New Music // Lecs Luther – ‘Dia Dhuit’
Lots of words have been written about Lecs Luther (Alex Chiedu to his ma) already: many of them because he’s the first black rapper from Ireland to make any sort of breakthrough, and that’s interesting, but also because he raps in what is obviously an American accent despite the fact he’s from Dublin and talks just like me (and nobody wants to hear me rap). He’s since responded that his next track will be in Dublinese, but I’m not really sure it’s a bad thing to begin with.
This kind of snobbery tends not to seep into debates about rock music. Few people criticise Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong for singing in a London accent jacked directly from Joe Strummer, and did anybody really think Mick Jagger picked up that southern drawl from ‘Wild Horses’ on the streets of middle class London? It’s a bit weird that rappers would be held to a higher standard.
Part of it could be that hip hop is street music and is supposed reflect real life more than rock music, which surrendered to cliche decades ago, but the sound of the streets from which hip hop grew is American. Some great hip hop has come out of England, France, Germany, wherever, etc. in recent years, but still the defining sound of rap music is the New York accent and, on a micro level this past year, Tyler’s LA lilt. So why shouldn’t Lecs Luther imitate that?
The lad is only 18 (or thereabouts) and this is his first single. Everybody starts out imitating somebody else, and in this case he’s jacking the shit out of Earl Sweatshirt (I may have expressed the exact opposite sentiment on Twitter a couple of days ago, but I’ve listened harder and changed my mind) and MF Doom, while another track, ‘Trumpets,’ has Lupe written all over it. Rock bands go through the same process but it seems in the internet age that people expect musicians to be fully formed the second they hit the limelight – witness the spectacular failure of Pitchfork-approved Black Kids – but it’s totally unrealistic.
He’s a young rapper starting out and right now he’s got a whole load of potential and the originality will come later. He’s got a great flow and, while the lyrics are mostly so-so, he clearly has a way with words and I can’t wait to hear what the EP’s got to offer.