About The Episode
In this episode, CRPNTR speaks about his transition from heavy metal to hip hop, what you can expect at one of his gigs and his love of Scottish accents in hip hop. His selected songs are “Hay,” “Milk, and “Vimto.”
CRPNTR: There’s new Scottish MCs everyday and one of the nice things is that a lot of them are rapping in Scottish accents.
Host: Immaculate Reception presents a showcase of Scotland’s finest hip hop producers, MCs, beatboxers and DJs. This is The Scottish Hip Hop Show. He’s a Glasgow-based MC, poet and wordsmith. Introducing CRPNTR.
C: Thanks for having me. My name is Owen and I go by the name CRPNTR with no vowels. C-R-P-N-T-R and I come from Stirling, but I lived in Ayr for a few years. Studied in Ayr and now I live and work in Glasgow.
I don’t know. It’s mad. I was very lucky. I was brought up in a very musical family. Around all sorts of music. My dad kind of owned lots of punk and my mammy owned lots of trad. Traditional music. I found hip hop back in the day before streaming and that. I used to get albums out of the library. And I just listened to mad crazy boom bap gangsta rap. I used to get out albums. I think the albums were like. I loved World by D12 and Cheers by Obie Trice, Get Rich Or Die Trying by 50 Cent, Encore by Eminem. I’ve come away from Eminem for various reasons over the years, but Encore is still a top album. Yeah I mean I think it was. I grew up playing drums and so one of the great things I love hip hop and particularly that old school boom bap was because it’s so sparse. It’s just like the rhythms that, the raps layered on top of the beats, you know? And I can remember back in the day. I come from quite a sort of very well, you know, I was alright man. Quite middle class family and stuff, but I can remember loving the feeling of listening to the pure G tunes. Yeah, I just loved those albums. But I guess I suppose it’s worth saying that like I then moved away from hip hop for a few years. I left that when I was younger and I got heavily into metal. I used to front metal bands and stuff and play really, really noisy screamy music and then fell back into hip hop 2, 3 years later.
It’s the old cliche, but we were maybe 15, 16, 17 maybe 16, 17, hiding from the rain, you know, on Scottish winter nights in the dark, sitting, getting up to no good under bridges and in woods and stuff. And we just used to freestyle. Me and maybe 2, 3 sort of really close friends. We used to sort of freestyle and it was just a craic. I was just, it was just a laugh, but I do. I remember loving it and I suppose around then started to write things down. Started to write a few bars here and there. And again, this was after I’d come back to hip hop so maybe 5th year at high school. 16 years old or whatever. I still had no sort of context for it. I mean we rapped and we listened to a lot of hip hop together, but it, none of it was Scottish. None of it was close to home. I had no context for that and there was still no designs on being a rapper or. That term doesn’t. I don’t really feel like a rapper anyway but. You know, none of it felt like making plans or anything. We’d just rapped because it was quite class, but I do remember like even then how good it felt when the words sat right. Or when you landed on a rhyme that felt good and. The Edinburgh MC Tzusan, who’s one of my favourite rappers of all time, once said to me, “I just rap because I want to say cool words, you know?” And I feel that and I think I’ve always loved words and poetry and stuff. And I can remember around that same time in like 4th, 5th year at school studying Carol Ann Duffy’s poems and really gettin it. Having this pure eureka moment about word play, about how cool it is. Suddenly going, “Oh aye!” You can be saying something, but the way you organise the words or how you. What you put on certain lines and stuff. The stresses. You could be saying something different. So I love words and I started rapping then. But it wasn’t until uni that I was comfortable introducing myself like, “This is what I do, you” you know?
