1988 is the third album from Irish rapper Lethal Dialect (Paul Alwright). This album is a much more nostalgic approach from Lethal Dialect than the previous two albums. The album begins with “School Dayz Are Over” which is a scathing attack on the school system in which he lost his determination and drive and spent the whole time “learning the verses I’d written” and perfecting his art. Jess Kav features on “Headstrong” and she adds a soulful dimension that perfectly compliments the rappers unmistakeable Dublin accent. In a show of vulnerability, the subject of his mother’s battle with cancer is addressed.
“The Shark Interlude” adds a moment of comedic respite in between the honest and at times
philosophical storytelling of Lethal Dialect. In the standout track on the album, “Beast Mode”, he tackles the social problems on the streets in Dublin. He raps about how he enjoys the finer things in life like Dom Perignon and filet mignon but also stays true to where he is from by recognising the struggles of the drug addicts on the streets. He also touches on the streets being like an Orwellian 1984 dystopian society with everybody being watched by CCTV.
The album concludes with “Brave” which features Damien Dempsey. Whilst it is a very good track, you can’t help but be distracted by thinking who would win in a contest for the “Strongest Dublin Accent” award.
Overall there are songs on this album that get a little lost or forgotten by the end but the majority get their message across and in the fine Lethal Dialect fashion that we have come to expect. To quote Lethal Dialect “Criticism is the most beneficial thing to any artist”, unfortunately for Lethal, there is not much to criticise about this album.