“The Advocates” is the long awaited debut album from Dean Byrne, AKA Rapthor. Rapthor is easily the most exciting Irish rapper to emerge for years. Having spent years honing his craft through recording the odd song here and there and also entering battle raps, Rapthor has finally put it all on record with the help of producer, Alan Newman.
The album opens with the first single, “Kamakazee” which is an atmospheric assault that sets the bar for the rest of the album. The distinctive Alan Newman beats give the track a sound reminiscent of an eerie level from a video game. Speaking of videos, the video for the song is excellent and should be checked out for sure.
“Now” features the old and the new of Irish hip hop in the shape of Collie and Row-B. Row-B is a revelation on this track. For anybody unaware of Row-B, he is a member of rap group AWOL alongside Rapthor and like Rapthor, he has entered into the fray of battle rap with a style that has won him countless fans as well as battles. This guy needs to be next to take a ride on the Newman gravy train and get an album out.
“Class In Session” offers up a delectable guitar backing track similar to what you might expect from Nas during the “God’s Son” era and Carlos Santana. It really helps Rapthor’s lyrics pop.
Funzo pops up again on “Soul Searching” adding his imitable vocals making him a perennial player on the hip hop scene. The reason everybody wants to work with him is obvious.
“Instromental” and “Bangers + Mash” will both have to nodding your head to the beat and just admiring the sheer depth of Rapthor’s lyrical vocabulary.
“My Move” is simply brilliant. The speed with which Dean Byrne delivers is more than impressive. Just listening to this song will leave you out of breath.
With Alan Newman producing and Collie mixing and mastering, there is a dream team forming here. First Funzo and now Rapthor, they’re 2 for 2 so let’s hope this partnership keeps dropping albums as good as the first two. Thanks to Rapthor’s distinctive vocals, a delivery speed faster than UPS, his majestic lyrical capabilities, mixed with Alan Newman’s production prowess and cameo appearances from Collie, Row-B and Funzo, The Advocates is the best hip hop album to come out of Ireland. Period.