ObSceNE open mic night in Gateshead’s Arch Sixteen Cafe has introduced a whole new generation of rappers to the North East hip-hop scene. Sixteen year old, Newcastle rapper Eum has become one of the most beloved new stars to perform at the open mic night organised by Grant Seymour, the man behind the social media blog Hash Rotten Hippo. Eum is always the first to perform at ObSceNE, and usually one of the last to leave, joining in on cyphers on the High Level Bridge looming over the River Tyne.
Word on the tweets suggests Eum has been rapping for a while, finding his feet in his adolescence, experimenting with different styles and developing as an artist. In his latest EP, ‘Macabre.Blossoms’, the young MC showcases artistic flair and a deft ability to overwhelm listeners with powerfully emotive delivery. The decision to release a concept EP as his first project since splashing onto the local circuit signals Eum’s ambition but has he bitten off more than he can chew?
That’s a question I’m not going to be able to answer directly. ‘Macabre.Blossoms’ deserves more than that, because the EP itself is never so clear cut. Nothing is quite black and white, instead there are a lot of grey areas and that perfectly sums up the EP. If you want to understand the narrative Eum is weaving within ‘Macabre.Blossoms’ you’re going to have to work for it.
This isn’t a one-and-done listen. It doesn’t just hold replay value, it demands constant rewinds. The storytelling isn’t straightforward, the narrative structure is erratic but there’s beauty amongst the madness. Eum’s ear for beats is extraordinary. Most interestingly the use of a 2011 Tyler the Creator beat. For some context, at Tyler the Creator’s peak circa ‘Goblin’, Eum would have been around eleven years old. It wouldn’t surprise me if Tyler and ‘Relapse’ era Eminem inspired Eum to rap in the first place.
In 2017 horrorcore is dead. ‘Macabre.Blossoms’ is post-horrorcore. There’s some visceral, outlandish, crazy shit on the EP but unlike most of the horrorcore releases earlier this decade this isn’t without purpose. The real magic behind Eum comes from beyond the story he’s telling, the intricate internal rhyme schemes he’s making a name for himself with and his uncanny ability for identifying perfect instrumentals for his sound. Eum shines because of the empathy he’s able to extract from you with his eccentricities.
It’s all too common for rappers – especially new, young rappers – to just rap. That’s cool and all, particularly those with a particular ability to rap. It takes a peculiar level of artistic self-awareness to be able to express yourself so honestly and vulnerably. When it comes to evoking emotion within the ‘Macabre.Blossoms’ EP, it’s not just your standard ‘sad.’ There’s a whole spectrum of feels from ecstatic to angry and everything in between. It’s almost bipolar because there’s never any middle ground. It’s all or nothing. Full throttle, one million miles per hour mood music.
Its interesting that at just sixteen years old, Eum has been able to curate an EP at this standard. It begs this question – what next? With an EP this artistically outstanding, it’s hard to see how Eum can top it. On the other hand, with an EP this artistically outstanding, he’s already proven capable of exceeding expectations with seeming ease. Whatever the future holds for the young artist, it’s going to be exciting to watch how he grows and develops. Will this prodigy realise his potential?
P.s a text invite to a sesh being the reason someone decided against suicide is the most white British teenager in 2017 thing I’ve ever heard.