Oscar #Worldpeace – Mum, Pray For Your Son

A searingly personal collection that charts Oscar's growth as a father, partner and artist...

Off the back of a four-year solo project hiatus, a period that saw Oscar #Worldpeace become a father, he delivers a new album, ‘Mum, Pray For Your Son’; a ten-track song cycle offering an introspective commemoration of that seismic transition – a window into his past and future. The album’s cover art is a moving portrait of Oscar with his partner and son, who on ethereal opener ‘Privilege Prayers’ asks “Daddy where’s your bible?”. You get the sense from this heartwarming, robust introduction, that Oscar’s in the mood to explore relational and generational ties.

Oscar ups the ante on ‘Billboard Face’ with a brisk burst of neo-funk energy. The layered instrumental emulates the soundscape native to that of featured group, Canadian trio Planet Giza, who add colour and character inflection to a track rife with peppy wordplay. A multi-faceted musician, Oscar boasts production and performer credits across the entirety of this full-length, and the crate-digging flair comes through on tracks like ‘Pure Intent’, which employs a dusty David Oliver sample. The soulful ballad builds into a deep groove, and by the time it transitions into ‘Heaven’, it’s clear the North Londoner is not beholden to a specific era or musical style – a rough-edged mixtape quality emerging instead.

‘Heaven’, featuring a sultry vocal from underrated vocalist Qendresa, is a deep jazz duet reminiscent of noughties-era UK singer-rapper interplay. #Worldpeace mirrors the adult contemporary moment with the previously-released ‘Ferocious’, an eerie and feverish import of grit, and ‘And Sh!t’, a minimal, lo-fi grime-influenced number. On ‘Gets Like That’ with West London rapper Bawo and ‘Never Know’ – perhaps some of the most illuminating moments on the album – Oscar weaves in tales of distrust and distance, unburdening himself from the stark reality many young Black men face when at a crossroads.

It’s not all self-seriousness, and Oscar still flexes. On ‘Ain’t A 10’, the rapper flows coolly over distilled electronic production, spitting “I could never fold” before the OG beat comes back in after a tempo shift. Even if the songs were born from a dissonance in the roles Oscar plays in his life, there’s a brazen confidence underpinning his creativity. Album closer, ‘For You’, is a West Coast rap-influenced ode to his loved ones. It’s not triumphant or twee but there is a degree of acceptance at play here. It’s a microcosm for the album at-large; of cultivating a family one memory and moment at a time, and that being the true marker of success.

7/10

Words: Shanté Collier-McDermott

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