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Scotland’s first hip hop and grime conference unveils full programme and opens call for artists to perform at live showcase

Published: 08 Jun 2021

The full programme is unveiled today for HANG (Hip-Hop Aimed Networking with Grime), Scotland's first ever hip hop and grime conference presented by the Scottish Alternative Music Awards (SAMA) in partnership with Creative Scotland.

HANG - A new event for Scotland's hip hop and grime communities, 31 July 2021, 11:00 - 22:00 ONLINE and at SWG3 - officialsama.com/hang

Taking place online (1100-2000) and live (2000-2200) at Glasgow's SWG3 on Saturday 31st July, HANG aims to empower members of Scotland's hip hop and grime communities and celebrate the diversity of voices reflecting the country in the 21st-century.

The all-day educational and cultural programme will see key speakers Tiffany Calver, host of BBC Radio 1Xtra's Rap Show, Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) winner Nova, Aberdeen MC Ransom FA and Orwell Prize winner Darren McGarvey joined by experts from the industry, community organisations and artists from across Scotland.

New names revealed for HANG include Jill Brown, founder of Scotland's first label for ex-offenders, broadcaster, musician and champion of new Scottish music Vic Galloway; Henca Maduro, founder of Europe's largest urban music conference New Skool Rules; Khaleda Noon, the award-winning director of Intercultural Youth Scotland and Zander Whitehead (aka acclaimed emcee Fliptrix), the founder of stalwart UK hip hop label High Focus Records.

Open to all ages and abilities, from fan to established artist, HANG's free programme of workshops gives insight into the core elements of hip hop culture such as breakdancing with Tesko and Shelltoe Mel of Glasgow dance group TheDimeStop; spoken word with Empress, Dave Hook, Becci Wallace and Washington, and DJ-ing with Steg G and DIJA.

Throughout the day, participants can watch the premiere of graffiti artist Rogue One re-creating the HANG logo in the iconic setting of Glasgow's SWG3 where the event will culminate with a live showcase from Nova (the Edinburgh artist behind Re-Up, the first grime record to win the SAY Award) rising Dundee artist and SAMA winner India Ros3, Ayrshire rapper Bemz, Mistah Bohze of Glasgow's label Southside Deluxe, and two artists invited to perform exclusively for the event.

Darren McGarvey says: “HANG presents one of the first opportunities for artists from different generations, social backgrounds and genres to come together and share in a collective experience. Hip hop culture in Scotland is well developed, but not well integrated. This leaves many artists feeling like they exist on the outside and that the action is all happening somewhere else. HANG, in my view, could be a way to smash this perception, by supporting people to realise the truth – together we are stronger.”

HANG aims to empower artists with the skills to take charge of their careers with a series of free panel discussions on topics such as how to pitch your music to radio with Galloway, Go Radio’s Aarti Joshi and Delaina Sepko of Sunny G's Beats & Breaks show; what platforms best support hip hop and grime with Henca Maduro, Clash Magazine editor Robin Murray and Sami Omar, founder of Glasgow-based music platform Up2standard; and how to monetise your music with Zander Whitehead (Fliptrix), Susan Montgomery of 23rd Precinct Music Publishing and Kwame Safo of the PRS Foundation's Power Up initiative to support Black music creators and professionals.

McGarvey, Sinkler and Ransom FA – presenter of BBC THREE's UK-wide Rap Tour – will begin the day with a discussion on the history of hip hop in Scotland, chaired by journalist Arusa Qureshi.

The conference has been developed by the SAMAs, in partnership with Creative Scotland and through consultation with hip hop communities across Scotland to support hip hop and grime artists make the next steps in the industry.

Jamie Houston, Music Officer at Creative Scotland explains: “We know that there are barriers to building a career in the music industry in Scotland. This conference is a key part of wider strategic work Creative Scotland is undertaking with partners to address barriers, draw wider recognition and positively support career progression. Hip-hop and grime is well-established in Scotland, with diverse voices that enrich the country’s cultural landscape.  ‘HANG’ will provide an important opportunity to connect, learn, challenge perceptions around the genre and amplify the voices of Scotland in 2021 and beyond.”

Scottish Alternative Music Awards (SAMA) is a signatory of the PRS's Keychange commitment to include 50% of women and underrepresented genders by 2022 in programming, staffing and beyond.

The last discussion of the day will feature Calver exploring her career from blogger to becoming the first female host of BBC Radio 1Xtra’s The Rap Show with BBC Introducing in Scotland presenter and artist Shereen Cutkelvin.

Further challenging preconceptions about hip hop and grime will be a discussion on the importance of the genres to the wider community with Karen Dunbar (the comedian fronted hip hop workshops over lockdown), Intercultural Youth Scotland founder Khaleda Noon, Donna Boyd of Making Recovery Visible and Jill Brown, founder of Conviction Records.

The group will explore the impact of music within communities, from its role in dry club nights, collaborative performances with refugees, songwriting workshops in prisons and more.

Brown found a majority of inmates she worked with were drawn to hip hop. That's a reflection of the genre's burgeoning popularity but also how hip hop values authentic, unique voices.

Jill Brown says: “I set up my label at the end of last year after leading songwriting workshops for young men in Glasgow’s Barlinnie Prison. Hip hop culture, and its many musical forms, plays a crucial role in the lives of many of those on the margins of society in Scotland and this event recognises this. You can’t underestimate the power of giving people a voice.”

HANG comes at a time when hip hop and grime can no longer be relegated to the edges of Scottish culture.

“Hip hop in Scotland has been developing for as long as hip hop itself,” says Darren McGarvey. “But it has been criminally under-studied and reported due to a fixation on the part of Scotland's cultural institutions on more traditional forms of art and music. The truth is, Scotland's cultural image and standing will benefit immensely from embracing hip hop rather than treating it like a dirty little secret.

“In a nation where experts scratch their heads, desperate to 'engage' young people in creativity and literacy, hip hop provides endless opportunities and some of the world's best practitioners."

Artist invitation

Two artists are invited to perform sets at HANG at Glasgow's SWG3 on Saturday 31st July 2021. Artists are asked to submit a link to two tracks plus a short biography to events@officialsama.com before 5pm on Friday 18th June.

Tickets

Tickets are available from 9am on Wednesday 9th June from Eventbrite.

Day passes for the online activities are free, and tickets to attend the socially-distanced evening showcase are £5 plus booking fee.

All daytime programming will be available for free on @officialSAMA Facebook & YouTube channels. For the full programme visit officialsama.com/hang