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Oscar #Worldpeace

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Oscar #Worldpeace exudes poise. The rapper, producer and composer from London combines a cool disposition, an introverted personality, and a conscientious approach to music, crafting antsy and composed anthems that speak to personal growth. The product of an African and Caribbean background, music has guided his course as he has crafted an enticing perspective of his own life through his lens, enveloping sounds as diverse as rap, grime and R&B in the process. Nearly a decade since his arrival, he remains one of UK music’s most potent storytellers, co-signed by the likes of Mike Skinner and other titans of the country’s music scene. “This is the kind of artist I’ve always wanted to be,” he declares. “In my early days, you heard me be introspective and in later years, you’ve seen I can switch it up to be a bit braggadocious. Now I feel like I’m going full circle and I want people to listen thinking, “rah this is left! This is different!”

This artistic duty is attributed to his foundation. Oscar grew up in Tottenham, an area with a complicated social history owing to years of industrial growth, physical reconstruction after the Second World War and simmering tension between its residents and the police. Famously, the riots of 1985 and 2011, sparked by police brutality, have defined its recent chronology. But in the Tottenham in which Oscar was immersed, people looked after each other, diversity was the norm, and resilience prevailed. As a young spitter, he was inspired to mould his music towards helping people. “[Tottenham] is so special,” he says. “You don’t get that community feel anywhere else. How multicultural it is and the stories that come out of it. That’s why it’s so important for my music to reflect where I’m from, it holds a special place that I can’t ignore.” Oscar soaked in the musical musings of his surroundings. Marvin Gaye, Faith Evans, Sizzla and the sun-kissed sounds of UK garage filled his household, while local stars like Skepta, Boy Better Know and Wretch 32 were making waves within his own postcode. In between, discovering the otherworldly music of J Dilla would also map the road he would walk.

As a result, his music is a nimble portrayal of a young man battling the unpredictability of the everyday, its nooks and crannies examined with pinpoint accuracy. Claiming to be the best rapper, a norm in the genre’s highly competitive canon, is only so great, but he wanted his music to reflect his reality. With this mandate, Oscar went to work, releasing his first official tracks under the #Worldpeace moniker. 2014 debut 'Mook' carried frenetic, precocious energy as he marked himself out as an MC with the heart of a lion, ready to run roughshod on the UK rap game. In the middle of this alchemy, he found a mentor in the indomitable Mike Skinner, frontman of The Streets, who equipped the young Oscar with the musical and personal tools to be himself, unequivocally. “[Mike] heard ‘Mook’ and DM’d me and I couldn’t believe it,” he remembers. “He is a mentor, still is. I was able to tour with him and Murkage Dave all over Europe and it helped me a lot in how to navigate the industry and keep your people around. You don’t expect to get that help so soon after you drop your first single. Mike is really important to who I am as a person and musically.”

Growing into his musical identity, 2017 marked a benchmark with the release of his first official project, Recluse. Scattered, sparse and at times claustrophobic, Oscar is laid bare, unfiltered in his appraisal of his own mental health, being broke, and trying to do better for himself and his family. The message was received and the likes of i-D, Vice, Complex and Clash showered the project with acclaim across the board. "‘Recluse’ was about laying all my cards on the table and a way of saying, “this is me, take me as I am,”" he says. "I still go back and listen to it because it really captures a mood and period of time." In 2018, Oscar released IC3, an incendiary 4-track opus taking its title from the classification of black people by the police. The EP spoke to the human condition of being black, its cultural richness and political complexities, with very direct barbs at the police, calling them out for their hands in the deaths of Mark Duggan and Smiley Culture, both in 2011. For Tottenham-born Oscar, Duggan's death, in an area he calls home, was of particular importance to address.

By the time 2020 rolled around, Oscar had welcomed his first-born child into the world, the most important stage of his life. This is a motif examined on his next crucial release, Sporadic, exploring his venture into fatherhood in places, as well as an eclectic look at love, lust and identity. The project, as well as the four-tracker HIS AND HERS from the same year, retains Oscar’s vivid portrayal of everyday life and a hint of flossing, typified by an anthem from this era, the MINIKINGZ link up ‘Mmm.’ On the collective containing himself, Ragz Originale, BenjiFlow, Rxlls and E-WHIZZ, which released its debut project ICONICY in 2022, Oscar proclaims: “We’re the most diverse collective coming out of the UK! There are so many different flavours in what we do, and everyone has their own lane and knows how good they are. Most importantly, we’re always trying to push our music to new levels.”

This endless grind for elevation has remained at the heart of Oscar’s journey. Now taking his first steps into music production, putting together his own music (‘Never Broke Again) as well as beatmaking for the likes of MINIKINGZ and Bawo among others, he reached a personal highlight in 2023 when he composed the score for Dancing Before The Moon, a film produced by the British Pavilion, premiered at the Venice Biennale.

Now, Oscar is ready to unlock his first official album, Mum, Pray For Your Son, set for release in early 2024. The 10-track opus features Bawo, Planet Giza and Qendressa and production by Oscar himself, Waller, Igloonoise and Oscar Jerome, and is a deeply personal look into his incarnation as a father, husband and son, powered by his desire to build a catalogue that stands the test of time. One his family can look back on with an abundance of pride. “This project is very personal to me,” he explains. “I’ve had the title since 2018 but I needed to live the life as a parent and a husband for the title to start clicking. It’s reflective of me growing up; my mum and dad parenting me and sharing stories with me, which I then transfer to my son. I was a little scared about putting something like this out at first, because you toy with the idea of catering to what’s popular out there. But I started making music because my favourite artists gave me stories and feelings to last a lifetime. That’s how I came in the game, so I had to take myself back to that essence. That’s what Mum, Pray For Your Son stands for.”

Realigned in his purpose, Oscar is set to unlock a new level to his art, but the lessons taken from his environment and his personal community will remain at the heart of what he does, as he aims to assist those who will listen. “I want my music to tell you that you’re not alone,” he says. “There’s always someone feeling how you feel, even if you don’t think so. Someone is there for you. That’s what my favourite artists have given me, so I hope I can do the same.”

Oscar #Worldpeace
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