The past three years have seen a dramatic influx in the number of Irish individuals becoming interested and/or involved in the current Irish Hip-Hop resurgence that has slowly but surely been creeping into the multiple mainstream media faucets in Ireland and garnering International attention. A main contributing factor to this in the past two years has been artists connecting with each other, openly sharing their music on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter along with also forming collectives
A current example of this would be how Flowstate Movement, a Hip-Hop collective primarily based in the south-east of Ireland has risen to some prominence in recent months due to their consistent sharing (but not over-saturation) of their music. They have built a firm base of Rappers, Music Producers, Graphic Designers etc. who work independently but share their music collectively and strive to become the biggest fish in the Irish Hip-Hop pond.
There has also been Irish Hip-Hop success outside of our country in the form of Rejjie Snow and Hare Squead. Rejjie sourcing a slightly darker sound in his music as opposed to Hare Squead, a Hip-Hop/R&B three piece who provide typically up-tempo grooves that have found their way onto radio stations and blogs beyond Ireland. However, with this unforeseen success has come with more hate than constructive criticism from other followers and unestablished artists within the Irish Hip-Hop community who although want to see Irish Hip-Hop flourish, are preventing artists from truly expressing themselves due to their individual accents, flows, influences etc.
Within the Irish Hip-Hop scene are two sides. People rapping with American-esque accents on one side and people who live and die by their belief that rapping with an accent other than an Irish one is phony and undesirable. Having this split in the community has had more of a negative impact than a positive one on the Irish Hip-Hop community moving forward and achieving its full potential internationally in recent months. The main issue with this split is the fact that although everybody wants to be successful and mark their own legacy with their individuality, most people on both sides sound the same as each other when it comes to rapping and beat selection. A pattern that can be seen on the Pro-Irish accent side is that the subject matter and beat selection usually follows more of a boom-bap sound accompanied by lyrics about the struggle of living in some rural town and dealing with substance abuse etc or in other cases rapping about how good of a rapper they are and how they’re a better rapper than anyone else in Ireland.
Just one example of an Irish rapper who uses their local accent effectively would be Lawriii Craic, a rapper from Bray, Co. Wicklow who happens to be closely affiliated with Flowstate Movement. Lawriii’s accent and rapping
style compliments his unusual beat selection for a rapper rapping with a local accent very well and makes his music very easy to listen to. A track of his that perfectly showcases this would be “Patients” with Just G.
Pictured: Lawriii Craic / Credit: Andrew Woodcock
The Pro-American accent side sees a pattern containing more Hi-Hat & 808-driven beats with undertones of boom bap alongside more braggadocious lyrics dealing with the person speaking in the first person for the majority of their tracks while also attempting to fit in bars that relate to the general audience. It is clear where many of the influences lie for those who rap with this accent as it can be heard in their flows, rhyming technique, and vocal delivery. An artist who uses this accent a lot of the time in songs would be Ama, a rapper from Dublin who recently released his EP “Just A Moment”. This EP sees Ama taking a moodier R&B approach similar to Bryson Tiller where he would sing some portions of tracks and rap on other parts. Ama uses his voice to bring a clean cut sound to these songs and allows them to be easily accessible to listeners overseas in America or Canada.
Having this contrast is positive as it allows Irish Hip-Hop to make way to its own sub-genres but currently is suppressed by people on both sides claiming which style is right and which style is wrong, demanding others to switch up their styles without giving any constructive criticism and simply labelling what they don’t like as “Fake” or “Inauthentic”. This has caused Irish artists to become afraid of truly expressing themselves, becoming too worried about being criticised by people on the opposite side and forcing them to be too concerned with pleasing others,resulting in putting out lackluster music that does not showcase their full potential of what they really want to make despite what people within our own community say.
The Irish Hip-Hop community must learn to live and work in harmony with each other despite their creative differences and keep their head low when they hear something that doesn’t represent “Authentic Irish Hip-Hop”. This
is the only way that our community can move fully beyond our shorelines and into an international market where we are taken seriously and not as a joke.