- 23 Mar 21
‘Maintain’ is the second single from producer Odhran O'Brien's forthcoming debut album as Odd Numbers, The Golden Éire Tapes Vol. 1.
By exploring and working with the various pockets of talent across the country, Odd Numbers is making a name for promoting cross-collaboration between the island's numerous cliques and collectives. The Off-Key collective co-founder's production style emulates that of the late '90s, pioneered by the likes of J Dilla, Madlib, and North Carolina rapper/producer 9th Wonder.
O'Brien's latest effort features the co-founders of Dublin's Old Enemies crew, who combine their talents for a soulful hip-hop track layered with socially conscious lyrics.
'Maintain' is laced with hard-hitting, impactful verses from the pair; reporting on the economic strife placed upon those in poverty in Ireland.
“The track for me is about the struggle of a young lad trying to maintain in Dublin,” Ritewell explains.
“16 years old, selling to his mates or the homeless, and stealing to get by. He inevitably gets caught by his mother and made homeless, put in the position of the people he was selling to and ending up on the drugs he was selling as a result.”
Never holding back, Ritewell and Daly paint an undeniably sombre portrait of the North Dublin experience, touching on themes of addiction and austerity while offering a sharp criticism of our Government.
“When I wrote the verse, I just had an overwhelming feeling of anger and I wasted up,” Daly adds.
“Sometimes I feel like I’m watching our city and culture fall apart piece by piece. The link between the government and the people is toxic and thin, but realistically the power is with the people so that’s where the problem lies. We talk about changing the country ‘our way’ but won’t even change a habit?”
The point is driven home by the melodic chorus emphasising the chokehold grip which marginalised members of the population are forced to endure as a result of these issues:
My hope when I wrote this note was to open up, but the rope done choked him.
Finglas rapper Daly - real name Aaron Daly - shared numerous, explosive tracks in 2020; from 'Sure Look' (with Aaron Brooks), 'Sad.' and 'Restecp' (featuring Ritewell) to 'Dublin Cries' and 'What You See'. Building his fanbase up from the grassroots level, the Dubliner is sure to make even more waves in 2021. Ritewell has shared 'In My Head' and 'Addams' this year already, and has set himself up for success with his razorsharp talent and collaborative prowess.
“I’ve always had major respect for Ritewell and Daly," Odhran O'Brien, AKA Odd Numbers, says.
"Authenticity is one of the most important traits in an artist and they embody this with everything they put out, there’s no flexing or false pretences. I wanted to match this energy with something equally authentic, digging into the roots of hip-hop and creating a beat that compliments their sincerity.”
‘Maintain’ is the second single from the producer’s eagerly-awaited upcoming debut LP, The Golden Éire Tapes Vol. 1. Funded by the Arts Council, the project is a showcase of some of Ireland’s most talented rappers and pays homage to the various styles and sub-genres of Hip-Hop.
“It’s something that I’d always envisioned doing at some point in my career, albeit not for another couple of years. There’s a crazy amount of creativity across the island but there can be such a disconnect between artists from different areas. I wanted to bring as many people together in one place and promote the community aspect of Irish hip-hop. The Art’s Council funding really helped kickstart the whole concept.”
The COVID-19 pandemic may have held Odd Numbers' album back, especially given the collaborative nature of every track, but O'Brien hopes to deliver the project sometime in the summer.
Check out the visualiser for 'Maintain' below, premiered exclusively on Hot Press:
- Film & TV
- 22 Sep 23