INTERVIEW: Music, Current Affairs and Political Roastings with MC Irah
Monday’s General Election TV debate between current Prime Minister, Theresa May, and Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, was certainly a fiery one – even if it wasn’t head to head. British viewers finally got the opportunity to witness both parties grilled live on key policies including social care and terrorism.
With Brexit negotiations sizzling away and Election Day looming, the heat is well and truly on for British politics.
Labour, as we know, has traditionally held a reputation for being a party that speaks to our ethnic minorities. Admittedly, that hold has somewhat dwindled in recent years – with lost votes going to the Conservatives and Lib Dems. Not that that’s stopped black celebrities getting behind Labour.
Just recently I learned of Corybn’s support from grime artists JME, Novelist and Stormzy. JME even snapped a video of himself with the Labour leader in a London cafe.
For rapper and activist, Akala,”[Corbyn] may not have the “electric” personality that electorates are concerned about in these days of celebrity culture, but politics should not – primarily – be about personalities; it should be about policies – and Theresa May hardly exudes charisma.”
This got me thinking: how politically involved is the UK’s urban music scene? Keen to explore this link further, I reached out to a local dancehall MC who’s made a name for himself roasting MPs on live TV.
Irah’s approach to politics might be unorthodox, but that doesn’t make it any less hilarious. Here’s what I found out in an exclusive interview with the man himself:
So, Irah, talk us through your journey as an artist…
I taught myself how to play the piano, went to college and received a Higher National Diploma in music/music production.
I then started a family (studio one) band. Soon, I was picked up by Sony as a producer for Big Brothers, before finally taking a break from music to raise my daughter.
As a single father developing my dancehall style of mc’ing, I met MC/artist, Jamakabi, in a WhatsApp group, who invited me to join another group called WAR FM with some of the top UK grime stars. We all quickly became close and, along the way, I was reunited with good friend, Killa P, from the grime scene, who recognised my talent and instantly recruited me to join him on his musical mission under the group name, Killa’s Army. That was two years ago, and here I stand today.
Interesting. How would you classify your music?
Now you’ve put me on the spot. In a nutshell – my music is cultural.
How did you come to doing political roastings?
I was asked by RT (Russia Today) to introduce a guest on Sam Delaney’s News Thing show. When I realised it was Paul Nuttall from UKIP, I decided to scrap the performance and roast him with a freestyle about how displeased I was with him and his party’s agenda.
Following this, the show’s ratings went through the roof – they were given an extended six months because of my presence on the show. I went on to roast the likes of Nigel Farage, Ken Livingstone and many more.
That’s quite a feat you’ve accomplished. What’s the motive behind these roastings?
To highlight their inability to be MPs. Someone’s gotta hold them to account!
Which politicians are overdue a good roasting?
Jeremy Corbyn, Diane Abbott and Theresa May (of course). Not forgetting the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt.
I understand you have a separate show on the side called House of Lords – what’s that all about?
The House of Lords is the offshoot to the RT performances. It’s a satirical politics and currents affairs show that consists of comedy statistics, musical performances and guests from the UK music sports drama scene.
Given how politically involved you are, which party will you be voting for and why?
Labour, by default. It’s as simple as this – it’s a choice between two evils: Labour and Conservative. And Labour is the better choice.
Where can we listen to you music?
Most of my political roasts can be found on YouTube – just search the name MC Irah. I also feature on a Killa’s Army track which can be downloaded from both iTunes and Bandcamp. Be sure to follow me Twitter and Instagram too.