LD50 – Part II
Accomplished slice of Dublin hip hop.
Rating: 4 / 5
Maeve Heslin, 30 Jan 2012
There’s a tendency for Irish music fans to view homegrown hip hop with more than a little skepticism. Surely the mean streets of, say, Roscrea (snigger) have nothing in common with those of Brooklyn? In short – can a genre born in the stifling ghettos of ‘70s New York ever be credibly adapted to an Irish context?
Well, yes actually. LD50 Part II is the second album from Dublin rapper Lethal Dialect, aka 23 year-old Paul Alwright. The Cabra-born /Blancahrdstown-based MC has been causing quite a stir online recently, partly due to an impressive performance at Whelan’s recent ‘Ones to Watch’ showcase. Given the hype, you’ll probably find that even your granny wants to break it down. And so she should – LD50 Part II mixes thoughtful lyrics (he’s a deep one, our Paulie) with beats provided by Street Literature man GI, appropriating the genre without ever trying to ‘be’ American.
Though gritty opener ‘The Sermon’ is reminiscent of Alwright’s debut, Part II is for the most part a more chilled-out affair, and the Alwright/GI collaboration shines on more laidback tracks like ‘Outstr8’ (on which GI features vocally) and the sublime single ‘Keep It Real’. Never ones for lazy beats, there’s a jazzy Gang Starr flavour to ‘Apparitions’, and young Willa Lee adds some sweet, sweet soul on ‘Get To My Dreams’.
It’s Alwright’s contemplative lyrics, though, that mark him out as a cut above the rest. Inspired by the ordinary and the extraordinary, his musings – delivered in a Dublin lilt that makes Colin Farrell sound like the Queen – come across as honest, introspective and absolutely sincere. “We’re all stuck underneath the sky/ And the evil eye/ CCTV tryin’ to screen our lives/ With our own TVs try to feed our minds/ It’s time to look beneath the lies.. Whether you believe in Muhammad or in Jesus Christ/ Every one of us dreams at night” ('Keep It Real'). Teaming a feel for street poetry with a natural and confident – white girl alert! – ‘flow’, Lethal Dialect emerges as an incredibly exciting young Irish urban voice. Put your preconceptions aside, and make sure you get your hands on this album.