Of its many beautiful facets, perhaps one of rap's most consistently thrilling and vital characteristics is its restless mutability. While hip-hop may have been born in the Bronx (and has certainly been claimed and dominated by a number of American cities since), the last decade or so has seen the erosion of borders in ways that likely seemed fantastical to all but few in the Internet's primordial age.
New Yorkers rap like Southerners, west coasters sample British house songs, and everyone has the ability to pull from rap's rich historical palette at a moment's notice, fomenting one of the most simultaneously cluttered and exhilarating periods in the genre's near history.
Irish group Hare Squead speaks to rap's borderless renaissance. Playful soul typifies the trio's music, an energy both thoroughly modern and of a piece with hip-hop's origins. This playfulness extends to the name "Hare Squead," which is "Square Head" switched around, an homage to the fact that each of the three members had flat tops when they met.
On standout single "Long Way To Go" (the video for which you can watch above), the group reroutes Soulection's future bounce sound to the often hymnal aspirations of old house, dance floor spiritual paying homage to the struggle while aiming an eye towards a brighter day. "Long Way To Go" feels like the group's energetic thesis, a melting pot of springy house, lithe rapping, and impassioned singing.
"If you’re talking about rap we grew up on, we're of the Kanye West, Kid Cudi, Lil Wayne, G Unit era," says Jessy Rose, who delivers "Long Way To Go's" immediately memorable chorus between verses by Tony Konstone and E-Knock. "We were also into Green Day, Gym Class Heroes, Pharrell, Snoop, Outkast…basically we’d keep an open mind to anything that came onto MTV at the time. As far as influences, we sort've just soak up as much as we can being from Dublin, but there's not necessarily a defined sound or anything like that. Cause we're on the outside, we sort've mix a bunch of different cultures together."
While acts like P&P regular Rejjie Snow have made international headway in the last few years, most rap listeners might not associate Ireland with the music they're firing up when passed the aux cord. Rose, Konstone, and E-Knock are intent on changing that.
"The hip-hop scene in Ireland is blossoming as we speak," says Rose. "We don't really feel like we need to leave Dublin, but at the same time we don't just want to be a local act. We want to be international as fuck."
Watch the video for equally infectious, dance floor-ready single "If I Ask" below.
We're switching things up. 5 On It is now going to come at the end of each month. In its place, a new artist will be highlighted on the first and third Saturdays of each month. You can also enjoy some favorites from the past on our new 5 On It Spotify playlist, which you can check out below.