Words: Conor Sharkey Glackin
In the spirit of St Patrick’s Day, it’s the perfect time to showcase five of the major players looking to make the Ireland the next major hotbed for hip-hop artists in Europe. With the success and growing popularity of these artists, Irish talent should soon be taken as seriously as the UK and US scenes.
Ireland’s biggest success in hip-hop thus far, Snow was the first artist that made people take Irish rappers seriously and realise that there is some incredible talent on the Emerald Isle. Classic EPs such as ‘Rejovich’ and one studio album so far, ‘Dear Annie’, show just how talented and versatile Snow can be with his sound. Having collaborated with Loyle Carner and Joey Bada$$ it’s clear to see that Rejjie Snow is leading the way for Irish rappers and gaining the respect of his peers while doing so. Oh, and last year he also released a little song last year with none other than the legendary MF DOOM (RIP) in case you needed any further convincing as to why Rejjie Snow is a big deal in all hip-hop, not just in Ireland.
Tracks you should check out: ‘23’, ‘Charlie Brown’, ‘Purple Rain’, ‘1992’, ‘Cookie Chips’
Last year Denise Chaila truly took the Irish rap scene by storm. Hailing from Limerick, she released her debut album ‘GO Braverly’ which propelled her into any conversation about the hottest MCs in Ireland. She’s got a fantastic flow and a keen ear for soothing beats to lay her rhymes over. She’s as determined as anyone to reach the top, stating on ‘Move’ that she’s “way too broke to pay homage or pay attention”. Being broke will definitely be a thing of the past for as this artist is arguably the dark horse of Irish rappers right now. Expect to see a lot more of Chaila very soon, she’s already made serious moves so much so that the legendary Iggy Pop recently played her song ‘Anseo’ on his radio show. You can’t get a much bigger co-sign than that.
Tracks you should check out: ‘Chaila’, ‘Anseo’, ‘Holy Grail’, ‘Out The Gaff’
Kojaque captures what it means to be a young person living in Ireland (specifically in city environments) perfectly. His hard-hitting and honest lyrics mixed with jazz beats make for quite the entertaining listen giving you an insight on life in Ireland in the 21st century. Check out his latest release ‘Dreamcatchers’ for a taste of what this Dublin rapper is all about and search out his albums ‘Green Diesel’ and ‘Deli Daydreams’ available on streaming services now.
Tracks you should check out: ‘Last Pint’, ‘Eviction Notice’, ‘Dreamcatcher’, ‘No Hands’
Mango X Mathman
Having released their debut album ‘Casual Work’ in 2019, this Dublin duo are making a name for themselves. Taking pride in where they’re from and their accent they are a force to be reckoned with giving an Irish spin on grime music. The group were relatively quiet last year however that should not deter you from exploring their catalogue up until this point. Mango X Mathman are a group you certainly shouldn’t sleep on.
Tracks you should check out: ‘Chest Out’, ‘Deep Blue’, ‘Estates’
For anyone looking to learn a little bit about the Irish language through music Kneecap is perfect for you. This trio from Belfast consisting of rappers Mo Chara and Móglaí Bap along with producer DJ Provaí incorporate the language into their music which is such a refreshing thing to see proving that young people in Ireland are proud of their heritage and listening to acts like this might encourage more people to incorporate Irish into their daily lives with songs such as ‘C.E.A.R.T.A.’. The group can be quite provocative, causing some controversy among listeners claiming the music they make is troublesome and anti-British, yet they have a strong following brewing and you can expect big things from them in the future.
Tracks you should check out: ‘H.O.O.D.’, ‘C.E.A.R.T.A.’, ‘Incognito’