There is something almost frighteningly compelling about that moment when you hear a song that is so raw and honest that you feel as though you completely understand where the artist has come from and what they are trying to say.
One of the best songs that I have heard in recent years to have this effect on me was the 2018 single, White Noise, from the Deli Daydreams by Dublin rapper Kojaque. Irish hip hop has often found itself unfairly maligned by people without a proper understanding of the genre in the country, but with artists like Tebi Rex, Mango X MathMan, and the aforementioned Kojaque, among others, cutting a track for upcoming artists, there is nothing to say that this genre can’t continue to grow.
White Noise is nothing short of a triumph for the Dublin artist. An incredibly impassioned piece about what it was like growing up in North Dublin, and the different prejudices that an accent and a postcode can bring.
The imagery created across the track by Kojaque (or as he’s known off stage, Kevin Smith) is truly mindblowing and a dark and unforgiving picture is created of how life can be for some people in Dublin city. We are painted a harrowing picture of a child who’s family has been torn apart after losing his mother and being placed into a foster home that he refuses to accept and adapt to.
“Night they came and tossed my mother in the four door,
Wheeled her off, my foster parents couldn’t control me”
Imagery like this is incredibly powerful for the listener and provides an raw and eye-opening insight into the disadvantages that certain people in society have to deal with succeed. The track also contains lyrics and imagery that help to hold a magnifying glass to the prejudices that exist in society, and how an accent can predetermine the kind of interactions you are likely to have with strangers.
“Read my rights they wanna kill me
cause an accent
Hold that purse a little tighter
Wanna ask them, what’s the time?”
There is a sense of entrapment going through the track as well as again we are shown the barriers that are created for people of certain backgrounds and how they can lead to people getting trapped where they are. Ultimately, it is hard not to pick up on the feelings of hopelessness and anger in the song.
“My court proceedings weighing on me
Cause I had dreams of upping sticks and jumping countries
Took that from my hands like when my ma left”
The song ends with one of the most powerful discourses I have ever heard in a song as Kojaque attacks the failings of the government in Ireland at the moment. The lyrics stand for themselves here…
“Sovereign state; they’d rather see my
mother bleed out than build a clinic
You leave abortions to the backstreets
If we need it we’re gonna get
Fuck the handouts
Give the tax breaks to smarmy fuckers in the grey suits
Leave me starving tryna find a source of income”
The instrumentation expertly supports the lyricism on show. It is simplistic and makes sure to put the vocals at the centre of the song so that the listener misses none of the emotion from the song.
This song live is an absolute force of nature…