D12 Inc: Locals to release single ‘No one above you’

By Aideen O'Flaherty

Three schoolfriends who previously attended St MacDara’s Community College in Templeogue together joined forces at the start of the pandemic, and began making hip-hop music under the banner of D12 Inc.

D12 Inc was formed by rapper Absentee from Perrystown, and producers Big Mick and Cameron Steele, from Crumlin and Drimnagh respectively, and their name is in homage to their hometowns.

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D12 Inc Trio Big Mick, Cameron and Absentee

The trio had always been passionate about making music together, but these plans never came to fruition until they all became unemployed at the beginning of the pandemic.

They decided to use their unexpected free time to indulge in their creative pursuits.

This has resulted in their well-received debut album ‘Love Letters of an Absent Mind’, which was released at the end of last summer and dealt with themes of mental health struggles, but also offered moments of clarity and hope.

Now D12 Inc are gearing up for the release of their new single ‘No One Above You’, which was written in April but didn’t feature on their album as the song’s sound didn’t gel with the album’s tracks.

Rapper Absentee took some time out to talk about D12 Inc’s output so far, why the trio decided to feature a clip from the ‘Tiger King’ documentary in ‘No One Above You’, and how their collaboration with indie band The Temps on their new single came about.

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You all started working together after you lost your jobs back in March as a result of the pandemic. Why was it important for you to have a creative outlet during this time?

Well, music had always been a major escape for us, and a huge part of our friendship was down to our musical taste.

We differ on artists and projects sometimes, but it’s the passion for it that brought us together.

So when we had finally been given the time to exercise our creativity through our homegrown music, we couldn’t resist!

It truly helped us express ourselves, and was a huge support regarding our own mental health, and in keeping our minds active over the months of the first lockdown.

How do you feel about the feedback your debut album, 'Love Letters of an Absent Mind', received when it was released last August?

I was, and still am, over the moon with the feedback we have received from everyone who has listened.

We wanted to make some credible music, and contribute to the growing Irish hip-hop scene, and thankfully we got picked up by some major Irish music blogs.

All in all, we received a warm welcome into the music scene, and it's only pushed us to make more music.

Your lyrics on the album deal with mental health struggles and vulnerability, what did it mean to you to be able to convey these themes through your music?

For me to convey these themes was like finally getting a weight off my chest.

So many people, myself included, struggle to say what’s on our minds, for the most part, and music has really helped me grow as a person, and become confident in myself.

I've always seen music as a way of venting, and letting yourself be free while doing so.

This enabled me to explore themes I would never have been able to speak freely about, until I started writing.

Your new single 'No One Above You' features The Temps, how did this collaboration come about?

The collaboration between us and The Temps came about fairly casually. Big Mick had requested some guitar riffs from Alex Smirnov, The Temps’ lead guitarist, back when he originally crafted the beat.

The vocals from the band’s lead vocalist, Owen Soper, came much later as there was something missing from the track, and he was happy to help us out.

We've all known of each other over the years, through friends and acquaintances, so it felt very right using someone we have a rapport with.

‘No One Above You' was originally written in April, but didn't make the cut for the album as it didn't fit with the atmosphere on 'Love Letters of an Absent Mind'. How do you feel now that the song has seen the light of day?

We feel great about the song coming out, and seeing the light of day! Each song does mean quite a bit to us, as there’s so much work put into them.

It’s a shame when pieces of work aren’t ready to go but, at the time, it felt right keeping it for another time.

The song itself now is ready to go. If we had released it sooner it wouldn’t be the piece that it is.

The beat has been beefed up thanks to Big Mick’s dedicated mixing and Cameron’s quality mastering of the track!

The single retained a sample from Joe Exotic from the ‘Tiger King’ documentary from the original version of the song, why did you decide to keep that in the song?

The ‘Tiger King’ sample is now really a timestamp. Back in April it was a relevant shout out, as ‘Tiger King’ was the new doc on the block and everyone was talking about it.

For us, now, it serves a purpose in letting people know when it was made, and also to show that we have more in the works.

‘No One Above You’ is out now on all streaming services. For further information visit linktr.ee/Absenteemusic.

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