Accomplished collection from Dublin rapper
Over the last few years, attitudes towards Irish hip hop have slowly started to shift. Music fans are now coming to regard the genre not merely as a carbon copy of the American style, but as its own expressive form of storytelling, set in a distinctly Irish – and usually working-class – context. Jambo – aka Dubliner James Boyle – is one of the promising rappers at the forefront of this exciting wave of artists and producers, and has just released his third album, Trapped.
As he continues to find his flow on this very personal collection, his lyrics touch on a variety of topics, including the prejudices facing disadvantaged communities (I like the line in ‘Represent’: “He’s a stereotype cos he’s dressed head to toe in Nike”), paranoia when friendships turn stale (‘Bad Vibes’), and coming to terms with his own demons (‘Dimensions’). Meanwhile, the rhymes are underpinned by some typically sublime production from the enigma that is G.I. (Lethal Dialect, Costello). From the smooth-as-silk stylings of ‘Souls On Rent’ to the smoky jazz of ‘Represent’ and the cheeky drum ‘n’ bass of ‘Bad Vibes’, it’s a wonderfully mellow and impressively polished album. Well worth a listen.