When you think of “Hip-Hop” certain places in the world come to mind. Compton, California, Toronto, Chicago and London are a few of the most obvious ones. No matter what way you spin it or what way you try to calculate it, America dominate it and then most European cities fill the gap. Limerick was never one of those cities, however, on recent evidence they might not be too far off being shortlisted.
Limerick City is turning into an eco-system of musical talent, as all artists depend on each other to develop their sound and to push them to greater heights. With projects such as Music Generation allowing important producers and rappers to teach kids how to follow in their footsteps, the need for role models is higher than ever. The children are looking for roads and paths to follow and one of the brightest paths is being furrowed by Same D4ence.
Straight away the group take us into the mindset that the current generation is plagued by with the intro – problems from housing, unemployment, classism and the rise in suicide rates. The sparse instrumentation and echoing guitar add to the somber atmosphere of the track as the group go into great detail of their own experiences of suicide and it’s impact.
For the first time this writer feels that the heavy Irish accent adds to the sense that this is a deeply Irish problem, men’s inability to discuss their feelings. It stirs within the listener the thoughts that this is a problem that we, the Irish people, no matter what class or background you come from, must fight against. The stirring final line “There’s no human in the world that can make themselves a fish” rings deep, signifying that no matter how big or small you may be, that no one is safe once you decide to jump from a bridge. Once we leave the ego behind we all become equal.
The bleakness of the opening track is quickly replaced by the upbeat, electronic instrumentation on “Untitled” and the sound of the tape recorder playing to kickstart the song accents the 90’s hip-hop feel. The vocalists are refreshingly distinctive and there is no threat of one seeping in and out of a verse without you noticing. The rhythm of the song is constantly changing which showcases the group’s versatility and the lack of meaningless expletives only proves that they are all qualified lyricists.
Despite the fake phone call and Dick Van Dyke vocal sample that opens “Jo Ropes”, the E.P returns to mournfulness as the group discuss their managers own suicide. The song is not for the faint hearted as each individual verse paints a graphic and scarily realistic picture of the events that occurred and leaves the reader in little doubt as to the outcome. They rap about how he kept all his problems to himself and never spoke to anyone. As the song reaches the end the group grow angrier, more aggressive.
The E.P closes with bass-heavy production on “Pretentious” as the group rap about life in limerick. The recreational drug use, with constant drug references throughout, and the fighting for fun. The verses are quick and fast but very clearly audible and on the final chorus you hear the voice of a child, a reminder that life can be fun, despite all the hardship.
So what to make of this new release? It’s one of the best Irish hip-hop albums this writer has heard. The ways you can view some of the lyrical content’s inner meaning and production choices are outstanding. It’s short enough that it leaves you wanting more and will therefore keep it on repeat as you begin to fall to love it. Is everything perfect? No. Nonetheless, it is an outstanding E.P that will raise the bands profile that bit more. It also gives the kids a new high to reach for. This is an E.P made to inspire the future.
– Cailean Coffey