Thursday, February 25, 2010



Ok, don’t laugh; I know what you’re thinking. The term 'genius' is usually reserved for those intellectual types, the ones who changed the course of history through years of hard work and dedication. Well, although there is clearly that aspect to the term, nothing in life is that black and white. True hip hop comes from the same source as a lot of the men who shook up the world, the people that didn’t conform to society’s norms. Genius can be found in the creation of music which continues to endure, inspire and set standards.

It was Shopenhauer who said “The work of genius may be music, philosophy, painting, or poetry; it is nothing for use of profit. To be useless and unprofitable is one of the characteristics of genius; it is their patent of nobility”, while musician Karl Hyde (Underworld) describes genius as “People who continue to astound, astonish, surprise, delight, challenge, not conform and yet somehow keep body and soul together.”

I would say Mos Def is the emcee who best fits this description, besides his obvious rapping abilities, his body of work includes; performing spoken word poetry, singing to a high standard and reinventing himself further as an actor. His ability to think outside the box and show a level of excellence in whatever he chooses to pursue makes him to my mind a genius.

He has released music rapping over such diverse sounds as heavy metal and jazz, yet can do a convincing job of recreating country and western music. Through his complex lyricism, the feelings of entire demographs of people resonate within his music. His ability to put into words the struggles and worries of the poor makes him a valid champion of those without a voice in ways politicians could only hope to achieve, while Dave Chappelle even proclaims him to be a fine comedian.

Of course he is not the only example of a genius in hip hop, Rakim is an emcee who took the simple rhyming patterns of artists in the early 80‘s and dashed it with similes and uses of assonance, he can be considered a true innovator of the art, while KRS-One managed to define the music articulately through his philosophy and teachings over hard-core hip hop beats. To miss out on a generation of skilled emcees is to be ignorant to a culture which although misrepresented in mainstream media is relevant to the lives of so many.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sampling: When Is It Art?

When a piece is created for the sole purpose of making money, this can not be considered art. Art is defined in numerous different ways but the ones that caught my attention as defined by the English dictionary were as follows:

1. Skill that is attained by study, practice, or observation

Keyword here? “OBSERVATION” if art is a skill that is attained by observation, surely a key element of the qualities needed to create a beat from sampling matches this description.

2. High quality of conception or execution, as found in works of beauty; aesthetic value.

Keyword here? “EXECUTION” if art is measured by the quality of it’s execution, this would mean lazy sampling can not be considered true art but that which has the ability to inspire and move the human spirit is in itself the essence of art.


Picasso is considered an icon of 20th Century art. In the 1950’s he began to produce what are known in the art world as “re-interpretations” Picasso would take pieces from his favourite artists and restructure them in his own modern styles, often distorting images, changing the sizes and generally making the paintings his own while maintaining a clever nod towards the original.

The Original

Picasso's Version

Masters of Sampling in Hip Hop:

The best examples of a similar procedure used in hip hop come from artists like: Pete Rock, Hi-Tek, J Dilla & RZA.

Below are two records J Dilla sampled to create an entirely new instrumental. In doing so, the sounds seem to take on a new life and one which can be appreciated by a completely new generation.

The Originals

J Dilla's Instrumental

What is strikingly similar between the art world and the music world is that in both cases the new generation is restoring interest in the old. Many artists have renewed followings in their careers thanks to hip hop sampling while Picasso restored wide-spread interest in the artists he imitated.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Messiah J

^ Me with Irish mc "Messiah J"........ below is one of his vids, check it out:

Talib Kweli in Dublin

One of New Yorks finest emcee's Talib Kweli put on one hell of a show last weekend in Dublin's Tripod. As ever your favourite hip hop journalist Paddy Lane was on the scene with some great pics to capture the moments Talib and most importantly the crowd went wild!.....

^ Talib Kweli in action at Tripod

^ Kweli knows how to wow an audience with his stage presence and star like charisma.

^ This was one of the funnest part of Talib's show, he picked a member of the audience to come up on stage and break dance, it went down a storm when it got going! check out Talib's b-boy stance.

For more high quality pics, e-mail me at


I'm a freelance journalist from Ireland who knows alot........ alot about hip hop music :D and i'm ready to share it with the world. I will reguarly update the blog with concert pics from Irish hip hop gigs aswell as opinionated articles & music recommendations. Another exciting aspect of the blog is confirmed interviews with some of the best underground emcees aswell as recording a radio show. It's 2010 and the hip hop revolution has started, will you be part of it??