Ireland's Rappers

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RTÉ Two, Monday 20 February 2012, 9.30pm

This documentary follows some of the bizarre and unusual characters who inhabit the Irish rap scene. Amongst them is Redzer, a charismatic 28-year-old who fronts one of Ireland's leading rap bands, the Class A'z. Redzer whose real name is Kieron Ryan comes from Coolock in North Dublin and sees rap as a means of breaking into the mainstream music industry. Along with fellow rappers Terawrizt and Siyo they have produced an enormous back catalogue of songs and videos which have brought them a considerable internet following but as yet no commercial success.

The pop influenced style of the Class A'z is contrasted within the programme by the more idealistic Working Class Army, a Finglas and Blanchardstown rap collective who pursue a more purist form of hip hop. The Working Class Army includes rapper Lethal Dialect, known to his mother as 23-year-old Paul Alwright who we meet during the making of his second album. Lethal Dialect hopes that this EP will prove to be the breakthrough album for Irish hip hop and allow the band overtake the Class A'z as the number one Irish hip hop act.

There has in fact been a long running feud between the Class A'z and the Working Class Army not unlike the feuds which have broken out amongst American rap stars such as Jay-Z and 50 Cent. The feud between the Dublin rappers is explored within the film as is the rap battle scene made famous by the Eminem film 8 Mile. Like in America, Irish rappers also attempt to settle their differences by having rap battles in underground clubs which are judged by their peers. The threats and insults traded by rival rappers at these events almost have to be seen to be believed and whilst the footage may seem more reminiscent of an illegal fight club, actual violence is rare.

The film also features 24-year-old Elayne Harrington, a rapper from Finglas who goes by the stage name Temper-Mental MissElayneous. MissElayneous is one of Ireland's most outspoken rappers with a unique style of performance which has made her one of the country's most exciting and provocative solo performers in any musical style. She is joined in the programme by Cork rappers the Rebel Faction namely Matamatik and Genesis, expert exponents of the unique tongue-twisting style of rap which is associated with the Rebel County and often referred to as 'lyrical jibberish'.

The Irish rap scene has been bubbling under the surface for a number of years and whilst the only Irish rap bands who have achieved any sort of success to date have been comedy acts, this film shows that this is in fact a highly creative and dedicated subculture with a cast of incredible and sometimes barely believable characters.






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