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  • Entertainment

Dublin’s emerging hip-hop scene is aiming to go global

Wednesday, 19th June, 2019 1:00pm
Dublin’s emerging hip-hop scene is aiming to go global

Versatile, a duo from Ringsend and Sandymount.

Dublin’s emerging hip-hop scene is aiming to go global

Versatile, a duo from Ringsend and Sandymount.

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In 2017, hip hop overtook pop as America’s most popular genre. In Ireland it sits in fifth place, behind pop, rock, dance and soul. However, it is the fastest growing genre among young people and will surely climb up that list soon. With the internet making the rap world more accessible, more and more Irish rappers are putting their music out there.

For Seán Ó Muirgheasa, Dun Laoghaire native and rapper with the Róg Poets group, rap’s explicit nature is where its appeal to the masses lie.

“I grew up with a distrust of the system we live in,” he explains. “When I heard rappers speak so critically about modern society, I felt vindicated. They say the things most people only think.”

Seán says rap offers a platform to discuss issues that other genres don’t.

“My music ranges from observation on politics, society, history, basically the whole world around me,” says Sean. “Though with the Róg Poets the focus is more on the rhythm and the live music experience rather than any particular message.”

The feeling of discontent is the only constant in a genre which has been transformed so many times since emerging in the US in the late 1970s.

While the direction of the anger is always changing, from politicians to paparazzi to groupies, it remains nonetheless.

Coolock rapper Ludacris and his crew Working Class Records held the torch for Irish hip hop through the noughties and into the early teens but never gained much commercial success.

Nowadays artists don’t need record labels to gain a platform.

This has opened the door to international success for some Irish rappers. Versatile, a duo from Ringsend and Sandymount, have been putting up music videos for the last six years.

In 2015, their video ‘Mad-Scene’ went viral, reaching over two million views. They rap in their own, distinctly Dublin, accents. Most of their songs now hit over a million views and they have toured all over the UK.

Rejjie Snow from Drumcondra took Irish rap to the next level. His debut EP ‘Rejovich’, released in 2013, topped the i-tunes hip hop chart ahead of releases from acclaimed stars such as Kanye West and J Cole. He is now signed to Birdman’s ‘300 Entertainment’ label and is enjoying a highly successful career.

Rejjie Snow raps in an American accent and that’s where he draws most of his fanbase.

Versatile draw most of their followers from their exceptionally hilarious videos. 

Dubliner Kojaque is arguably the only out and out hip-hop act to have a considerable following at home and abroad. His collective Soft Boy Records have been making steady ground thanks to their striking visuals coupled with biting lyrics. His approach to rap reflects the genre’s changing nature.

His debut album, ‘Deli Daydreams’, consisted of his private reflections while working behind the deli at Centra. His songs ‘White Noise’ and ‘Eviction Notice’ tackle the many social problems we see in Dublin today.

These breakthrough artists did the hard work in carving out a space for Irish hip-hop.

Finglas duo Ink and Daf have gained considerable traction from their take on Chicago Drill music while Festivals like Beatyard and Longitude are giving more stage time to our native MCs. Although an RTE hip hop station is still a long way away, Irish hip hop will continue to go from strength to strength.

Seán Ó Muirgheasa, Dun Laoghaire native and rapper with the Róg Poets.

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