In Conversation With: Ransom FA
The supposed monopoly that London had on UK Rap and Hip-Hop continues to crumble with talented artists from all over Britain at the foreground of the movement. For many of those artists, recognition from both fans and the industry is an important milestone to hit in their journey, but for Scottish-Nigerian rapper Ransom FA - bringing the spotlight back to Scotland and illuminating the vibrant scene that exists there is a more rewarding goal.
The Floor: Earlier in our chat you mentioned that 2020 and the early stages of 2021 were very business focussed for you?
Ransom FA: Yeah, I used this time to really solidify the business aspect. So I wanted to start my record label, which now is up and running and like we've got the ball rolling on that. I was able to release my EP through that. I also wanted to improve my studio. So I got a studio in Scotland. So I could continue to build the bridge and build the scene in Aberdeen, which then helps the whole scene in general.
For a lot of people that don't know and aren't aware of the talent in Scotland, how would you describe the music scene in one word?
Dynamic and hungry moves. I know that's two words *laughs* but I feel like there's so many different sounds when you get into the nuances of what the Scottish Rap is. You'll have so many different sounds and because it's a bit more of an underground scene, it's very lyricist based. So you’ll hear a lot of lyricism in the Scottish scene. A lot of quick raps, very technically sound and technically written Raps. So I'm like, yo, there's a lot of people who are destined to blow. Like I know that with the right push in the right setting with the right everything, there’s certain people who could easily blow. So my aim is just to maneuver myself in a way where I could be like, yes, let me help these people.
It’s really nice to see how comfortable you are in your dual heritage and how they both have a strong influence on your goals and your sound.
Well, it's funny. I was born in Nigeria, so I’m a Naija boy since I was born there, but then I moved to Scotland when I was one years old, so pretty much it's all I know. I’ve been back since but definitely not enough. But when it comes to my sound I think it's the most important thing because music is meant to be a representation of your story and your authenticity. So people are always like, you know, you're a very proud Scotsman or like, oh, I see you repping Naija. And I answer, bro, like I have to do I have to do that because if I'm not representing who I am or if I'm not really representing the things that are true to me then my music is a lie. So I feel like it's the best way to kind of progress. And then, so what's helped me is authenticity. This is how I always see it. There aren’t any other notable Black Scottish people with the accent in the music industry. But let's widen the scale. You'll probably struggle to name any, if you can even name a couple. So it was kind of realising at the end of the day, like I'm not going to fake being from London or from America, I have to just be myself and kind of just progress like that. So I’ve always been like telling my story because until I tell my story, people are like, who is this guy? They used to be like, right. Or, we're not taking it seriously. And now the scene is developing, we're starting to expect people from Manchester, Birmingham, all these different places, which are now normal, you know, Leeds and Brighton even. So it's just a case of timing and being authentic and that will shine. So that's how I've always kind of represented my reach because I felt like for people to take me in, they have to know about where I'm from.
Representation is so important, especially for the younger generations to see.
I get that message a lot. A lot of black kids, even Asian kids message me like, ‘seeing you do it properly, like inspired me’. It made me want to just use my own accent. And I've seen that numerous times. I'm like, yeah, that's exactly the point. I want people to realise that there is a pathway in this industry whilst having this accent that people in your area can relate to. And speaking about stuff that people in your area can relate to.
How would you say The Rap Game has influenced your career?
For me, Rap Game was interesting. Because I felt like I had established quite a big base in Scotland. A lot of people know me in Scotland. And you know, I've supported a lot of artists like M Huncho, like Skepta. A lot of people come up, like Big Narstie came up to Scotland. I supported them like even Eskimo Dance came up. So when The Rap Game came about at first, I was a bit like, I'm not sure if I wanna do this. I feel like I'm kind of established in Scotland and I don't want to go through an X-Factor. But then when I learned more and I learned, you know, it was going to be with Krept and Konan and DJ target and they were going to be doing some, you know, real connections in the industry. I realized that that was an opportunity for me. So going into it, I knew that for me to win, it would have to be- there'd have to be a lot for me to win because it’s not that I didn't believe in myself, but I knew that my sound was so new to the industry at that time that people were just getting over it and come to terms with the sound. I felt about a lot when I was speaking to people they're like oh first, we didn't like you, but then, you know, when we saw you continue and we heard your story and we heard your music we were rocking with you by the end. So I think, what my aim was was to go there and represent and just give a good account of what I do and who I am. And for me it wasn't necessarily just about winning. It was about making sure by the end of the show, you are going to know my name.
So I want to move into talking about your recent EP, Momentum. The title is embedded in every track in some way and so the theme is the first thing that people see. What was the reason behind it?
The fight for momentum is forward moving. We're in a pandemic right now, but the only thing that can stop you is yourself. They all mean you are the biggest limit. So for me, momentum is always just about let's keep the energy going and that's what I've always tried to do. That's why it's called Momentum. Every track is about a moment in time. So that’s why the first song is Momentum, then you’ve got Man of the Moment, then you’ve got Momentous and Live for the Moment. Moment is in each track name but also, there’s a different ‘moment’ in terms of like the first one's a bit more upbeat in the way I tell my story. The second one has more energy, like yeah, we're partying and then we call it like the Drill one, which is a bit aggressive- letting me know where I’m from and then it kind of relaxes towards the end. And I tell you a little bit of my story. So yeah, the aim is not to stop and show people not to keep going.
I can see the storytelling element to the project even through the way you described it track by track which is pretty cool. I think it's really cool when people theme the projects as well. The idea of momentum is both abstract and extremely specific.
And that's literally the point. Like you can look at it anyway, but obviously as you said, it's quite specific. What is momentum? Moving forward. But there's so many ways you can look at momentum. It could be like, and you're about to be hit by the force of momentum? Are you running with momentum? Is the momentum catching up to you? As you said, It’s very particular.
It leaves it down to interpretation.
Exactly. And I think that's the best form of music. There shouldn't really ever be one answer to music. Music should have different interpretations depending on who listens to it.