One of the things that is becoming more and more undeniable on the Irish music scene at the moment is that there is ever increasing numbers and volumes of hip-hop music, and the standard of these acts are continuing to grow. Acts like Rusangano Family, Mango X Mathman, and others are pushing to bring hip-hop to the forefront of the consciousness of the Irish music landscape, a landscape that is usually dominated by by indie rock or singer/songwriter artists.
The spread of hip-hop artists is to be found across the country of Ireland at the moment, with artists popping up everywhere. One of these artists who is beginning to make an impact on the Irish music scene is Kilkenny hip-hop artist, Jim Dollard. Since the release of his debut single, a steady rap performed over the Freddie Joachim track, waves., the trained primary school teacher has been steadily releasing songs over the last two years. Each release showed a maturity and appreciation for the craft and power of words and expression that help to draw the listener in from the very first bar.
Dollard has recently released his debut EP, LIVEINSIDEMYHEAD, and it continued the theme of hard hitting and honest commentaries and introspection on life at the moment. There is no doubt from listening to this collection of songs that Dollard is an intelligent and talented lyricist with an ability to bring the stories that he is telling to life for the listener. The five tracks on
Days Go By
Days Go By is the opening track on the EP and it serves as a stunning investigation of the trappings that many people feel as they go through their daily routine seemingly without direction. Being stuck in a rut is something that all of us can relate to, and it is captured excellently by Dollard here as he articulates the eternal struggle of conforming to what we think is how things should be or by branching out to pursue things that properly excite us. A message that will stay with many the listener. The track is performed by the artist through raspy lyrics which help to further create the idea of a beaten down individual who has become disillusioned by what is around him – a powerful effect.
The second track on the album is another foreboding tune by the artist and again hints at a sense of helplessness that is felt by many people as they feel they are heading towards self fulfilment with no way of adjusting this stream. The beat to the song is slow and sparse, and again Dollard uses raspy vocals to help to build the sense of being trapped. Again it is hard for the listener to not be drawn in by the lyricism and introspection on show.
Out For The Night
There is another sense of helplessness and entrapment on the track Out For The Night, as Dollard talks about escaping the everyday night by indulging on a night out to forget. Through the track, the performer talks about an insecurity of being left alone with his thoughts and instead chooses unhealthy distractions as a means to avoid overthinking. This is an especially powerful idea through the song as it is something that most people will be fully aware and familiar of and yet will also feel slightly ashamed or nervous to actually address or confront in themselves, meaning this is a song that could prove a difficult lesson for people who relate too strongly with the sentiments on show. A sign of quality songwriting.
The theme of taking a look inside your own head to see where you are what is going on in your life is again to be seen on the fourth track on the EP. We are again given an insight into the difficulties that we all face trying to decipher our thoughts on a daily basis, and again it is done with a maturity and assuredness.
Think I’m Insane…
Jim Dollard leaves the darkest and most disturbing track on the EP until the last with the incredibly heavy-hitting Think I’m Insane. This is a tour-de-force by the Kilkenny man and demonstrates the maturity of lyrics and topic that he can deal with when in full flow. There is a sense of storytelling here that is extremely impressive as Dollard deals with topics like self-reflection, domestic violence, and personal trauma in a way that is sure to leave the listener reeling. This is powerful songwriting.
A fantastic introduction by Dollard, let’s see what’s to follow.