Cork’s finest DJ, radio presenter with Red FM and producer Stevie G is known and respected for his long-time championing of Ireland’s upcoming acts in the genres of hip-hop, R&B, dance, soul, pop and more recently, drill and Afrobeats.
As one of the curators of this year’s Hennessy Hip-Hop House at Body&Soul Festival, Stevie G is a man at the coalface of Irish music, and we asked him to share his top 10 favourite Irish hip-hop and adjacent tracks and he didn’t disappoint.
I’m really looking forward to seeing Sweetlemondae perform at the Hennessy Hip-Hop House at Body & Soul Festival. Myself and Arveene helped programme this line-up and she was one of the first names on my list. Like lots of Ireland’s best rappers, she can move effortlessly between rapping and singing and her lyrics are great too. She has it all. Been rinsing her music on RedFM for the last year she’s another big success story from the Diffusion Lab label.
Laugh Now, Crease Later
Another amazing lyricist and charismatic star, TraviS landed a huge hit earlier this year when himself and Elzzz went head to head with the likes of Taylor Swift and co with their Full Circle mixtape at the top of the )rish charts. This is a drill banger that has jersey elements and a beat flip at the end, but it’s all about those bars! Killer jam.
ducks ina row
One of Ireland’s most exciting prospects, Bricknasty have been creating a big buzz now here for ages. I’ve heard some of the new EP Ina Crueler already and it’s a colourful homage to Fatboy’s experiences growing up in Ballymun. Hard to pin down musically, which is a good thing, this Dublin group are going places fast and this laidback groover is a taste of what’s to come! Check out ‘Fashion’ too!
Only discovered this young artist recently, thanks to my friend Christiana Underwood. Sopë is amazing and it’s a beautiful and empowering song that reminds me of the neo-soul heyday of Erykah Badu, Jazzyfatnastees, Les Nubians et al. She can rap and she can sing, check out the video too she’s got a super aesthetic going on i’m excited to hear more.
Lot’s of my favourite Irish rappers are great singers too. Many also happen to be women. Alicia Raye has an incredible back catalogue already and she released a towering mixtape during lockdown that moved smoothly through r&b, drill, rap, afrobeats and more. A wonderful performer, she is one of Irelands best prospects. This is more of a slow burning r&b vibe but if it’s rap you want she can slay that genre too with ease!
Evil Genius with JyellowL
F**k” Em All
Always prolific and always killing every verse, It’s been a pleasure watching JYellowl grow over the years. He always had the charisma and the energy and the bars, but his music and performances have improved year on year and on this collab with Evil Genius he throws it down at an unrelenting pace once more. Catch him at the Hennessy Hip-Hop House at Body and Soul!
I don’t want to keep repeating myself but another of Ireland’s best acts and another great rapper and singer. “Patience” shows an even more chilled side to an already very chilled artist, and it’s more downtempo than some of the breezy rap jams which helped establish her here. Aby is already a big star and i’m enjoying watching her musical journey stretch out. The lyricism is always great too and I’m buzzing for the Hennessy Body & Soul show!
Stress Out my Mind/Never Leave Me
I’ve gotta represent Cork a little bit! Salamay is a nomadic figure really but we are very proud to have been part of his journey. Quite simply one of the best lyricists and rappers in the game, these two jams showcase the fruitful musical relationship he has been building with the excellent Major Keys. Follow this guy on all platforms he’s one of our most thoughtful and original artists. Superb.
This is beautiful. Another Dublin artist who has been quietly bubbling under the radar with some great singles, ‘Homecoming’ is an anthem that sums up the experiences of many youngsters in Ireland today. I love this guy. This has crossover potential if backed by the right people, and it would be a pop hit in a better world too.
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Irish Angolan rapper is about to drop his “CouncilEstateDreams” and he has one of my favourite voices in Irish hip-hop. The contrast between Smilez and Laylow works really well here and the EP could do big things for the youngster. Check it out!