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Wednesday 28 February 2024

Underneath All The Thundering There's Magic

This came my way recently (although it came out in November last year) and blew the cobwebs and the years away- you can get to a point where you think that there's nothing new under the sun and then something turns up. Kneecap are from Belfast, three young men who make hip hop, rapping in Irish and English with lyrics that make their support for republicanism very clear along with a truck load of satire, piss taking, and references to casual drug use (one of the many things they talk about that would get them kneecapped by older, more frightening men). On their debut single in 2017 they talked about C..E.A.R.T.A, (rights, as in of the human variety). On their album they have a song called Your Sniffer Dogs Are Shite. They rap about their mums and about being real. They have said they don't want to 'box themselves in with masculinity all the time'. They seem both completely irreverent and utterly serious. 

On Better Way To Live they share their spotlight with Fontaines D.C. frontman Grian Chatten, a man who has his own brand of street poetry and real life lyricism. Grian's half sung/ half spoken vocals go like this...

'Underneath all the thundering there's magic. If there's a better way to live I've gotta have it/ Because I think all but when I drink I'm OK/ It gets further away every time I try to grab it/ Underneath all the chattering there's heaven/ I gotta peak one day made me feel like I was seven/ I know it exists but I can't stop getting pissed/ One more thing I'll be adding to the list/

Much of Kneecap's verses are in Irish and though I don't know what they're saying I think I know what they're on about. The combination of English and Irish, the flow of the words and the rhythms of the grinding bass and drums, are matched by the video, the all day drinkers and the world inside the pub.


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