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Interview: Lethal Dialect

The hip-hop scene in Ireland is undoubtedly a growing industry. Throughout the past number of years, the people of Ireland have seen a radical shift and transformation in home-grown musical talent; one such talent is Lethal Dialect. Sharron Lynskey of The Daily Shift was lucky enough to recently catch a word with the Dublin rapper…

Gone are the days where Irish music consisted solely of accordions and rural jigs. The turn of the 21st century has brought with it a new and exciting era – the urban hip-hop genre. Lethal Dialect, AKA Paul Allwright, is certainly at the fore of this revolution. The 24-year-old rapper from Blanchardstown is fast becoming one of the hottest prospects on the Irish music scene for his passionate lyrics and addictive beats.

Hip-hop was always a focal point for Allwright growing up and he admits he was drawn to it from a very young age. Throughout his teenage years, he discovered it was the first genre of music he really listened to and enjoyed. “I knew it was the type of music I wanted to do”. The big names such as Tupac and Biggie were the type of acts Allwright looked up to as a teen. “We hadn’t as much access to the internet at that time, so I looked up to the more exposed acts first.” However, it wasn’t long before rap artists closer to home caught his eye; “the more I looked into the underground acts, the more I started looking for new hip-hop acts nearby.”

Allwright fondly recalls how he got into song-writing and jokingly calls it “an accident”:

We were in a youth club, Foroige, in Blanchardstown at the time. The club got in a whole load of studio gear such as microphones and MacBooks and we decided to try it out. A few of the lads were already writing raps at the time and we started just messing around with the equipment and writing rap songs. The outcome was disastrous really, but after that I knew my focus.

Subsequently, Lethal Dialect went on to produce two albums after this “accident” and is currently in the process of creating his third studio album, 1988. This album is planned for release in early Summer 2013 and Allwright describes it as “an intervention”. The album is set to be a bit more diverse than LD’s other two albums, the LD50 series.

“It’s sort of a new sound. With this album, we’re moving out of the underground [rap scene]. It’ll be a bit more accessible.”

It’s clear from Allwright’s tracks that he has an admirable story-telling ability to his writing. So where exactly does he get his inspiration from? “Everyday life really. Other artists and their writing is also a major influence.”

Lethal Dialect also received great recognition for his material on the hit RTE drama series, Love/Hate. Allwright illustrated how that came about: “After watching the first series, I thought some of the music didn’t fit some of the scenes. I just thought it didn’t describe the true Dublin setting. So I got in contact with a producer and sent in a few tracks to complement the scenery of the show and it basically went from there.”

When asked whether or not this genre of music will continue to advance and flourish, Allwright provides some interesting insights:

“It definitely will grow. Hip-hop is the most prevalent type of music with the younger generation, especially around the Dublin area. It’s a great thing that the industry here is expanding and that hip-hop and rap is becoming more acceptable in today’s society.”

Some may argue that hip-hop acts in Ireland are not being taken as serious as other types of artists. Although the industry is hard to break in our small island, Allwright is optimistic for the future of Irish hip-hop and rap.

“We’re getting there. Artists like The Original Rudeboys are making waves in the charts and people are becoming more used to hearing the Dublin accent on a rap record. I think that stigma is finally beginning to shift.” He also believes that in this modern world, Dublin hip-hop acts are finally getting the recognition they deserve. “The standard is just too good here for people not to take notice.”

What does the future hold for Lethal Dialect? Does he have any exciting plans for 2013? In a word – yes. Apart from the release of his album in the summer, the New Year means another intriguing project for Allwright.

“I’m working on a film with John Connors and Damien Dempsey for the year ahead. It’s called ‘Cardboard Gangsters’ and involves a talented cast of Irish actors and actresses. The plot revolves around young fellas who went down the wrong paths. It’s very relevant and fresh and we’re hoping the soundtrack will be out just before the album”.

The future looks bright for this talented young rapper. His focus and drive is unquestionably evident and his passion for all things hip-hop is abundant. Definitely an Irish artist to look out for!

Lethal Dialect performs in The Workman’s Club this Sunday at 8pm.

*Lead image courtesy of Theworkmansclub.com
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