If Hip Hop is stagnating, the last place on earth where you’d imagine it might resurface is a suburban town know for its architecture and pashmina-wearing students. Yet these clichés are precisely the reason why Oxford has stayed in the shadows so long. Dig just beneath the surface and you’ll find a virtually untapped source of talent, which strives to spread all the elements of Hip Hop.
This talent has been drawn together under the wing of one particular project, which promotes Hip Hop music and culture, as well as other related elements – Blunted.
The original Blunted project involved creating a tight-knit community which promotes Hip Hop in Oxford and beyond, as well as raising the profile of local talent. To that end, two individuals, Gabriel Tiranti (aka Gabs / Tyranny) and Ross Gunter (aka Roscoe) set out to promote this venture, establishing a successful club night and webzine in 2003, promoting local artists and distributing their work.
Blunted’s blog features articles, reviews and interviews of both local and more mainstream artists, and the forum provides a platform for artists, promoters and fans to share their views and ideas on anything – from Hip Hop, Funk, Soul or Drum & Bass, to breaking, graffiti, DJing or producing. The webzine also hosts audio, in the form of a monthly free downloadable mix, and a local music playlist. Blunted’s success is apparent throughout its popular club nights, which also feature local and mainstream acts, and attract a substantial crowd.
The Blunted community provides local artists with a knowledgeable audience, and the opportunity to spread their work and gain recognition. With the webzine attracting over 100 visitors a day, there can no longer be any doubt that what started off as a small project will soon be tipped for greater things.
In spring 2005, Blunted consolidated its vision with the release of the first volume of ‘Local Music for Local Heads’. This compilation, showcasing local artist’s production and emceeing skills, was the first of its kind in the region, giving artists their first chance to show what they were made of.