Shows are everything. I’ve landed on performing as CRPNTR and releasing as CRPNTR the last few years, but all I’ve ever wanted was to be in bands really. Or for the last decade or something, it’s all been about bands and after metal, there was Polaroid People and Crooq, two kind of bands I was in. Very much hip hop, jazzy influences and stuff. And shows were everything. I was lucky enough to travel with them at various points and play in Europe and stuff. And just have amazing times. What people can expect from a CRPNTR performance is kind of an extension of that without so many of my friends around me. Just lots of stamping around and a fair amount of beer and sweat. I channel some of the old. I really miss being on stage playing metal for those big thunderous drops and just screaming at everybody. I’m quite a nice person, I think. I don’t really like falling out with people, but I love falling out with an audience. I love just pure shouting at an audience, you know? In a friendly way!
First and foremost, not even hip hop specific, my influences just generally and sitting down to make music are my friends, you know? Like I’ve been lucky to, not in a pure tokenistic, cheesy way, but I studied music and that was a good few years ago now. The fri, I was lucky. The friends I made at uni were friends I made a lot of music with and some of it was hip hop, but. I’m getting to that age now where I’m working full-time not in music and a lot of my friends are still pushing that are serious musicians and doing really well. Shout out Ben and obviously VanIves are a wonderful. Anybody that heards my stuff knows that I, I don’t really. It’s not really any. It’s not very G. It’s not very snarly. It’s pretty melancholy and I just love words. Again, I just want to say cool words. I’m fascinated by like surrealist imagery and wacky stuff and narratives kind of offer themselves later.
Voice: You’re listening to The Scottish Hip Hop Show.
C: I’ve picked this tune “Hay,” which went out on Skoop Records a couple years ago. Facilitated by the absolute donny Tzusan. We shot a wee video for it as well. It was produced by Turkish aka Milo who used to be based in Edinburgh, but is now in London. I’ve done a load of stuff with him and I got an EP. I don’t know if by this point when you hear this show it’ll be out, but this year there’s an EP out with Turkish.
C: What is hip hop to me? I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s more uplifting. Hip hop to me, man, is like catharsis and identity. And even though I don’t feel like a rapper. I never really felt comfortable introducing myself as that. I tend to just say I make hip hop, you know? But it’s identity because that’s what feels good in my belly and it’s what I’ve done for years. All night for years. It’s like creating and destroying worlds, you know? Phillip Pullman talks about the great sort of. What is it? It’s the democracy of reading, but the autocracy of writing. Or the. Whatever. This like creating and destroying worlds within your words and power over life and death and characters and colour and like drama and all that stuff. It means progress. I think, but also failure. Yeah, that feeling in my belly. That fuzzy, deep contentment when things fit. When I get a good rhyme scheme, you know? It’s all multi syllabics for me. It’s never satisfying to rhyme just one word. It’s a big, long mutli scheme. Or to flip the rhyme when people are expecting a rhyme and just [mouth noise like a fart] take it out of nowhere. It’s that feeling when things like. When you have that fitting together. It means romanticising sadness and addiction and dependency as well, which is a problem.
