- 21 Nov 19
Hip-hop duo document a changing Dublin on stunning debut.
Initially earning their stripes as members of Irish hip-hop collective the Animators, Mango X MathMan’s journey to their debut album, Casual Work, has been far from straight forward. Through four long, hard years in its making, the duo have seen relationships and livelihoods tested, while the city they’ve grown up in has been transformed dramatically around them – culminating in a debut of uniquely raw intensity and vigour.
From hard-hitting spoken word opener ‘Bread And Butter’, the pair beckon us on a journey through the streets of Dublin – from its warm, banter-filled pubs to its sprawling estates. It’s in this earthy honesty that Casual Work truly hits the mark – playfully acknowledging hip-hop’s culture of braggadocio, while simultaneously reflecting their everyday reality of gaffs and chippers over the American tropes of posturing ‘studio gangsters’.
Shining in the classic MC/DJ formula, historically championed by the likes of Gang Starr and Eric B. & Rakim, Mango’s unique combination of an aggressive, machine gun flow and tender lyricism is powerfully complemented by MathMan’s genre-splicing production. Star-studded guest appearances, including by Lisa Hannigan and Loah, also help to elevate the album to a higher plane, without overshadowing the lads’ central role in the narrative.
At times swinging between fury and weariness, and at other times looking up to the sky in hope, Casual Work rails against the destruction of Dublin’s pulsing creative heart to stunning effect. Using hip-hop as a vehicle, Mango X MathMan are authentically reflecting the experiences of the young and the working class – voices that have long been muted in our city’s tradition of literature and poetry.
With Casual Work, Mango X MathMan have cemented their legacy as one of Ireland’s most important hip-hop acts of the 21st century. A momentous release, documenting Dublin warts and all, Casual Work is a triumph.