A HIP HOP mentoring project has been announced by Axis Ballymun, which will see emerging MCs working with some of Ireland’s rising stars.
Hip-hop artist Lethal Dialect (Paul Alwright) and Dean Scurry of Workin Class Records have both come on board to work with Axis for the project, which is part of Playground, a major arts mentoring initiative funded by the Arts Council.
This latest phase – the third of four – is called Craft and Art – from in the Street to Industry, and will see Lethal Dialect and Scurry giving a mixture of music advice, face to face meetings, business advice and critique to the successful applicants.
Workin’ Class Records recently had a residency at Axis and Lethal Dialect is completing his latest album, 1988, in its music studios.
This mentoring scheme will take place over a number of weeks, beginning in March. Rather than being an introduction to the craft, it is an opportunity for hip-hop artists/performers who are at the beginning of, or at a change point in their careers, to work with one of Ireland’s foremost hip-hop artists; to ask the questions they’ve always wanted to ask, build confidence and be mentored.
Lethal Dialect has released two albums, LD50 part 1 and part 2, and in 2011 became a featured artist on the second season of RTÉ series Love/Hate. He has shared the stage with acts such as Maverick Sabre, Ghostpoet, Action Bronson and The Rubberbandits and is working on the soundtrack for Irish feature-length film ‘Cardboard Gangsters’, in which he is also starring.
“When Dean said it to me, I was saying to him I didn’t really feel like I was in the position I needed to be in to mentor anyone else,” Alwright told TheJournal.ie. “I’m sort of on the come-up myself. But he told me, you’re a lot further down the line than a lot of people involved in the music thing. He said what you’ve learned on the road so far would be invaluable info for them.”
And so Alwright decided to take part.
Lots of the younger heads are getting involved but they’re not really seeing it as a profession, more so as a hobby. That was one thing with me, why I took it so serious. I sort of treated it like a job.”
He sees it as a “blessing” to be in the position to be able to advise others with their career. “When I was coming up there was no one like that, there was no one else doing it,” he said. “I didn’t have someone mentoring me. I had to do it myself.”
You’ve to balance doing it because you love it and doing it because you want a career out of it as well.
Alwright recognises that hip hop is growing in popularity, both in terms of Irish young people getting involved, but also within the music industry here. “As well as that I think because of the climate as well, there’s not really anything else for young fellas or young girls to do.”
To have someone like Axis in the community is a gift because they are really out there to expand the younger crowd getting into the community and support them. Mark O’Brien understands the struggle. It’s great to be able to give back to the community.
Axis’s relationship with local hip-hop began around a number of years ago, culminating in a major way six years ago with the Hip-Nós project, which fused hip-hop and sean nós singing and toured many different countries.
With the latest project, Director Mark O’Brien explains: “We really wanted to do something for hip-hop. We wanted to frame it not just coming in and learning to rap, we were really interested in what Paul himself wanted to do.”
The aim was to show exactly what it takes to move forward with a career as an MC or in hip-hop. “It’s great that this is happening, but how does one drive this on and let people hear this great work but also let the artists push themselves?”
Lethal Dialect is one of the hardest working people I’ve met. You can see it both in his work but also in his career.
There has been a huge amount of work not just in Dublin, but in the hip-hop world in Ireland over last 10 years to give it its own voice, says O’Brien.
He sees a new voice emerging, and pays close attention to what the MCs are saying.
Take all the beats off it and the lyrics, the words are incredible.
Applicants are asked to send links to online video and music, a CV and an email outlining expression of interest. Applications are open until March 14 and expression of interests should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Organisers are looking for artists who are over 18 and serious about progressing in the music industry as professional hip-hop artists.