Hip hop has no boundaries.
If you want any proof just look to artist Ryan Leeming, aka Eskar, who is carving out a name for himself in the USA after having launched his career in rural Shelley.
It is just one of the big boons for Ryan, 21, who recently released a single with legendary hip hop artist Marc 7 from Jurassic 5 when he was on his last UK tour.
Called Osiris, it is one of the tracks to be included in his upcoming 12-track album, Soylent Green, which will be dropped on February 12.
“It was unbelievable,” said Ryan, speaking about the collaboration.
“A friend of mine makes professional websites and made Marc 7’s. He gave him some backstage passes a few years ago and I got chatting to him.
“We’d been talking for two years and I’d been sending him my music which he liked. Then last year when he was in the UK he recorded the track with me at Manchester Midi School. It was unbelievable because I’d grown up listening to him and I’m still in shock now thinking about it.”
He hopes Marc 7’s collaboration will act as a good omen for the album’s release.
“The track and my other recent work has got me a lot of interest and amazing opportunities in the last few weeks. This includes radio play and live gigs around the UK. I’m just pushing everything I do through Facebook at the moment. I just want to keep progressing through releasing more music and playing gigs.”
It will be his second album release, following Zip it Shut, which was produced by Jack Danz, a leading UK hip hop mc and producer.
“He’s one of the best in the UK,” he said.
Ryan was equally thrilled when he found out he had a strong fan base in the USA.
“Through social networking I actually have more fans in the USA than in the UK. I realised this when I was looking at downloads of my music on Band Camp. I would love to play abroad including there, it’s just about the money at the moment and ideally finding a label.”
Ryan’s hip hop career started when he was just 15.
“I started going to this night called Beats and Pieces at Bar 1:22. I got to know local rappers who inspired me into thinking that I could do this myself. I entered an open mic competition there and I got quite far. I think I was terrible for the first few times – no-one’s good at something at the start.
“I rap about everything. There’s a lot of jokey stuff mixed with personal parts and commentary on what’s going on in the world now. But since then I’ve been gigging around the town and elsewhere in Yorkshire. I’ve played Leeds quite a few times in venues like Belgrave Music Hall and the Bier Keller.
“There aren’t many big hip hop outlets in Yorkshire, which is a shame because there are a lot of talented artists but not enough experienced promoters.”
Ryan explained how he has turned a negative into a positive through the name Eskar.
“I used to do a lot of downhill mountain biking and the first tyres I ever got were called Eskar,” he said. “They were rubbish and I’d get laughed at. So I wanted to use the name to show how you can turn something negative into a positive.
“I hope everything keeps going well, we’ll just see where it all leads.”
To listen to Eskar’s tracks, go to eskar.bandcamp.com