obvious talent all of these guys have and a window into a world I’m never going to be part of, I think it has to be a generational thing. I understand growing up thinking you’re going to be great, knowing that your parents expect you to be something special, being well-educated and open-minded. But, then kind of wishing you could spend all day fucking around at home drinking, playing video games, sleeping or a nice cocktail of all three. And, in a lot of these tracks you’ll hear the same idea. It’s this feeling of being trapped by yourself and knowing you could do better but kinda choosing not to until you lost sight of what’s important. It’s not the same as the “Slacker” generation of the 90′s, because they weren’t as self aware as we are. We know that working hard can get us what we want, but we still pull the blanket over our heads and ask for another 15 minutes of snooze time.
The thing that is so great about this mixtape is that it’s a perfect compilation of the talent Skribbo runs around with. I would have killed for something like this when I first heard of the bEING because it gives you a really clear idea of the crazy skill that’s over there. Like, even if you can’t understand a word Loki is saying, he’s probably one of the most musical emcees I’ve heard in a long time. His style is playful and bad ass, which explains why he’s one of the most popular rappers over there now. Then, you have someone like Butterscotch that’s smooth and nerdy who can on occasionally blow your mind with how fast and witty he can be. There’s even a little Ruby Kid on here (who I adore) that makes me sound really pretentious when I talk about how great his lyrics are. It’s embarrassing, so I’ll spare you it this time. The rest of the guys like Gasp and Doonhamer all have their own style and sound which is stupidly refreshing. I know the tracks are a little rough and thrown together, but these guys are all talented enough to get away with it.
And, boy howdy is Skribbo endearing. His rap style is a little like a stand-up comedian running circles around his own insecurities. His American accent, fuck-it attitude and honesty is relatable and pretty hilarious when he wants it to be. He’s also capable of turning that honesty into something more reflective and dark which can get uncomfortable at times, but is always worth a listen. If anyone was going to carry a mixtape, I think he’s the guy to do it.
Let’s talk about my favorite tracks.
Good Evening: A perfect introduction to Skribbo’s style with Scatabrainz producing the track. Lots of attitude, self-deprecation and humor. There’s a lot of clear descriptions of a typical day and night in the life of a bEING emcee and Skribbo’s own personal story of being an American sounding dude in a not-so American country.
Forward to the Past: It’s a pretty goofy track with some serious misuse of auto-tune but that’s what makes it charming. Skribbo and Butterscotch have really great chemistry and when they work together it never feels like they’re competing or unable to bounce off each other. This is the kind of thing that made me love their previous mixtape and bother the both of them for more music.
Jezzy B: A jazzy, bouncing track with two very different, but compatible emcees. Skribbo sets a nice smooth pace while Loki shows off how fast he can ebb and flow. Towards the end Loki just kind of goes off on his own thing and it’s amazing.
20 Years of Schooling and They Put You On the Day Shift: Like I ever needed a reminder that Ruby Kid is a good writer. A track like this makes me want to crawl back over to Maps for a couple hours. But really, this is a good example of a track that I feel like I can connect with even if my circumstances and life are so much different from these boys. It’s about not really having a direction and being a little haunted by it. It’s about how everyone really needs an escape, but sometimes it can completely pull you off course. I love Ruby’s line “go back to chasing dreams away with powder and the pill” and Skribbo’s ability to describe a seemingly mundane and unfulfilling life so vividly. It’s a short track, but very beautiful in its own right.
There’s a lot of great tracks on here to sink your teeth into. If you like Loki, try “Dear Green Waste”. It’s very minimal on production, but that gives Loki a lot of space to show off and do his thing. All of the Wookie Goldberg tracks are ALSO amazing, but I’m biased. I love those two together.