Highlights that I’ve had while I’ve been making hip hop, I guess, are being cheesy, but first and foremost is because I didn’t come up in the scene, because yeah I started rapping with a couple of friends, but there was no sort of drive towards involvement in the scene with close friends. I went to uni on my own as a rapper and met people and rapped in bands and all that kind of stuff, but I never felt like I came from the scene, you know? And to go from watching Hector Bizerk and Stanley Odd videos, you know, on YouTube, coming across GASP and Loki and these sorts of people from afar. Louie. From afar to then going to being in it, I remember going to see Tzusan before I knew him, before he was a friend and just thinking. Him and Teknique as well. Watching. I was like, “These are the coolest people.” These people. I want to be in there, but not knowing how to do it. And then just coming into that. So I would say like first and foremost career highlights is just feeling like I’m friends with and working with the people who I used to think, “Yous are class. And I hope I can get in with yous someday.” I suppose more cliche would just be some of the bigger shows. Getting to tour Europe with my old band Polaroid People was just unreal. That was in uni and that was the first experience of sort of being told. Having management, being told your flight’s this time. Turn up. Absolutely in a pure haze the whole time. Playing good shows. Good sized shows. Aye, really big sort of festival stage in Germany. Travelling down to Holland and playing in Tilburg. You know, like crowd surfing in wee sweaty pubs in Germany and just being like, “Aye, that was happy days.” Getting the ferry back with my friends. Just like I always wanted to be a rock star. Do you know what I mean? I always wanted to be a rock star. It’s all I ever wanted to do. Now I’ve found other things, but I still kind of want that deep down. And then also I suppose. It was really nice. I wrote my dissertation on glocalisation in hip hop and hip hop being appropriated. Not appropriated, but hip hop being kind of taken up at, on a local level. It’s this massive, global culture that comes very specifically from one place, from New York really. But that’s sort of taken root everywhere and I spoke about it particularly in Scotland and I got to interview good people. You know Werd, Solareye, SWVN, these people and I was proud of that dissertation. And it was nice to see that recently Dave Hook aka Solareye from Stanley Odd and stuff cited that dissertation in an article that he got published in the Cambridge Journal Of Popular Music. He like analysed some of my words and stuff, which was just really nice. You know as an academic, as a guy, he’s class. As a musician, as a rapper like highest order. It’s just so encouraging that people are taking the time to sort of. When I write rap, it’s really for me. It’s for that catharsis of just saying cool words, again, and sort of fitting words together and images that make me feel nice in my belly, you know? And it’s really nice that people listen to that extent. It happened one other time as well. It was like online. It makes me laugh. Something that people would think is rubbish. Somebody’d gone to the efforts of like writing out a load of my verses and being like,”Somebody tell me why this guy’s good. He’s pure rubbish and that. None of this makes any sense!” And I loved it because. And then somebody else jumped in being like, “No, what he’s doing is like deconstructing the capitalist approach. And all that and I just thought the words sounded good together, you know? I don’t know. It’s always a surprise that people listen that closely. I don’t really mind if they don’t get it. I quite like that thing of, “What is he actually, what is this mean? What is this?” I don’t really know. It’s kind of a load of images that come into my mind and I think the narrative presents itself after that, you know?
Host: You’re listening to The Scottish Hip Hop Show featuring CRPNTR.
C: I really wanted to choose this tune “Milk.” This tune was off my sort of debut album. The first thing I really did. I was like, “Right, I’m going to record something and put it out.” Shout out Audrey Tait for recording that a long time ago. I don’t know the exact year, but many years ago now. This one was produced by a close friend who I was in a band with for a long time. The band was Polaroid People. Produced by Lewis Brown years ago. And it also features my oldest, oldest friend in the world who jumps in on some vocals as well. Somebody that, you know throw back to rapping under bridges and kicking off and stuff together. He was there with me. It’s Finn. And he rapped under the name Chef Q. And to this day, I suppose this tune’s like one of my favourite things that I’ve done. Just for how it’s so funny now to listen back to how my voice sounds. Like listen to myself so many years younger. It feels really high and squeaky and shouty and that. But I’m so proud of it as a composition. I’m so proud of how good the beat is. How well Lewis did on the beat, how it progresses as a song. And not to mention, and Finn’s verse sounds mad. Like his voice is so deep and beautiful. It just sounds mad. And not to mention there’s a free pancake recipe in it as well at the end.
