Sounds ridiculous, right? Scottish people, rapping. No, seriously. And not only is it accurate, but Scottish hip-hop is an exceptionally underestimated blending of nuanced storytelling, cultural portals and progression of lyric, rhythm and rhyme – and now, with the arts embracing the digital medium, Scottish People Can’t Rap?! takes things to a new, virtual level.
To change the preconceptions of the genre and its place in Scotland, award-winning rapper, poet, music producer and songwriter Dave Hook (a.k.a Solareye) is working with Edinburgh based filmmakers Neon8 to create a selection of documentaries which challenge the eye-rolling stereotypes, and supposed novelties of Scottish hip-hop.
Any struggling with the concept haven’t experienced the Scot’s capability of fusing their natural storytelling, adoration of music and culture with interpreting another form of expression, melding them into something wholly authentic, inspiring, and often sensational. And so, utilising Hook’s PhD research, the production team of Scottish People Can’t Rap?! set about to reflect on his practice as a rapper, and infuse a sense of dramatic dissection and cultural critique into a VR experience.
So why VR? By now we’ve mostly concluded that 2020 is a bit of a write-off, but there is a spec of hope many creatives and talented producers have harvested from the ashes. Ingenuity and necessity have encouraged arts online, away from their ‘natural’ home and forced a realisation that other mediums and methods of communication are perhaps what was missing all along. Consuming entertainment has never been easier, and through Virtual Reality, viewers are able to advance and drawn themselves into an immersive venture like never before. Going beyond the confines of usual frameworks, Neon8 shares an interest in empowering VR films and their place as educational tools, and not simply gimmicks, exploring the further possibilities of the digital life of live performance.
On the subject, creative director Kelman Greig-Kicks has said; “VR really does allow the viewer to be right there, in the room where it happens. And as we’re living in a time when we physically just aren’t able to be, we feel the moment is here for this technology to become a part of the live arts & music arsenal to fight through and survive this crisis”.
Spectacularly, and in no small testament to the support and curiosity surrounding the project, the team have been staggered by the overwhelming faith in the planned documentaries – even more so by the success in obtaining the initial £5,000 in crowdfunding in a little under 24 hours. With Creative Scotland offering to match with their funding initiative, this enables the team to get underway with creating the premiere, readily lunging into work. With the first episode now underway, they seek to secure funding to produce further episodes and broaden Scottish People Can’t Rap?! to further audiences.
Crowdfunding for the event can be located here