Drilly Rucksack – Ocean Wisdom

Just when I was thinking ‘what happened to Ocean Wisdom?’ a track from last year drops in my lap. It’d been a while since I heard anything from the new voice of UK rap who was going to conquer the world. A far better connected source than myself just pointed out he released two singles in 2020 that totally passed me by.

Having spent a fair amount of time in Camden Town in the last half decade it seemed to me like Ocean Wisdom was about to blow up huge. His incredible delivery and clever clever word-playing UK Rap was everywhere I went in 2018 and 2019. Debut single Walkin’ took on Eminem for rapid fire word count and left the old Rap God in it’s wake. It’s not just a technical achievement though. Walkin’ is a banger. So too were Dizzie Rascal collaboration Revvin’, Ting Dun with Method Man. However, that was then. A life time ago in these Strange Timez.

Then I stopped going to Camden. Well, because I stopped going anywhere. Because, you know, one thing and another. And nobody seemed to mention Ocean Wisdom again. Admittedly some of that is my demographic. I am too old to listen to urban hip hop. I’m too Home Counties to claim any kind of ends and nobody my age in my social circle gives a hoot about my pop music obsession. But, I read stuff online. I trawl new releases and spend hours letting YouTube and BandCamp choose what comes up next and am influenced by all sorts of Al Gore Rhythms (what can I say it’s an old vice*). Lockdown did get me looking for new music but it also had me retreat to the record collection and listening to the equivalent of comfort food. That’s why acts like Fantastic Negrito and Black Pumas have done so well recently. They sound like older stuff.

So Drilly Rucksack then? This is the reason he’s off the radar of a guy like me. He’s not chasing a big hit single. Ocean is making genuinely deep roots inspired experimental genre music that does not easily pop up on an ex-metalheads slightly 90’s indie obsessed windscreen. It’s bloody good stuff though. A pointed take down of all the political ills that have lowered upon the houses of the down trodden, marginalised and oppressed. Drilly Rucksack has the slightest hum of an old recording as atmospheric space for the broken beats to tip tap up and down as the song does mama slow mo in places and hyper fast toasty vocals. And intriguing mix of modern Drill and ancient Jamaican Dancehall vibe. It’s an impressive diversion for a major talent who has every opportunity open to him right now.

Honestly though, I still think Ocean Wisdom will be a house hold name megastar any day now.


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