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PASSIONATE RAP WITH AN IRISH PASSPORT
Jackie Hayden, 29 Mar 2012
Attempts to make rap relevant to Ireland have achieved mixed results, with few, such as Ill Psychz, making it work. Now, along come Dublin’s inner city The Original Rudeboys to confound the nay-sayers with their remarkable debut album of ten original and provocative tracks, most notable for rapper Neddy Arkins thankfully fronting up his own broad-as-Dublin-Bay accent instead of coming on like he’s crooked out of Compton.
The album opens with the naggingly catchy chart-bothering single ‘Stars In My Eyes’, rap with an Irish passport, mixing a polished soul-pop melody, lyrics about fame and fortune, acoustic guitar and ukulele. And thus, the album ventures where few bands have gone before. ‘Travelling Man’ proves that the opener’s success was no fluke, with Rob’s seductive vocals, a smooth melody brimful of infectious hooks, a serious backing groove and Walshy’s uke. It’s topped off with Neddy’s rap about the band’s musical adventures.
They add a piano for ‘Complicated’ and there’s a captivating frenzy about ‘Live Your Life’ too. ‘Bringing Me Down’ opens like a standard boy-band ballad, but the contrast between Rob’s and Needy’s vocals is masterful and the lyrics deal graphically with racism Dublin-style.
In co-writer and producer Jake Gosling, TOR have found a worthy foil. Comparisons to Mike Skinner/The Streets are justified, but be under no illusion. The Original Rudeboys are nobody’s clones. This Life is a very fine debut.