Oscar #Worldpeace hails from Tottenham; the very same place that fostered a host of grime’s finest. Skepta, Chip and Wretch 32 all grew up right around the corner, their music shaped by the estates on which it was cultivated. Oscar #Worldpeace, however, is cut from a different cloth. The music on his full length debut, ‘Recluse’, is markedly different to that of his neighbours – and indeed most of what the UK currently has to offer.
‘Invent’ begins with a snippet of a conversation about honesty, a quality the album has in spades. #Worldpeace is frank throughout, and on this track alone deals candidly with his concerns for his family, for his own mental health and for British politics. As the track ends, Oscar arrives at two possibilities: “It’s either make a turn or buckle.”
Buckle he certainly hasn’t – the 22-minute ‘Recluse’ is a mini-masterpiece. It’s quiet and unassuming, sitting patiently on its own while “grime” and “UK hip-hop” clamour in comparison. This contemplative tone is immediately endearing, ‘No Change’ being a perfect example of Oscar’s subdued determinism: “I ain't got no change on me / I don't wear no chains on me / You can set the whole place on me / But you can't take this darg heart from me.”
Don’t go taking him for a shrinking violet though – ‘Recluse’ has plenty of personality. The undeniable call and response of ‘That’s Alright’ is like a shot in the arm, while ‘Tate Modern’ has a humour and personality that’s entirely its own (“And I got suttin' in South, big batty might knock a nigga out / And I got suttin’ in North, that's wifey we can't divorce”).
In terms of production, Oscar #Worldpeace and Ragz Originale – his Mini Kingz cohort and the man behind Skepta’s ‘Shutdown’ – are a match made in heaven. The beats on ‘Recluse’ feel carefully considered. There’s a touch of 2-step about ‘Pearls’ and a low frequency rumble to ‘Proletariat’ which hint at their creators’ influences rather than beating the listener around the head with them.
Only one track on the album breaks the three-minute mark, creating a tantalising sense that there are ideas here that are yet to fully crystallise. ‘Recluse’ feels very much like concrete proof of concept – Oscar #Worldpeace’s magnum opus is yet to come.
Words: Lewis Lister
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