“Rap has been a path between cultures in the best tradition of popular music,” proclaims hip-hop extraordinaire Shawn ‘Jay-Z’ Carter. These words ring some truth for Martin, who recently began his career in the rap industry and was raised between two cultures. In Botswana, acknowledging hip hop as a real profession is thorny since only a handful of Batswana rappers are making strides internationally. A fortunate artist who is making his presence felt in Norway’s music scene is a Norwegian-Motswana rapper, Martin Osland.
While growing up, Martin says he has always shown a keen fascination in hip hop. “I grew up listening to a lot of hip hop and I guess I got inspired by the sound. It’s only when I was 19 that I started taking it seriously as a profession,” says the 23 year old. “I listen to almost anything that sounds good, but as an artist I never put myself in a box, so, that way I’m able to experiment with music,” adds Martin.
Influenced by the likes of East Coast Rap, Jay-Z and other hip hop greats, Martin is gradually morphing into a recognisable voice in Norway’s hip hop industry. Commenting on his influences, Martin says his sound is quite different: “My style is more self-made now because I’m inspired by many things such as life and everything that comes with it. I wouldn’t say other rap artists shaped my style, but they definitely inspired me a lot in the start.”
He explains that the industry in Norway has opened a lot of doors his way. “I had an interview last year at a show called XO hip hop and they premiered my song. I have also done a couple of shows with many established artists in Norway such as ‘Snowgoons’ whom I opened for at their show and they are quite renowned in the hip hop scene worldwide. I also performed at a hip hop festival in Stavanger, Norway and soon I’ll be performing in Germany at a show that will be paying tribute to legendary hip hop icon Sean Price.”
The music industry is never short of challenges and Martin says he’s definitely had a few since he started: “Working on better music and trying to push my brand internationally hasn’t been easy, but it’s all about doing better. Of course it gets challenging, but that’s how it is when you want to improve yourself,” the rapper reveals to Lifestyle.
Having lived in many countries such as Zambia, Zimbabwe and here in Botswana, Martin has not lost sight of collaborating with African artists and our very own local artists. “I got to perform with Banjo Mosele at a concert he had while I was in Botswana. I’ve also collaborated with Young Sluz and I look forward to working with more.”
On what Batswana can look forward to, Martin says he has many surprises lined up. “All I can say is Batswana should anticipate great music and a very different quality sound from my music.”
For more on his music you can visit his Facebook page: Martin Osland, or on his Instagram: martinosland.