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It's A Rap
A few issues back, Plan B’s guitarist Adam Jordan enthused about the current Irish urban scene. We can’t say we were surprised – there’s no denying the genre continues to go from strength to strength… Here’s a brief summary of what’s happening at the moment.
Maeve Heslin, 02 Oct 2012
The last couple of years has seen the steady progression of homegrown Irish hip hop and electronic music from underground to the mainstream. Dublin rapper Lethal Dialect released two critically-acclaimed albums in 2011, which led to supporting slots alongside Ghostpoet, Action Bronson and, finally, a headline show in Dublin’s Workman’s Club in May. The man behind the beats on both albums was 21-year-old GI, aka Dubliner Christopher Buckley.
A producer and a rapper, Buckley is set to put out his own album, Underworld, on September 28. Making beats since the age of 15, he’s currently studying Music Production in Dún Laoghaire College of Further Education. Why is the current wave of Irish hip hop capturing the public interest? “Paul’s (Lethal Dialect) first album was street-themed,” he begins. “It really reflected what he was thinking at that time, and ignited a spark in people. For people growing up in rough areas...you could relate to it. A lot of hip hop uses the same generic theme – why not show a bit of positivity?” Buckley’s album will be released through independent label Workin’ Class Records. “I want to let other rappers know how lyrical we are, how much meaning there is in our music. It’s intelligently crafted. You can release gimmicky stuff, but that only works for so long.” As well as working on his own album, GI has provided beats for members of Waterford crew Sons Phonetic and Londoner Cyrus Malachi (see below) and also has an EP, a dance album and Lethal Dialect’s third LP in the works. Phew! And though he’s forging a name for himself in the Irish hip hop scene, Buckley is keen to give back to the community in Finglas where he grew up. “I’m going to do a drum ‘n’ bass video soon,” he explains. “I have a concept in mind – really positive, with a community vibe. I’m going to ask my old school if we can do a scene there.” Such positivity certainly wasn’t present at a certain Phoenix Park gig recently. What does Buckley make of the controversial Swedish House Mafia/Snoop Dogg show? Are dance and rap music really to blame for such acute anti-social behaviour and violence? “I wasn’t there myself. From what I’ve heard, it was nuts!”, he replies. “Some people go for the fights and drugs, or to follow a crowd. When you have major artists like Madonna promoting MDMA, you can’t blame dance/rap for people’s actions. The Wu-Tang gig we did [GI and Street Literature supported the US legends in Dublin’s Button Factory this summer] featured much more hardcore music. But there was nothing but mutual respect for the artists. No trouble at all.” Swedish House Mafia fans – listen and learn! For now, GI is kept busy and is happy with his collective’s ethos. “We don’t have to change and adapt. We’re just doing our own thing. I want to make music for people who are struggling. I want to