Here at STACKD, we often ask ourselves, is Ireland finally ready to embrace Hip Hop?
And I prefer to stay optimistic about it. But Ireland has a weird attitude towards success that hinders people from self-expression. I think it’s because we’re such a small community in the world, a small drop of nuanced culture, that people often misrepresent in the media – that we haven’t quite figured out what the identity for the new generation is. Our history with strict Catholicism and its modesty can explain a lot, especially the bitterness towards anything that isn’t a display of said modesty. You ever have a bit of luck and someone says to you, “I hope it rains on your holidays.” Well, that’s Irishness for you. It’s the polar opposite of the boastful nature in hip-hop, the rising to the top and get rich or die trying approach. It’s this attitude I think that makes people see young people wanting to be rappers as ‘cringey’. We’re so tiny and therefore so easy to ignore by bigger media platforms that we’re not used to seeing ourselves on the TV, in music videos, on our playlists….but that’s changing.
After so many controversies with the church, we’ve shown a softer, more open side. We’ve shown we’re searching for a new place to get meaning from. We welcome new cultures and new viewpoints and heading in a new direction. As a nation we’re passionate, we’re artistic, and the sooner we embrace external inspiration, the more we can embrace our own strengths and add our own flavour to these cultural shifts. We’re a more diverse country than we were even 15 years ago. We’re friendly and more progressive than other countries could imagine. The first country in the world to vote for gay marriage by majority vote and that says a lot about the youth and next generation of this country.
With the media, the spread of the internet, we’ve become a more globalised country. You’ve heard Dublin is the first city Kendrick Lamar is playing in Europe in Feb 2018. I remember in 2016 after Kendrick played Longitude excitedly asking people coming from the concert how great he was. They were all saying they were more excited to see Chvrches…now he’s selling out within seconds. Electric Picnic had so many of our own hip-hop artists from Jafaris, Mango & Mathman, Erica Cody, JYellowL, Rusangano Family, Tebi Rex, Jordan Adentunji just to mention a few…
Spotify and YouTube connect us to the music the rest of the world are listening to. Sound cloud is the new mixtape and it has a global reach. I mean, why wouldn’t we want to play along and have fun with the rest of the world?
A study was done once to show that music taste is something we develop in our adolescence. Songs we loved as teens will never sound as sweet as the sophisticated taste we develop as adults. We’re most nostalgic for this time because it’s the first time we start forming memories that stay with us, our brains are developing into adult brains and it’s a crucial time for self-discovery. But beyond that, our brains are making leaps neurologically and the music we listened to from 12-22 get lodged in there. What I’m saying is, our parents who grew up in the 80s listening to their music and hate the sound of ours. Most of us have been listening to the top 40 charts and that includes a lot of hip-hop. We’re connected to these charts, it’s part of our culture now. So, I think the youth of Ireland are definitely ready to embrace hip-hop. Maybe not the older ones. I grew up listening to The Beatles and Radiohead and being an absolute edgy bastard and I love a bit of hip-hop (probably because of Gorillaz) so, maybe there is hope for everyone.