C: I don’t know. I don’t know, really, is the short answer why there’s not been. I mean why there’s not been more sort of quote unquote mainstream support. I don’t feel overly qualified because as I say, I’ve not really sort of reached out as much as I maybe should have and got stuck in things. And I’m not. Yeah, I don’t know. The accent thing probably played a part for a while. Just accents, particularly sort of Glasgow accents, potentially feeling a little bit abrasive to ears that aren’t used to them. That maybe played a part for a while, but we’ve def. I wouldn’t want to say that’s there’s not been support. I, we’ve definitely seen it more recently, I think, and that’s been great. It seems to be since things like grime and drill kinda blew up in England, closer to home and people have had maybe more of a sense of like a formula for how the beats sound and that. And there’s more of a grounding in that so then there’s more space. Like if you know how a beat’s gonna sound, you get used to a feel and you’ve got a little more space in your mind to try and process a new accent that you’ve not heard before. And that’s one of the really positive things, I think, with all this. There’s so many. There’s new Scottish MCs every day that I see online and stuff. There’s so many people. And one of the nice things is that a lot of them are rapping in Scottish accents. And that doesn’t seem to be as much of a discussion anymore, you know? Like from what I see, but again, I don’t contribute a whole lot. I think, obviously it’s worth mentioning like there’s a lot of really good platforms that do good things at the moment for young folk. Twelve50 and Up2Standard and that are doing well. It’s worth talking about Shogun and stuff who obviously took things, really really managed it. Really managed it with the jumping on the internet thing and it’s just excellent.
Voice: This is The Scottish Hip Hop Show.
C: I would say that I think there should be more maybe the press, Scottish press, mainstream press should step up a little bit. And I think that there should be more healthy constructive critique by ourselves of our own hip hop. First. I don’t. I think there was a little bit of a sense of like. If, you get a high five for doing and I’m not sure that. I’m not sure that there’s enough consideration of kind of the nuance there and just like what’s actually been said. I’m not sure that that matters in a lot of ways like on an individual sort of cathartic level and why you should write and stuff. Like I work with kids and I do sessions on writing and all that and I’m a full believer in like get your feelings out your head. Tell your story. It’s fascinating. Why, I don’t know why young men feel so able to be like emotionally sort of vulnerable and sensitive in rap, but won’t say it in person. It’s very strange so I think everybody should rap and you shouldn’t necessarily be critiqued. However, if you’re talking about mainstream support and getting pushed out there, I think one thing that would help maybe just present the whole thing as a little bit more of a considered kind of. I don’t know. Considered package of the Scottish hip hop scene as if there was maybe more reviewing in the big papers of releases. Or more discussion by people and more of a sense of like talk rather than just all patting our backs for kind of, “Oh aye you’ve got really good visuals for that new track” or whatever. It’s all great quality, but a lot of it looks and sounds the same. To be quite frank. And within that, we have to have healthy ways of talking about that. And I know that that’s a bit idealistic and I say that with full knowledge of like I should be included in that.
For me, I love to hear Scottish voices. I love. I just love. I’m so happy to be from Scotland and I love. I’m so proud to be from here and I love people. I love the voices. I love the accents. Scottish rappers long before me have known what it’s like to just do it for its own sake, you know? To make hip hop because you identify with that. You know, it was all just like rapping with your friends in parks and bridges and learning the lyrics to songs. And I would say that I suppose, yeah, Scottish rappers will have known what it feels like to not have a big community around them doing it. And to not have a great cultural context for it close to home. We probably just got that, particularly the folk who’ve been around for a while, probably just got that wee bit of grit about them. And that wee bit of determination maybe. And they deserve it, you know? Everybody deserves it.
Ok, so the next wee jam you’re going to hear is called “Vimto” and it’s a tune I made with Cameo, who’s one of the most talented young producers in Scotland. In my opinion. And also just a quality, quality guy. So yeah, I feel absolutely honoured to get to make music with Cammie and there’s much more to come. We are working on some other projects and stuff together. So yeah, this is a thumper called “Vimto.” And it’s kind of another chaotic swirl down the rabbit hole and lots of introspection and sort of shouting at myself, basically, over a wicked beat. So yeah, it’s “Vimto.”
Host: The Scottish Hip Hop Show is an Immaculate Reception production and is generously funded by Creative Scotland and Audio Content Fund. The Series Producer is Delaina Sepko. Original music and production by Dunt. Graphic design by Kirsty Maclauchlan and marketing by Colleen Reid. Thank you to Sunny G Radio, shmu, K107 and 3TFM for their broadcasting support. Visit www.thescottishhiphopshow.co.uk.