AUDIO Soup Festival broke new ground last week after it became the first festival to dedicate an entire stage to Scottish hip hop. The wittily named Boom, Bap, Soup & Roll Tent served up three days of emceeing, beats and spoken word from dozens of acts.

The festival, held in Cranshaws, near Dunbar, has been running for a few years, but this was the first time that organisers have given hip hop acts their own platform.

Scotland’s burgeoning hip hop scene has finally started to receive mainstream recognition in recent years with the likes of Stanley Odd, Hector Bizerk and Young Fathers earning plaudits in particular.

Mark McGhee, the stage’s curator and organiser, told The National before the festival that he was keen “not to just flirt with the idea of a hip hop stage, but devote an entire stage to the genre”.

In typical hip hop fashion, the structure of the stage was frequently challenged: running times were often pushed back, issues with sound emerged and a handful of artists struggled to make it to the festival’s obscure location.

However, much of the weekend’s atmosphere actually derived from the borderline chaos. Cypher sessions – often impulsive gatherings where emcees exchange verses and freestyles – and informal rap battles became an invariable theme of the weekend.

Younger artists on the bill thrived in this setting. Volition, the community led youth project initially set up by rapper and activist Loki, were a constant source of energy and spontaneity. Similarly, crews such as Urchxns and Kayak set the first night off with crisp beats and tight, often grime-influenced, flows.

Much has been made of the split between older and newer styles in hip hop, even in Scotland where a New York-inspired sound has dominated since it arrived on these shores.

Still, headlining emcee Mistah Bohze, accompanied by producer NC Epik, was just as convulsive in conveying his classic 1990s sound. Bohze also had absolutely no qualms with the newer styles on display.

One attraction to passers-by will have been the diversity on show. Rory O’b mixed emotive delivery and tongue-in cheek lyricism during his half-sung, half-rapped set on acoustic guitar. Andrew MacKenzie’s set was also packed with wit and intelligence, lashing out double time flows over ominous beats and experimenting with a Voxal voice changer.

A frequent criticism of Scotland’s rappers has been that they tend to merge into one, conveying the same topics with the same accent.

That clearly can’t be said for Australian-born Gaelic performance artist Ariel Killick who performed “her first bilingual rap” to the enraptured tent. Along with Highland poet Griogair, Killick can count herself as one of the first Scottish Gaelic emcees on the planet.

Slam poetry champion Bram E Gieben, aka Texture, below, also made an appearance. His imagery-based, rhythmic style fit surprisingly well over an assortment of morbid techno beats. Not everything was quite so heavy. The two biggest reactions of the weekend were reserved for two Glaswegian emcees whose sets amounted to little more than well-crafted raps and a solid DJ on the decks.

Gasp proved that he’s a veteran for a reason, whipping up the crowd with freestyles and stage antics.

After opening with two longer introverted tracks, he launched into his familiar style with aplomb.

This claim could at least be disputed by Ciaran Mac, arguably the brightest prospect in the scene right now.

His syllabic acrobats have already attained him slots at upcoming gigs with Stanley Odd in Stirling and Subz & A-Macc during King Tuts’ Summer Nights Festival.

Scottish hip hop is a genre that has long been dismissed in Scotland as insular and not relevant. The Boom, Bap, Soup and Roll Tent is further evidence that such claims are misguided; hip hop in Scotland is here to stay.