Hip-hop has infiltrated today's culture, from the language we use to the trousers we wear and the angle of our baseball caps.

Tracing it back to The Last Poets and Gil Scott Heron, through Afrika Bambaataa, Grandmaster Flash and The Sugarhill Gang, via Public Enemy and Run-DMC, to today's unit-shifting mega-stars Jay-Z, Eminem and Kanye West, its impact is felt universally.

The biggest selling music on the planet fills film soundtracks, shopping malls and daytime radio, while break-dancing, graffiti art and beat-boxing are now TV talent show standards. Gone are the days when this artform struck fear into the hearts of the white middle classes. Now it's been adopted and customised by black, white, gay and straight, the super-wealthy and shanty-towns. It has successfully crossed all cultural borders while being diluted and neutered by a fast-flowing and ever-growing mainstream.

But how has Scotland reacted to this seismic cultural shift over the years? You wouldn't necessarily think it's a hotbed of block-rockin' beats, scything battle raps and ghetto rhymes, but they're clearly abundant across our cities. If hip-hop is the amalgamation of protest and party music, we always have something to say and know how to have fun.

But when Scottish rap uses its own accent and colloquialisms, the general public still sneer and snigger. You may be aware of the Silibil 'N' Brains story, when two Dundee MCs attempted to take their rapid-fire wordplay to London and were roundly laughed out of town as "The Proclaimers of Rap". They then reinvented themselves as audacious American caricatures, signing the precious record deal they were after in the first place. This was a scam and a swindle of course, and soon they had to withdraw from the whole debacle, albeit shaming the UK music industry in the process.

Closer to the street, in the early 1990s crews such as Zulu Syndicate, Two Tone Committee and UTI (Under The Influence) laid the groundwork for a local scene that exists and flourishes today, largely rapping consciously about their own lives and problems in their own voices. At one time, the Edinburgh club Seen, run by Scots-American MC Reachout, was one of the hubs for UK hip-hop, bringing rappers such as Skinnyman and Roots Manuva to the capital. Producers such as Eh? Wun! released tracks on the Mo Wax label; the Stereo MCs financially backed a compilation album, East Coast Project; Sugar Bullet and Blacka'nized briefly flirted with crossover pop success; Penpushers fused it with progressive rock; and turntablist Plus One won the DMC World DJ championships.

In Glasgow, Powercut Productions, Damaged Goods, Eastborn and the Freestyle Master took on the mantle and further embellished the world of Scottish rap with a west coast twist. They had the skills and the lyrical dexterity to take anyone on, face to face and word by word. In more recent times, the Mobo Awards have been held in Glasgow to massive acclaim, while the NMBRS and LuckyMe collectives champion hip-hop and its lifeblood via their forever-shifting electronic release schedule. Producers such as Hudson Mohawke, Rustie and Show 'n' Prove are now highly sought after by those aforementioned superstars, hungry for new beats, bass-lines and soundscapes to underpin their chart-busting rhymes.

As "urban" music progresses, so a new generation duly unleashes its righteous indignation on the world in its native tongue. If you want tragedy, comedy and real-life dreams from the schemes, look no further than Glasgow wordsmith Loki. His philosophies, stories and personal politics will simultaneously have you weeping and laughing out loud. His group, The Being Emcees, also house a spread of serious talent within their ranks. Previous horror-core rapper Madhat McGore has broadened his horizons and quickened his pace to become a formidable voice. Contenders for UK-wide battle-rap champions right now have to be the hugely confident Silvertongue and Respek BA. Head along to one of the Badmouth Battles or Loosely Speaking events and see why.

Previously a member of the Scotland Yard Posse and latterly Yard Emcees, Profisee is an Edinburgh-based rapper whose exceptional debut album was released last week. Searching far and wide for cutting-edge producers such as Dam Mantle, S-Type and Scharkz, he dazzles with lyrical depth and aplomb, never lapsing into cliche or formula. From All Angles is an intelligent, articulate and utterly modern sounding record for the heart and mind.

The names come thick and fast – Young Fathers, Simba, Hector Bizerk, NRNXPO (Northern Exposure), All Time High, DJ A La Fu, TEC, Wardie Burns, Stanley Odd, Soom T, Nasty P and many more. These are all underground artists, active across the whole of Scotland, expressing themselves in an honest, direct and forthright manner.

Rather than giggling around the edges comparing a rapper from Falkirk to Jay-Z, maybe it's time to listen, learn and enjoy tales from our own backyard. This is real, contemporary storytelling and the absolute definition of word of mouth.

Vic Galloway presents on BBC Radio Scotland at 8.05–10pm Mondays (repeated Fridays 10pm–midnight). He hosts a monthly night at Electric Circus, Edinburgh, with a hip-hop special this Thursday featuring live music from Profisee (From All Angles album launch), Madhat McGore and Silvertongue. See www.vicgalloway.com