Loki (rapper)

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Birth nameDarren McGarvey
GenresHip hop
Occupation(s)Rapper, Writer
Years active2004 –present

Darren McGarvey, who goes by the stage name Loki, is a Scottish rapper, hip hop recording artist, and social commentator.[2] He was an activist during the Scottish independence referendum in 2014.[3] He is from a political and performance family: his aunt is the former MSP Rosie McGarvey Kane. [[1]]


McGarvey was brought up in Pollok on the south side of Glasgow.[4][5][6] Between 2004 and 2006, he wrote and presented eight programmes about the causes of anti-social behaviour and social deprivation for BBC Radio Scotland.[7][8] McGarvey worked with youth organisation Volition,[4] teaching young people to rap.[9] In 2012 he led a workshop as part of a PowerRap competition for schools, encouraging young people to explore important issues through music and language.[10]

McGarvey studied journalism at Glasgow Clyde College.[11] In 2009, he was part of the Poverty Truth Commission hosted in Glasgow.[12] In 2015 he had six months as rapper-in-residence with the Violence Reduction Unit.[13]

In April 2016 McGarvey appeared in a documentary The Divide discussing his alcoholism and its impact on his life.[citation needed]

In October 2017 he claimed a lack of support for working class or deprived communities from Creative Scotland, the main body that funds Scotland's arts companies and artists.[14] He also admitted he had not tried to apply for Creative Scotland funds.

Loki's Poverty Safari won the 2018 Orwell Prize for books, with the judges saying it "was 'exactly the book' that Orwell would have wanted to win".[15][16][17][1]



  • Government Issue Music Protest (GIMP) (2014), a science-fiction concept album with significant contributions from singer-songwriter Becci Wallace which enjoyed some critical acclaim.[18][19] The album describes a dystopian vision of Scotland in the year 2034.[11]
  • Trigger Warning (2017), a concept album through which he attempts to explore various issues, expressed as a story.[20]


  • Poverty Safari: Understanding the Anger of Britain's Underclass, Luath Press, 2017, ISBN 9781912147038[21][6]


  1. ^ a b Stephen Moss (26 June 2018). "Interview: 'Not every day was like Trainspotting': Orwell prizewinner Darren McGarvey on class, addiction and redemption". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
  2. ^ Gieben, Bram E. (12 July 2013). "Like A Boss: Scottish hip-hop prodigy Loki returns". The Skinny. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  3. ^ Gardiner, Karen (5 January 2015). "Scene Report: Scottish Hip-Hop Comes Into Its Own". MTVIggy.com. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  4. ^ a b "Interview: Loki". M magazine. PRS for Music. 20 December 2013. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  5. ^ Boyle, Niki (9 January 2015). "The top five Scottish hip hop acts who aren't Young Fathers". Time Out. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  6. ^ a b Emily Hay (29 September 2018). "New books on the block: Poverty Safari by Darren McGarvey". Glasgow Guardian. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
  7. ^ Simpson, Anne (18 November 2006). "Radio Review". The Herald. Retrieved 4 October 2016.
  8. ^ "SHMU: Loki, The ill Collective and Jazza". www.aberdeenperformingarts.com. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  9. ^ Hamill, Jasper (13 October 2006). "Tut's: Loki". The Skinny. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  10. ^ Fulton, Rachael (12 November 2012). "Loki teaches Lourdes Secondary kids the power of rap". STV News. Retrieved 24 December 2015.
  11. ^ a b Eaton-Lewis, Andrew (25 October 2014). "Scottish rapper Loki: Vote No, get this". The Scotsman. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  12. ^ "'I've never been on holiday'". BBC News. 20 March 2009.
  13. ^ Ross, Peter (2 December 2015). "Loki, the rapper-in-residence working to reduce domestic violence". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 December 2015.
  14. ^ Miller, Phil (11 October 2017). "Rapper Loki claims Creative Scotland has a problem with the working class". The Herald. Retrieved 22 October 2017.
  15. ^ Flood, Alison (25 June 2018). "Orwell books prize goes to Poverty Safari by Scottish rapper Loki". the Guardian. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
  16. ^ https://www.luath.co.uk/productsp/poverty-safari-c8w3t?rq=poverty%20safari/
  17. ^ "Scottish rapper Loki wins prestigious Orwell book prize". BBC News. 26 June 2018. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
  18. ^ Morrison, Alan (29 December 2014). "My Top 50 Scottish Albums of 2014". The Herald. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  19. ^ Rimmer, Jonathan (18 July 2015). "Loki's searing hip hop concept album paints a dystopian vision of Glasgow 2034". The National. Retrieved 4 October 2016.
  20. ^ Rimmer, Jonathan (7 April 2017). "Trigger Warning an interview with Loki". Bella Caledonia. Retrieved 8 April 2017.
  21. ^ https://www.luath.co.uk/darren-mcgarvey/?rq=mcgarvey/