The Irish hip hop scene is in a good place at the moment and its people like Rebel Phoenix who are in the full front pushing the culture forward. We caught up with the Irish rapper ahead of his album release and a support slot for the Wu-Tang prominent member Ghostface Killah.
STACKD – Coming up in the next few weeks is a huge milestone for your career, performing in a support slot for the legendary and iconic Ghostface Killah. How did you get chosen for the support slot and how does it feel knowing that you’ll be performing just before the Wu-Tang legend hits the stage?
REBEL PHOENIX– It happened pretty randomly. I had intentions of landing a support slot as soon as I saw the gig being posted online. Even though it might have been a little bit too late to get it, I had my management send an email to the promoters anyway. I figured it was definitely worth a shot. But how it happened was, just after shooting a new music video, I was on the bus home checking my Instagram. I had a new message from Mo-K asking if I’d like to perform after his DJ set at the gig. I was delighted. I just told him he made my day a whole lot better. So shouts out to him for that. I really believed I could get the slot even though the gig had already been announced, and I think my desire for it brought in into existence. Ghostface Killah has had a huge influence on my style of rap, so to say I’m happy and excited about this opportunity would be an understatement. I’m gonna make an impact on the night.
S – You’ve been doing quite a few gigs lately around Dublin. Do you think that Hip-Hop gigs like the ones you’ve been performing at recently are going to become more of a common occurrence across Ireland and why?
Rebel.P– I definitely see Irish hip hop gigs becoming more of a common occurrence. It isn’t hard to tell that hip hop in Ireland is reaching a new level. I plan on pushing myself harder than ever to make a name so I’ll be gigging every chance I get. I feel it’s something that’s inevitable because there is a lot of good energy that surrounds Irish hip hop at the moment. In terms of gigging overall, I’ll be doing more and more in Ireland as time goes on, but I eventually want to perform outside of Ireland too. With my work rate, passion, and self-belief, I see that happening in the near future.
S – You have released plenty of music over the past few years and you’re about to drop yet another project entitled “D.M.T.N.T” (Dead Men Tell No Tales). Where did the inspiration for the album title come from?
Rebel.P – The album title more or less just popped into my head. It was kind of a lightbulb moment. I didn’t stress over choosing a title for it because I believe it’s best to let things happen naturally. I wanted to play the whole life and death side of the Rebel Phoenix brand. I released an EP called ‘Never Die’ and later adapted it as a slogan for myself. It’s something I feel about being an artist. Leaving something behind after you die. So I thought of ‘Dead Men Tell No Tales’ which basically means live now so that you can leave your mark. It made sense to me and I thought it sounded good phonetically as well. It was only after that when I realized the acronym for it was D.M.T.N.T. I knew I nailed it. As everyone should know at this stage, DMT is an active chemical in the brain known to cause dreams and enlightenment. Also, TNT is a well known explosive. Put them together and you get DMTNT. It’s basically what I’d call, mind blowing material.
S – How does your new album compare sonically to your past work and have you made any major adjustments to the vibe that this album will give out?
Rebel.P – Sonically this album is quite different to the majority of my past work. The beats are on more of a ‘trap’ vibe and lyrically I’ve just improved overall. I worked on my flow for this so that it sits nicely on the trap beats.
Also, my lyrics have become even more vivid, so that the listener can see exactly what I’m saying. But I want people to bear in mind, that most of my bars are either double or triple entendre. For that reason, I concentrated on having high levels of replay value on each track.
S – Who or what were your main inspirations during the writing process of the new album?
Rebel.P – Life, in general, is the biggest inspiration for my music. Everything I say is either based on my own experiences in life or what I’ve seen happening around me. It’s really raw and honest. I try to experience as many new things as I can because I believe the more I live, the more I have to write about.
S – Should we expect to hear any collaborations between yourself and any other Irish artists in the near future? Do you see any new talent who you believe deserves to have their profile raised within the Irish music community?
Rebel.P – You can expect to hear me collaborating with other Irish artists, as my close circle of friends are mainly artists themselves. Also, if someone I don’t exactly know personally wanted me to feature I might be interested if I enjoy the music they make (especially the track at hand) and if the price is right. With that being said, you can expect to hear me collaborating with artists overseas just as much. But like I said, this would have to happen naturally. I don’t really go out of my way to do it. But I do spend quite a bit of time searching for new producers to work with. Right now I’m just concentrating on my own mission. When I check what’s going on in the scene, I see great talent in Irish hip hop. It’s expanding and growing fast, so I wish everyone the best. I just want to see everyone working hard to get Irish hip hop to the level of exposure it deserves.
S – Do you have any music related goals that you would like to have achieved before the end of 2017?
Rebel.P– I’m always setting new goals for myself. Right now I want to release D.M.T.N.T and do plenty of videos for the tracks on it. I plan on doing a launch night for it too. Besides that, I plan on going to the states for a while to push it as far and wide as possible. I’ve visualized Rebel Phoenix being a big name in rap and will set and achieve any goal I can to make that a reality.
S – What is your opinion/view on the current Irish Hip-Hop scene and do you think that it’s in a healthy state?
Rebel.P– From where I’m standing, Irish hip hop is in a good place at the moment. Really talented people are releasing material more frequently and breaking barriers people never really saw being broken in the past, but there is always room for improvement no matter what. I believe that once something has been achieved, it should only push someone to want to aim for bigger, better and greater things thereafter. But it’s definitely in a healthy place right now and i don’t see any limits to where it can go.
keep up with Rebel P on