Scotland

The Aberdeen rap twins doing hip-hop differently

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Media captionShy and D.R.S have have written a single about mental health

"I get the feeling I'm being judged. Men are always seen as tough, but I don't know how long I can keep this up."

Those lyrics may not jump out as being hip-hop but Aberdeen duo Shy and D.R.S are doing rap music differently.

Twins Mark and Darren Scott, 34, rap in their local accent and their songs discuss issues such as bullying and knife crime.

Their next single will discuss the stigma surrounding men's mental health but this wasn't always how the brothers approached hip-hop.

As teenagers, the brothers listened to Jay-Z, Eminem and D12 and these influences led to them rapping in American accents about issues they describe as "questionable".

This is something they quickly realised didn't work, the subjects were not what they wanted to discuss with their music.

"We used to rap about strip clubs, drugs and gangs", Darren says.

Image copyright Shy and D.R.S
Image caption Shy and D.R.S have written a track about mental health

"We now try to rap about issues relevant to us and not just copy what we hear from other rappers. The vast majority of well known hip-hop is about money, violence and drugs."

It was when they started using Scottish accents they felt they could express themselves more.

Darren says: "It has given us an identity, it has also challenged the perception you need to be American to be in hip-hop, it is accessible to anyone and it is about expressing yourself at the end of the day."

Image caption Mark and Darren Scott - pictured in their younger days - initially rapped in American accents

Having this freedom of expression and sense of identity has led to the duo covering more challenging issues like in their next single, "save me".

"We decided to cover men's mental health in particular as we feel it's something that affects the vast majority of men even if they don't admit it or deal with it," Darren says.

"Obviously mental health affects people across genders, but with men there is always a stigma, they can't speak or they are seen as weak, and we are trying to change all that."

Mark added that seeing Scottish mental health statistics was a factor in why they chose to rap about the issue.

Using music, the brothers say, allows them get important issues noticed and they hope rapping about different subjects will make people listen.

Mark said: "Music, in particular, is an easier way to get a point across - it hits people harder. If you hear a song it can inspire you to think, I can talk about it, it is okay to speak about it."

They also operate without a label, after leaving a record deal in 2014 over a dispute that meant they could not release any music from 2011 while the issue was ongoing.

Being independent has given the twins more creative freedom but admit it leaves them with more to do without the same resources as other rappers.

Without a label, however, there is less pressure around releasing songs and allows them to release tracks on their own terms.

"In 2019 you don't need a label, you don't feel tied down and you can do what you want. There's nobody changing songs, whatever you are happy with writing about can go out", Mark says.

"We are always looking for interesting concepts to write about but that isn't all we do. We don't touch controversial subjects all the time."

'Everyday people'

The rappers say they write things that people can relate to and hope this will make an impact with their listeners beyond the music.

They previously released a song for anti-bullying week after both experiencing bullying during their school years.

Writing about mental health and knife crime was not based on any personal experiences, but the duo hope all songs they write can make an impact to all listeners by covering such issues.

Darren says: "You don't have to be a certain person to listen to our music and enjoy it. We want everyone to listen to it from all ages and backgrounds, we just write what comes to us at the time.

"We never make songs about looking cool or anything like that - we want things folk can relate to, just everyday people."