Oracy Foot In The Door

It’s not often we hear about female MCs in the UK, and when we do it’s not for long either.  One or two might pop up for a while – hell, we might even get a collective of them standing together – but often nothing more, unfortunately.  There is one, however, that is here to stay.  Let me introduce Wolverhampton native, Oracy.

Oracy’s been making waves in the underground hip-hop scene for some time now, and has dropped her first album, “Foot In The Door“.  It’s a pretty self explanatory title, suggesting that now she’s here, she’s here to stay.  A 13-track project, it packs just enough in to make you want more, without suffocating you.

Intro” is a pretty quirky welcome to the whole project, which kind of reminds me of Estelle, and runs perfectly into “Principles“.  This really sets the tone of Oracy as an artist, and gives the idea that she wants to represent hip-hop in i’s truest form: in the words of Afrika Bambaataa: “Peace, love, unity and fun”.  A nice contrast follows withy “Piss On The Mainstream“, and the title kind of tells you all you need to know; it’s a sentiment I’m damn supportive of, especially within hip-hop.

In amidst these bold statement tracks, Oracy still finds the time to educate the listener on the dangers of GM foods and the downsides of meat-eating and general lack of healthy choices in our diets with “Buzzin“. “Reminiscing” is about Oracy’s younger days of skating and hanging with her homies (as opposed to working to pay the bills and studio fees like she is today). It’s a throwback for most, and reeks of honesty.

Check Oracy out with Birmingham native TrueMendous in this documentary.

Just when you think Oracy’s album might be getting bit glum and maybe a bit too serious, she hits out with “Overwhelmed With Optimism” and “Sapiosexual” which pick the listener back up. A ‘sapiosexual’ is someone who is primarily attracted to intelligence, and the track deals with this concept which is a welcome change for a hip-hop track (especially for those who seem to think all this music is about is sex and disrespecting women).  If that wasn’t enough to convince naysayers, Oracy even has a little dig at lazy MCs with “Sofa Soldiers“, which has a little Pharoah Monch vibe to it.

The beat selection for the album is on point: a nice combination of boom-bap, catchy samples, and just enough left-field trip-hop really makes this a well-rounded and pleasantly diverse album, whilst still maintaining a good sense of coherence.

Lyrically, Oracy really sets herself up as being a serious contender for the potential crown of the queen of UK hip-hop should she continue to grow; with a smooth, laid-black flow (but some real blunt bars to boot), she has well-structured rhyme schemes that might make her the UK version of Rapsody.

In the context of music coming out from the West Midlands – especially Wolverhampton – she’s really hit hard and capitalised with this project.  The collaborations are well chosen and restrained enough to enhance her voice, rather than overtaking or squashing her.

When Oracy looks to follow up on this album, the only thing I might look for is some more up-tempo tracks.  We’ve caught a sense of the rebel in Oracy, so a few tracks that embody that (perhaps with a little rock influence; something that makes me want to throw my jacket aside and break) would be welcomed. Aside from that, there’s also room for some spoken word or a little bit of live instrumentation, as well as some storytelling.

All in all, however, this is a really good debut album; it represents real hip-hop well without needing to pander too much to an American sound. It doesn’t totally reject the influence and foundation of stateside music, though, so I’m really looking forward to seeing what else Oracy brings to the UK table in future.