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Musician, London

By putting everyday life under the microscope, Oscar #Worldpeace is making rap like nobody else.

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For a district of North London with around 129,000 people in it, Tottenham has had a disproportionately valuable impact on British music over the years. The world of UK rap and grime has been blessed with artists like Skepta, JME, Chip and Wretch 32, and that’s before we talk about the global pop reign of Tottenham local Adele, who breaks album sales records for giggles.

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It’s a special place to grow up,” says Oscar #worldpeace, the latest exciting young creative mind to emerge from the N17 district. Over the last two years, Oscar has crafted a name for himself as a conscious and distinctive rapper who offers candid glimpses of everyday reality. It’s been enough to gain UK hip-hop legend Mike Skinner as a mentor. “I’ve lived in Tottenham my whole life,” he says, “and it’s one of the most multicultural places in London. We are around everything here, and that spirals into our music.”

Oscar is half Ghanaian/half-Jamaican, and spent his childhood listening to the bashment, jungle, reggae and hip life music coming from his parents and grandparents record collections. He had ambitions of being a footballer and then a boxer, but time and time again his heart was drawn back to music. When he graduated from university, he decided to pursue it full time, and after a spate of singles, he finally released Recluse earlier this year. It was a snappy LP, sat somewhere between rap and grime, composed of 9 short tracks that were shot through with humour, truth and wisdom.

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“My writing style is based on what I’m going through, or what is going on today,” explains Oscar. “I don’t like to have fantasy in my music. It doesn’t really inspire me.” You can tell this from the very first song on Recluse, which contains the lyric, “We’re focused on the re-election, but I got family that need protection”. Oscar explains: “That song is about how everyone is talking about politics, but there are real things happening to families everyday.”

Right now, he’s working on his next EP, which will be followed by his debut studio album. That political edge to his music, Oscar assures me, won’t be going away anytime soon. “The next project will be called ‘IC3’,” he says, “which is also the police identity code for black… That’s all I’m saying for now.”

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“My writing style is based on what I’m going through, or what is going on today”