A documentary published in 2017 called The Truth About Irish Hip Hop was showing how Irish rappers wanted a legitimate place in the music industry.

73 Irish Hip Hop students dancing on Grafton Street
Irish Hip Hop student rapping and dancing on Grafton Street (Flickr photo by ctwin33)

Hip-Hop is gradually becoming a global genre of music, but in Ireland, the industry is growing slower than in the rest of the world. Irish people have always listened to Hip-Hop, but internationally the idea of someone rapping with slang or a different English accent was hard as a concept for Hip-Hop listeners. But the popularity of Rap and RnB are growing at the international and has helped lend legitimacy to the Irish Rap scene, with now listeners looking outside of North America and gradually listening more rap with accent and slang.

Willis who is often writing about rap music in French newspapers, DJ and works with Apple Music on creating radios and playlist with Hip-Hop explains “Hip-Hop as a genre was not that mainstream in the past as in many European countries and gradually more and more Hip-Hop artists starting touring in Europe and coming in Ireland”. He adds: “Longitude is one of the biggest festivals in Ireland and last year artists such as Migos, Travis Scott or Tyler The Creator came for the event”.

Recent artists, such as Rejjie Snow, Kojaque, Hare Squead, Nuxsense or Jafaris have emerged internationally. Without really representing a distinctive “Irish Hip-Hop” sound they are all becoming famous because they do Hip-Hop with no cultural association or any attempt to provide a strong national identity. Highsnobiety was writing about emerging Irish Hip-Hop scene at the international in 2018, and was mentioning “it is not Irish hip-hop, it’s just hip-hop, and of a quality that is on an international level”.

A Google Trend research shows that the interest for Irish Rap since the beginning of 2019 has increased to 100% of popularity for the research between 17th and 25th of March.

This second Google Trend research shows that the interest by sub-region is mostly in New York and California which are two of the biggest houses of hip-hop music and where most of the albums are produced in the United-States.

Willis explains: “Quick researches on Irish Rap will show you that the scene is growing and that Irish rappers will soon export their music if it is not done yet”. He adds; “It was just a question of time before Irish rappers would internationally be known and start making featurings with American or European rappers”.

A fast emergence of the UK Rap scene has facilitated this emergence of different sort of hip-hop with different english accent, slangs and languages. Even though the Irish hip-hop scene is still emerging, some of these artists haven’t even had recognition in Ireland yet, and women are more represented in R&B than hip-hop, but they are all changing the country and international hip-hop industry.

Here is a list of 5 Irish Rappers that are showing high quality of Irish hip-hop:

Rejjie Snow

Ireland’s biggest hip-hop export who helped pave the way for future Irish rappers. Rejjoe Snow already have two albums with the last one called Dear Annie. Rejjie snow made a tour in Europe and North America in 2018 as the ambassador of Irish hip-hop. Rejjie Snow have recently collaborate with famous U.S rappers such as Joey Bada$$. Rejjie Snow started teasing his album with a series of GIFs as short videos for his songs which are just illustrations of five seconds. For instance, now D.R.U.G.S, one of the first of the series reaches 7.4M views on Youtube.

Kojaque

Kojaque talks about the daily realities of life as a mainstream man in working-class Dublin. He raps about partying and daily but also about modern masculinity and deeper topics. He recently released an album Deli Daydreams, a album concept who follows a week in the life of deli worker, breakfast and sandwich bar famous in Dublin.

Hare Squead

Soul, Trap, Hip-Hop and melodies, Hare Squead is a trio able to change and adapt their genre of hip-hop to every music. Between pop and rap, the trio is largely inspired by Kanye West and Kid Cudi and others. Their breakout hit was “Herside Story”, where Goldlink a really internationally famous rapper proposed them to make a remix with the three friends. “Herside Story” with Hare Squead ended up on the last album of Goldlink At What Cost released in 2017.

NUXSENSE

Ireland’s next generation of rappers NUXSENSE, is a group of seven rappers composed by Yung Peso, Jehnova, Luthor, AL-I, Prophet Goon, Bogzy and Sivv. All born in Ireland, they were all born outside of the country. Philippines, Nigeria, Romani, Brazil, South Africa. NUXSENSE is an international group of rappers coming from Dublin. REIGN is their last single released in 2018 available on all platforms of streaming.

Jafaris

Jafaris is also heavily influenced by both pop and hip-hop, especially with tracks such as Found My Feet and more recently Time. Jafaris’ first album Stride dropped early 2019 and features summer songs, melodies and pop and rap vibes. Nathan Barlow is the video director of Jafaris and shots Dublin from an original perspective in most of the video. The first song of the album Stride, same name as the album’s name, resemble to SABA’s vibes, the West Side Chicago’s rappers. At the same time, songs like Temple or Invisible go back to rough trap music. Finally, Jafaris shows that he is able to also rap on more chill beats such as Keeping Brothers, where he talks about keeping friends, and this fake reality of fans having the sensation to know the artists they listen to.

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