Ireland has left its young artists to find their own way in the arts industry, especially those in the Rap culture.
As is well-known, Dublin is a multicultural city offering a wide range of restaurants,pubs, and cafés. But it’s easily forgotten that the Dublin music scene is just as diverse. Every music culture is represented, from classical music to death metal. But what is the reality for young musicians hoping to be successful in the big city? I met Skxvngr
(pronounced Scavenger), a rising star in the rap scene, and asked him, as a young artist, how he is growing in this tough world where approximately only one out of five thousand artists make it to the top.
Today, we are going to talk about rap, and I mean real rap; the kind that you listen to in order to get your daily dose of beats and rhymes and the kind that (let’s be honest) makes you feel invincible when you listen to it. And of course, Skxvngr’s story of being a young artist trying to make his way in the big pond; “I’m a small fish, but I have a big voice.”
Firstly, what is the Irish government doing to help these rising stars? The arts scene in Dublin is young compared to that of other European countries. If you’re a young artist in Ireland working on a new cultural project; a single, play or exhibition, the Irish government will assist in paying up to one percent of the production cost. In other countries such as France, the government is willing to help a young artist with his/her project from production to promotion if the piece is good enough.
The French government understands the need that an inexperienced artist has to receive opinions on their works and as a result, the government offers a ‘bourse’ for a maximum of six
months in any European country. The same policy is applied in Germany but the German government offers artists a venue for their first representation too. Why is Ireland so far behind in this regard? This is mostly due to the Cultural Revolution that took place in the 20th century; a great process to occur but as it happened more recently than in other countries, the importance of art didn’t find its place in a business focused economy, leading since the rise of neo-liberalism. The government didn’t completely disregard the arts but it left inexperienced artists to find their own way to rise to stardom.
“I’m a small fish, but I have a big voice.”
Skxvngr, a young rapper from Belgium, raps in five languages and is beginning to make a name for
himself in the growing Dublin rap scene. He started rapping at the young age of ten and began creating his own work at the age 15. He’s therefore been in the ‘Rap Game’ for almost eight years now. Inspired by rappers such Eminem and Twisted Insane, Skxvngr is a real rap scavenger as he takes his inspiration from all over the world. Skxvngr stated, “I prefer freestyle over singles; there is no limit to freestyle – its pure improvisation.” Unfortunately, for the benefit of his music, the young artist has to work a day job too and so he uses his free time to work on his real passion,
“My money is going into food, rent, and rap.”
He has performed in many places such as Whelan’s and Wiley Fox; examples of places that understand the importance of his work to a certain degree; “I get paid 50 Euros a night when the DJ after me makes 300 Euro.”
Rap is widely misunderstood; it isn’t about guns and drugs but rather Rap is about expressing oneself as an artist and an observer of contemporary society today. Rap is an art, possibly born from the street, giving it an authenticity that is incomparable to some other forms of art. “My money is going into food, rent, and rap.” As Skxvngr mindfully pointed out; many business owners don’t see the ‘value’ of this art form and the importance that it serves. He’s fighting for his passion and is constantly creating new beats; my mistake, he “scavenges” them.
He’s another example of a talented artist unable to rise to his maximum potential due to him being in a country which often puts art on the sideline. A few questions must be raised in terms of the importance that art plays in today’s society; what could we do to improve its role? After all, an economically developed country needs its cultural industry to be of great importance as culture is what defines a society through cinema, literature, and music. Essentially, culture is what defines a country; its history and its values.