ScAutoTune, a promising lockdown project from Scottish rapper, Kouk, and producer Andra Black (stage name Dubh), is out now. Together, Kouk and Dubh have created an album that exemplifies a raw passion for syncopated rhythms and lyrical expression combined with their indisputable ability to entertain. The pair have a synergy that allows them to excel within their scene, as they blur the lines between comedy and serious rap. The end result is a nine-track compilation with a unique Scottish flavour that is truly distinctive.
Their introductory sequence is a good omen for the tracks to follow, containing flourishes of church organs and a brief Q and A between the two protagonists as they discuss the main themes on the album. What is clear from the offset is the tone of the project: a light hearted take on the familiar melancholy tones rife within Scottish rap. This is an album that utilises humour at its forefront – a risk that has greatly paid off. Their second song ‘Super Silver’, epitomises the skilful production that exudes throughout the album. As an independent project, all aspects were made by the pair themselves, and Dubh solely created the beats, mixed and mastered the tracks. As rappers, each member offers a different style and bounce off each other perfectly.
‘Texts’ is the third track on the album and is a continuum of social commentary, as bars contain lyrics which cement the concept of affliction within modern technology. Conversely, ‘Hate That AutoTune’ is a comical skit; a role-play between two characters debating supposed musical decline and controversial elements of the rap industry. ‘Offline’ , a slower number, follows on with universal themes of youth, offering a slower pace alongside the deft storytelling.‘Like Me For The Smoke’ is perfect for Kouk and Dubh’s notoriously high energy live performances, and will no doubt have the crowd bouncing. The last track on their album, ‘Social’, now has an accompanying video, comically starring Kouk and Dubh themselves.
From Leith, Edinburgh, Kouk’s year changed after a run of cancelled performances, allowing him instead to focus on creating new music. The Scottish rapper has had gigs at several iconic venues around Scotland, Edinburgh’s Sneaky Pete’s and Dundee’s Reading Rooms to name a few, performing alongside other top acts in Scotland such as Loki, Sherlock, SWVN, Billy Got Waves and Fidagul. Dubh is Andra Black’s alter-ego, with a style compounded by unique melodic flows and a thick Scottish accent. Dubh was set to join Kouk in a run of shows across Scotland this year but has instead been busy producing instrumentals and writing lyrics for both ScAutoTune and Yah ISReal’s “Pictish Militia”.
On the album, Kouk and Dubh say, “what happens when you trap two dafties with big hearts in a house with auto-tune machines? Listen and find out. You won’t be disappointed.”
Words by Aisha Fatunmbi-Randall