Underground hip hop in Ireland is the healthiest it’s ever been. Just looking at the line up for the country’s biggest festival solidifies that even further, with a wide range of artists being booked to perform at the much-loved Picnic.
We narrowed it down to 12 of the acts, in no order, any hip hop fan absolutely must see if they find themselves in Stradbally this weekend.
It’s no secret we’re big fans of Soft Boy Records and their main man Kojaque.
The rapper set down a marker when his video for ‘Midnight Flower‘ went viral, but he proved it wasn’t a once off when he dropped his ‘Sunday Roast’ mixtape.
Paddy O’Halpin is a staple in the Irish hip hop community for his impeccable taste in the genre. The DJ and presenter was picked up by 2XM last year, following on from his hard graft in the podcast game.
Just Eat Retreat – Saturday 16:00 – 19:00
One of the most hyped hip hop acts on the island at the moment, Hare Squead are widely touted to break into mainstream consciousness over the coming months.
Their latest track ‘If I Ask’ sees them move into dance music territory, however their live show still remains rap heavy.
Little Big Tent – Saturday 16:30 – 17:15
Bobby Basil and Chris Montana are going their separate ways, with Basil already releasing a new video recently with producer Wastefellow.
However, they’re having one last party as a duo down in Trenchtown.
Trenchtown: The Live Yard – Sunday 19:00 – 19:50
While as we mentioned above Wastefellow dips his toes in hip hop production, his usual buzz is definitely more grime-orientated.
A vocalist and a killer producer, you’re going to be seeing a lot more of this guy through collabs and solo tracks over the next few months.
Global Green: The Village Hall – Friday 21:50 – 22:20
This week Irish RnB/hip hop artist AikJ shared his track ‘Suite Life’ as a free download.
This feel good anthem is exactly what AikJ is all about, the perfect act to catch for the summer’s curtain closer. He’s also playing twice over the weekend.
Oxjam – Sunday 23:00 – 00:00
Trenchtown: The Live Yard – Saturday 17:20 – 17:40
We caught young rapper and singer Jafaris at The Bernard Shaw a few weeks back with his full band and to us it cemented his place as one of the most promising artists in the Irish hip hop community today.
It’s only a matter of time until he’s playing bigger stages and venues, so if you want to sound cool in three years head along to his show.
Trenchtown: The Live Yard – Friday 21:55 – 23:55
Hip hop group Rusangano Family have been getting a lot of exposure recently, as well as working with the likes of fellow Limerick leaders Rubberbandits.
They’re playing two huge shows this weekend at the festival, with the Other Voices one set to be slightly more chilled.
Little Big Tent – Saturday 19:00 – 19:45
Other Voices – Friday 23:00 – 00:00
Costello is widely considered as a pioneer in Irish rap. The Dubliner picked up a mic before it became so widely acceptable for an Irish person to try their hand at it.
His thick Dublin flow is instantly recognisable and you’re not a true Irish hip hop head until you see one of his shows.
Trailer Park: Mobile Home Stage – Saturday 20:45 – 21:30
It’d be impossible for this list to be complete without mentioning Alex Anyaegbunam, fka Lecs Luther, aka Rejjie Snow.
Since moving to the UK the rapper has blazed a trail for Irish hip hop, and gave many current underground artists the nerve to ‘be Irish’ in the genre.