At Hang, Scotland’s first hip-hop conference, the country’s MCs are given a hero’s welcome – but there’s also important discussion about the prejudices they face
“Here’s a golden oldie,” Nova laughs, breaking into her 2019 single 3am. The crowd scream like she’s just won Olympic gold. This is Hang – Scotland’s first hip-hop conference – and it’s the Edinburgh rapper’s first IRL show since she bagged the Scottish Album of the Year award in 2020 for her debut Re-Up. Topping off a day packed with DJ workshops, breakdance, spoken word and panels of industry experts, Nova’s triumphant headline set is a middle finger to anyone who still thinks there’s no hip-hop in Scotland.
Ransom FA, an Aberdonian rapper who’s competed on BBC’s The Rap Game and shared stages with heavyweights such as Skepta and Wiley, says: “One of the biggest hurdles I had was being a young Black kid with a Scottish accent trying to enter an English-based scene. It was like: people from Aberdeen shouldn’t rap!” He raises an eyebrow incredulously. Edinburgh MC Lotos shares a similar story: “When I first started out, people didn’t see it as viable to be a Scottish rapper. I’d come to London and they’d be like, ‘They’ve got Black people in Scotland?’ And they still do that! I find it remarkable. So I just started touring in the US.”