Combining social speculation with bursts of catchy hooks; it’s refreshing to hear a hip hop act that actually sings about something relevant. It’s more Caledonia than California, politics over posing.
The rap collective’s second album has them sounding as fresh and surprising as when their first tunes landed in 2009. Critical acclaim and major festival spots has failed to water down the six-strong group’s unique sound and lure them into the creative wilderness of mainstream hip hop. Essays could be written on the themes and songs of Reject.
Second track ‘Antiheroics’ is a stinging rebuke against the apathy that is rotting at the heart of Britain. Veronika Electronika’s (best name ever) mysterious voice provides camouflage for the ferocity of MC Solareye’s rhymes as he unleashes both barrels on the electorate, pronouncing, “Of course you’re being watched/It’s a modern fact/Putting an X in the box/Says you’re watching back”.
‘Marriage Counselling’ finally provides a worthy musical take on the upcoming Independence vote. Free of petty prejudice, it sees Stanley Odd willing to look society square in the eye and weigh up the pros and cons with a simple call and response structure. Packed full of quotable lyrics, perhaps “An alcoholic, sectarian, illiterate lout/I’m providing the medicine/You’re just spitting it out” is the most sobering way Scotland will be described this year.
But Reject‘s finest moment comes on ‘Get Out My Headspace’ – an absolute rejection of the mundanity and absurdities of modern life. Accompanied by an unassuming synth line, you can feel the group blowing off three years worth of patronising aspersions with the song’s rebuking chorus of “The top 20 pop chart/Get out ma headspace/Hip hop is not art/Get out ma headspace”. Just about everybody gets a blast of their ire – scene-sters, politicians, bankers, illicit journalists…
It is an album that spans so much more than hip hop. It is about 21st century life rather than a product of its genre. It should be huge, but whether it will or not will depend solely on the prejudices of music fans – will you give it a try?
‘Get Out Ma Headspace’ is available as a free download from the Stanley Odd’s bandcamp http://stanleyodd.bandcamp.com/