OBAN rapper Rory O’B is set for a busy summer after announcing his new EP, ‘Quit Rapping’, and a number of gigs and festivals. He’s set to release the project on an undisclosed date after his performance at the legendary King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut on July 18.
Although Rory invited notable hip hop producers to help engineer the final product, the record sees him rapping over live instrumentation that he recorded entirely by himself, including guitar, bass and cajon. Rory believes this makes for a more ‘folky, local sound’.
Rory says: ‘It’s important for hip hop emcees to talk about their surroundings. Oban might not have the shock factor or be particularly dangerous, but it’s the place that affected me and there’s plenty of potential for humour too.
‘There’s no point saying you grew up in the slums if you didn’t. It’s your stories. I think people from rural towns could relate to the stuff I rap about more than urban hip hop because it’s closer to home.’
Rory first started rapping in his teens after performing in a string of local rock bands. He conveys these various influences through an expressive and heavily accented vocal delivery when he raps.
‘My first real exposure to hip hop was actually off a punk label compilation,’ says Rory. ‘From there I heard emcees from other countries and realised that people could rap in their own accent. I got into the Scottish scene from there.
‘I didn’t tell people originally because I was nervous about it, even when I moved to Greenock for college. I thought folk from Oban would laugh at it. I remember performing one show in The Waterfront where I performed and everyone just stared at me. I just wanted it to end.’
However, people’s reactions changed when he released the song ‘She Says’ with established Oban rapper K9 Kev in 2010. The catchy track became a favourite at open mic nights and gig showcases, encouraging Rory to pursue hip hop more intently.
‘It made me think I could do it,’ says Rory. ‘I think people in the local area and Scotland as a whole are becoming more open minded about hip hop. There are young people in town taking up rapping and making beats. There’s still a novelty factor for some people but it’s getting much better.’
The six tracks on Rory’s new EP present humorous observations on Oban and growing up as well as broader social commentary. He’s looking forward to unveiling the tracks in Glasgow where he has a built up a small but committed fanbase.
‘I’m planning an album launch party in Glasgow,’ says Rory. ‘I’m also going to be playing at Kelburn Garden Party, King Tut’s Summer Nights Festival and Audio Soup Festival.
‘I might come back to Oban and do something as well. K9 Kev’s charity gig in February was a massive success – it shows that there’s a real growing interest in hip hop in Oban.’
First printed in The Oban Times on June 30 2016.