Marxman

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Marxman
Origin Dublin/London/Bristol
Genres Alternative hip hop, political hip hop, celtic hip hop, trip hop, Hip Hop
Years active 1989–1996
Labels Talkin' Loud, Polygram, A&M Records
Members Hollis Byrne
Stephen Brown
Oisin Lunny
DJ K One

Marxman were a four-piece Marxist hip-hop group with two MCs[1] formed in London in 1989. Their lyrics expounded socialism and an end to economic and social injustice. They are one of only a few groups that combine hip-hop with traditional Irish compositions.

History[edit]

The band was formed by college friends Hollis Byrne and Stephen Brown, who also enlisted the help of Byrne's childhood friend from Ireland, Oisin Lunny and scratch mixer DJ K One. Together they developed an overt political message in a scene dominated by Gangsta rap, inspired by Hip-Hop, Motown soul and traditional Irish music. Their debut 1992 single "Sad Affair" which borrowed lyrics from the Irish rebel song "Irish Ways and Irish Laws"[2] was banned by the BBC.[1] The bands later single, "All About Eve" peaked at number 28 in the UK Singles Chart,[3] resulting in a performance on the BBC's flagship music programme Top of the Pops. Their controversial influences stemmed more from their militant socialism than traditional nationalism.[2]

Their initial releases were on the Talkin' Loud record label and the group built a significant fanbase prior to the release of their debut single. Their debut album came the following year, when they released 33 Revolutions per Minute in the UK, before launching themselves to the American market in 1994.[2] However the album failed to generate significant interest, and Marxman left Talkin' Loud for the More Rockers label. They released their second and final album in 1996, Time Capsule which was significantly more conservative then their debut release before disbanding later in the same year.[2]

Subject Matter[edit]

Whilst the Irish Republican themes in "Sad Affair" are well publicised, Marxman lyrics also considered themes such as domestic violence with their 1993 single "All About Eve", and comparing the African slave trade and the colonisation of Ireland to modern wage slavery in "Ship Ahoy".

Legacy[edit]

Although once touted as the Anglo-Irish answer to Public Enemy,[2] the group met with limited commercial success, despite working with a number of high-profile musicians, collaborating with James McNally of The Pogues and having Sinéad O'Connor as guest vocalist on the single "Ship Ahoy".[1] They also supported U2 and Depeche Mode on their respective Zoo TV and Devotional tours. They are however considered to have been forerunners of the trip hop genre alongside bands such as Massive Attack and Portishead,[2] and contributed to the establishment of the "Bristol sound".[4]

Discography[edit]

Albums[5] Year
33 Revolutions per Minute 1993
Time Capsule 1996
Singles & EPs[5] Year
Sad Affair/Dark are the Days 1992
Ship Ahoy 1992
All About Eve 1993
Dark are the Days (12") 1993
The Cynic EP 1994
Time Capsule 1996
Backs Against the Wall (12") 1996

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Marxman: Woman and Child", Lime Lizard, May 1993, p. 24-5
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Marxman Biography". Starpulse.com. Retrieved 2011-10-17. 
  3. ^ Marxman, Chart Stats, retrieved 2010-05-26
  4. ^ Donnelly, Dave. "33 Revolutions Per Minute - Marxman". AllMusic. Retrieved 2011-10-17. 
  5. ^ a b "Marxman Discography at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2011-10-17. 

External links[edit]