Al-Go-Rythm is the debut album from Dublin-based rapper and producer Alan Newman. Alan can be credited for actively growing the Irish hip-hop scene since his early 20’s. After 10 years of making beats for other artists, putting on shows, and managing artists, this is Newman’s first release of his own music. The album was recorded in Roof Recordz studios and was mixed and mastered by Tony Roof.
In 2018, Newman started work on his first solo artist album, Al-Go-Rhythm. It began with him listening to some old beats and instrumentals that he made for the cypher series he started in 2013, Boss Level Series. Suddenly, he found himself getting invested in writing and enjoying it more than the production side of things. Newman’s main collaborator on the album is Deco McGlade. The two have worked together over the last decade as collaborators and co-producers for different artists.
Though Newman has been involved in the music industry since his early teens as a producer, manager, member of different groups, and founder of Boss Level Series, he never saw himself as an artist primarily. He says, “The whole time I was working in the industry, I didnt realise I had been, but other people told me I always had been rapping or mumbling rhymes to myself.”
Through watching everyone else over the years, Alan observed what he needed to do in terms of writing and performing. He goes on to say, “All of a sudden, when listening to some old beats, something clicked. I started writing stuff down. Conversations I overheard over the years from working with countless artists about syllables, rhyme schemes etc, it all came together for me. I didn't quite know what I was doing at the start, it started as just lines in my head that I wanted to write down.”
Newman describes the driving force behind the album as his personal experiences and things he has been through. He says, “It became therapeutic, I didn't realize it was about stuff I had to write about until it was done. Looking back, I know what the songs are about now, but I didn't know at the time I was writing them. Each song is a different stage of what I needed to get out of my system.”
The first four songs he describes as melancholy, with each tune containing its own unique texture and message. This is the stoney, dreamy section of the album. Alan says, “The first two tracks are dreamy- hipster rappy, with a pessimistic end to the second track leading to a sharp third track that leaves listeners in the head space to think about the bigger picture. The fourth track is “Burst This Bubble” which is a commentary on social media and its effects on the real world and the people in it.”
There is a tone change in the middle of the album. The fifth track, “Mittens” is a palette changer to the first four songs. It includes a feature from Irish rapper Intox and fades in differently with a wind sound effect to mark the change of tone to a slightly colder, darker vibe; signifying the opening of a new chapter. A breath of fresh air, the second half of the album is darker and more rugged. Diving into more personal experiences, there’s a fierceness and sharpness that carries through the second half of the album.
“StreetLights” is a trap-influenced beat from Deco, and is inspired by growing up in the flats in St.Michael's Estate Inchicore, a lower income neighborhood with a high crime rate. It touches on things that Newman and his family have seen happen there, and as he gets older, his growing concern. Drawing on small moments and experiences, some would call it a “Nacker Rap” approach to storytelling.
“U like” is a long story about Newman’s long term relationship with his partner. He says, “It’s the first four years of our relationship boiled down into a song about when we were young and dumb. It’s been over a decade since and I’ll probably need three more songs to cover it all.”
“Lady Music” features singer-songwriter Ray Scully and is about the effort it takes to be good enough at music as well as the business it entails. Newman says, “I’ve been through so much with music, and yet I’m still pursuing it. Lady music is a fickle bitch.”
“World is Wasted” features Newman introspectively looking at the state of the world, wondering if the world is a waste. Newman concludes that there's no need to think or worry too much about it, it’s all bad but just enjoy it. The world is crazy, but it will keep on ticking on.
Born in Ireland, Alan’s family moved to Essex when he was young, and he moved back to Ireland when he was 20. Alan jokes, “I haven't been able to shake the accent.” It was in Essex that Alan started to get into rap, and began rapping with the lads he grew up with. As soon as he moved back to Ireland, Alan began actively searching for the hip-hop scene in Dublin. He started putting on gigs, producing, trying to find acts, and looking for artists to work with. In 2011, he started diving into producing, making beats for other artists. He put together the hip-hop group The Animators, featuring rappers such as Mr Highspeed, Mango, Dizzy Daz, Leiko, RV, Jessie J, and Adam Fogerty. He managed the group, produced their beats and organized their live shows. In 2013 Alan started a cypher series born out of the Irish collaborative spirit called Boss Level Series. The three-part online video series featured eight MCs from different parts of the world. As well as online episodes, Boss Level Series put on live shows, and played several festivals. Newman also made the beats for Boss Level Series. Notable features of Boss Level Series included Genesis Elijah, battle rap champ Tenchoo, and hip-hop legend Akil of Jurassic 5.
In 2015 Alan released a collaborative album with Dublin based artist Funzo called Artificial High. The album was met with critical acclaim. Born out of a personal tragedy, the album proved to be a personal remedy. In early 2016, Alan released another collaborative album, Advocates Way, with Dublin- based rapper Rapthor. In this project, Alan and Rapthor sat in each others presence crafting the beats and lyrics together. Later in 2016, Alan released a collaborative album he made with Dublin-based artist Collie, Outside the Box. The production on this album was a more meticulous process and Collie had a much more thorough approach to the construction of the album, which makes the album sound full and cohesive. From 2012-2016, Newman estimates he made over 4,000 different beats for different projects and artists.