Updated: Jul 9, 2019
Not a shot at Dublin (or is it?). Irish hip hop has never been in such great health and it has to thank for that it's varying styles, collectives and a recent self awareness of where it stands as a country in the wider cauldron of the hip hop world. Dublin rappers through their array of talents and work ethics have a thriving scene right now. Rappers like Kojaque, Rejjie snow, Mango, Nealo and the irritable twosome but arguably most popular of the lot Versatile are all household names in Irish hip hop.
With festival season upon us aside from Kneecap who are huge right now it would take you till mid July at Knockanstockan to fathom any notion as to what the rest of Irish hip hop looks like. Here today me (Maurice Anthony) (definitely not Craic Boi Mental) will give you a look at 20 rap game trailblazers outside of Dublin. This list is in no particular order I've focused on those currently active and if I left a few people out then call me mean names on facebook and expose me for never going to journalism school.
1. Craic Boi Mental
Described as "Ireland’s most metamodern musician" by limerick band Bleeding Heart Pigeons, how could you make a list like this with out the $quick messiah Craic boi (Cork). Still only in his early 20s he's a six year veteran now who has been viewed over 15 million times on YouTube. This year he has continued to build on his strong cult following performing two headline shows to packed out crowds in dublin. He also pioneered the $quick movement and will be performing at knockastockan along with his partner in crime whip Girl.
His mixtape "Cork City Anthems" was highly regarded by such Irish music maestros as Mango & The Rubberbandits https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zcCYOhPeJ68
The hard working, multi talented duo made up of brothers Charles and Andrew Hendy Tpm(Dundalk) are constantly on the road doing gigs. They only just dropped a folk ep "A Mouthful of The Mary Wallopers" last week. https://marywallopers.bandcamp.com/
As rappers that use comedic elements through out their music they are extremely capable lyricists with a good head for a catchy hook which is apparent on their song "Fuck Rte" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPGbNBgS3B0
3 Strange Boy
The stand out young lyricist in the country, Strange Boy (Limerick) is a young gent who spits with a maturity above and beyond his years. He was a big part of the somewhere in Ireland series made by cork vid genius Brownsauce and just recently spit a world class verse on Berlin based Irish singer Delush new track "It's Alright" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0RCKmjDPPw
The most obvious inclusion on this list aside from Craic boi obviously, Kneecap (Belfast) are growing from strength to strength. They're having a heavy handy in the revival of the irish language and I say good on em. A household name in Irish music now they've had a huge rise to acclaim over the last 18 months and it looks like they're here to stay, buíochas le dia.
5. God Knows
A man who's already reached legendary status within Irish hip hop, God Knows is well known for being apart of the pivotal limerick hip hop group "Rusangano Family". He is still killing it on the Sim Simma Soundsystem record label and dropped a fantastic track earlier this year called "crown" which you can find in the spotify link above.
6. Gavin DaVinci
Tipperary's finest rapper Gavin Davinci has been making abstract hip hop for a while now. He is also an extraordinary producer who has a mighty stage presence so it is no surprise that he has been picked up by Knockanstockan to perform at their festival this year. A very versatile artist, like Craic boi mental he also collaborated with punk legend post punk podge a few months back https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJcuwzxK5yE
7. Denise Chaila
One of only two women on this list Denise Chalia (Limerick) is a breath of fresh air in Irish hip hop and has come through with two of the most creative songs in the country in "Cooper Bullet" and "Duel Citizenship". She is also apart of Sim Simma Soundsystem label where she released her groundbreaking single "Man Like Me" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTbk3NpDA2M
8. Pat Lagoon
A top rapper from waterford with an acute ear for beats and catchy hooks, Lagoon is making big moves this year and with a polished sound and fluent cadence it's hard to see him being stopped. He's got hits such as "gameboy" and "shinning" already to his name and recently he dropped a well produced music video for his new single Nova https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8f5SugTCp4
The first Galway entrant on the list CelaviedMai has been rocking crowds for years and is probably the most recognized women rapper in the country. She has also a great talent for making catchy hits which you can hear by clicking the spotify link above .
Another from the vibrant Limerick scene Citrus Fresh is an animated performer who can rap his arse off. He dropped his critically acclaimed ep on bandcamp earlier this year " Early Days/ Late Nights". Definitely one to watch out for over the coming months.
11. Max Zanga
One half of Pop rap duo Tebi Rex, don't let the cheerful piano beats and radio friendly melodies fool you Max Zanga will lyrically destroy you. The clever wordsmith hails from kildare and has been laying down his mark for a bit now. You can catch him at Knockanstockan this July.
12. Hazey Haze
One of the most well known rappers coming out of the aforementioned Limerick rap game, Hazey Haze been killing it for years now. This year he garnered attention after collaborating on numerous music videos with Browwnsauce including "What's that" which has amassed 20k + views on youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUGEoJl8xeE
Another legend from the "Rusangano Family" Murli is a well decorated rapper who finds a healthy balance between his quick flows and streams of consciousness. His "Surface Tension" project is a classic
14. Akward Z
Another Waterford creative, Akward Z is one of the most capable lyricists in Ireland. On his song "Diamonds" he also comes through with a very strong hook. A man who's spotify streams continue to rise, check out his music by clicking the link above
The final inclusion from the limerick rap scene on this list, Aswell came through with one of the more wavier tracks on the somewhere in Ireland series. His laid back flow and intricate lyricism makes him a formidable force in the Irish rap game. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGnVXJfLw48
16. Outsider Yp
Would you believe only the second Cork based rapper on this list. A very underrated artist who's song writing and performance level could match just about anyone in the country. Himself and his crew Outsiders Ent have been going hard for a few years now. Here is his latest bop he dropped with fellow outsider kestine https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxav4eFr0AI
17. Danny Diatribe
The Derry native is a household name in the north. A man who preferable raps over hard hitting boom bap beats he has the flow and lyricism to pull it off authentically. One of his most popular songs is Paddy Cure which he dropped a few years back https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgpT5lh6PqQ
18. Evans Junior
With over 150k listeners per month longfords Evans Junior is one of the most popular rappers on this list. His profile continues to grow following the release of his album "Organised Mess" with many in Irish music suggesting it to be the best Irish album of the year
19. Whitey Poisxn
A less know rapper from waterford whitey Poisxn is definitely one for the future. The peep and bones influenced rapper has created his own style and has an ep dropping very shortly with production from Kilkenny $quickstar Fomorian Vein
20. Podge Dwyer
A battle legend who killed his set at the first $quickfest. He's been gaining respect all around Ireland for years one such admirer is Irish footballing legend Paul McGrath
If you disagree with the list you can always just get off your ass and make your own #$quick