“Putting music out is a different type of feeling because it makes you realise that all your vulnerabilities are just going to be out there,” Oscar #Worldpeace tells me regarding the release of his latest single ‘Gets Like Dat’. “Music is an expression for me, so I’m not thinking about the release when I’m making it. When that time comes, it’s both nerve-wracking and exciting.”
When you listen to ‘Gets Like Dat’, nervousness cannot be heard at all. The production mixes a hazy loop with hard-hitting drum patterns, creating an atmosphere that’s both mellow and moshpit-ready. The Tottenham rapper finds a unique pocket with his raps, letting off quick flurries reminiscent of machine gun rounds, before switching to a more laid-back approach to his bars. He spits “I feel the pain/ I scar I bleed/ I shake it off/ I bob and weave,” as an indicator of where he’s at in life, articulating the acceptance he’s found in taking the good and bad that comes with the journey he’s on. “There was a time where I always pointed the finger and never accepted things, but as you grow older you learn more” he says.
“I think as musicians, we want everything to be about us, but now that I have a wife and child, there’s no way I can be selfish. I now realise that there’s more to the music than just me because it’s going to live on even when I’m gone.”
Oscar has grown leaps and bounds since his 2017 debut Recluse, the title of which very much described his nature at the time. He was insular in how he worked and who he worked alongside, with close friend Ragz Originale being the only collaborator on that project. He tells me that to this day he still “doesn’t like asking people for things”, but as he’s continued to be open throughout his craft, the easier he’s found to make connections in music.
One of those connections is West London’s Bawo, the emcee whose swagger-rich wordplay and ear-catching cadence make up the second verse of ‘Gets Like Dat’. “Bawo and I realised we had so much in common after meeting up a few times, relating to each other’s upbringing and on things like African culture” Oscar explains. “Everyone who I currently work with is so natural and easy, because the relationships I have all grow alongside my evolution as an artist and person, so we’re all friends first.”
As listeners and fans, I feel like we all have a moment where music transcends its surface value as entertainment and becomes something we connect to an emotional level. Oscar’s first emotional connection to music came in the form of Skepta’s album Blacklisted, a project that he credits for “changing his whole approach to music”. “The things Skepta was talking about were crazy to me because he had seen what I was seeing. He was talking about the Tottenham Police Station, he was talking about things only 5 minutes away from where I grew up.”
Like Skepta flexing his production skills on songs like ASAP Rocky’s ‘Praise The Lord’, or starting his clothing line Mains, Oscar has spent the last few years expanding his skills into avenues outside of his solo music. His beat-making prowess can be heard on tracks like Bawo’s ‘Same Team’. He thrives both in production and rapping as a part of MINIKINGZ, his group with Ragz Originale and BenjiFlow. His instrumental work has even taken him to the world of film scores, working on the British Pavilion-produced short film Dancing Before The Moon. Oscar treats these different forms of creativity as a way to test himself, explaining “I feel like we’re all challenged in different ways from the day we’re born. It’s a challenge to go to school as a kid, it’s a challenge for me to go for jogs every day now, but I still do it. I test myself in these ways because even if the process is stressful, you always feel good in the end.”
‘Gets Like Dat’ is Oscar’s second single of 2023, preceded by October’s ‘Never Know’, From the coverage of publications like Clash to the press release itself, ‘Never Know’ was frequently cited as a ‘reintroduction’. When hearing the head-bop-inducing drums and seamless flow switches of the track, you can see why. “I saw a Kevin Abstract interview the other day where he talked about why you should make your singles the songs that are different because it keeps people guessing,” he says. “Hearing that gave me so much confidence because I want to keep constantly changing the tempo of my music, and in a way, continuously reintroduce myself.”
Oscar’s recent output is all leading up to his upcoming project Mum, Pray For Your Son. The title first came to Oscar in the lyrics of his 2018 track ‘Brave Face’, but has grown in meaning as he’s become both a husband and father. It serves as an ode to family; both the one he’s created and the one he comes from. “It’s a reflection on my experiences growing up, and touches on how beautiful of a mother my wife is, and how amazing my mum was to me” he explains. “It touches on both the good times, struggles, and how my experiences growing up prepared me to navigate love.”
By continuing on a quest for growth and consistently challenging the limits of his creativity, it’s clear that Oscar #Worldpeace is entering a different zone. It’s evident in the beats he crafts, the flows he fires off, and the learnings in his lyricism. ‘Never Know’ was the introduction to the new artist he’s become, ‘Gets Like Dat’ boasts his improvements via an infectious bounce and with Mum. Pray Your Son, his journey of reinvention will be complete. 2024 is looking like a big year for this talented Tottenham musician, and as our chat comes to a close, he assures me that he’ll be entering the new year full-steam. “I’m fully concentrating on the goal of getting this project ready to the best of my ability and releasing it to the world.”