Belfast Telegraph

Belfast Irish language rappers Kneecap banned by radio station

By Allan Preston

An Irish language rap duo from west Belfast called Kneecap have faced censure from RTE.

The profanity-laced single Cearta - Irish for 'Right' - features multiple references to drugs, sex and the PSNI.

RTE's Irish language station Raidio na Gaeltachta removed the track from an afternoon programme's playlist due to the song's "drug references and cursing".

Now almost 700 angry fans have signed a petition to put the song back on air.

Kneecap's Móglai Bap (24) and Mo Chara (20) have defended the song as satirical and observational.

The pair told the Belfast Telegraph that they were "overwhelmed" by the support the petition had gathered.

In an interview with the Sunday Times, Móglai Bap said the song was meant to be a caricature of life in west Belfast.

"A lot of my friends don't vote Sinn Fein and they're not republican. We're proud of Irish culture, but we don't want to be defined by it," he said.

"We wanted this song to break stereotypes. We're not saying we agree with using RUC as a term for the PSNI, but it happens in Belfast."

The song has gained 110,000 views on Facebook and 13,000 on YouTube. Voicing his support for the group was Gerry Carroll, People Before Profit's West Belfast MLA, who called it "a great display of artistic and linguistic talent".

"The fact that this is obviously a satirical take on life for young people, particularly in west Belfast, has largely gone over the head of some people in RTE," he said.

He added that since the Good Friday Agreement there had been a false narrative that "everything has been sorted out here".

"Artwork that challenges the Establishment narrative about the North needs to be heard - be that music, poetry or anything else," he said.

Belfast man and Irish speaker Seamus MacAindreasa (48) has been involved in the west Belfast Gaeltacht for years.

"It's very obvious this is satire," he said.

"In terms of what RTE have done, they pull a song like this, but not half of the ones in the current Irish charts.

"Many of these songs objectify women and glorify the drug taking lifestyle on a daily basis.

"So I do think there's a bit of double standards there, really."

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