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Looking at the quality of artists at the moment, it seems hip-hop is thriving in the Capital. In this three part series we focus on a stalwart in the game, Costello, one for the future, Mythill Grim, and the much-hyped Kojaque about just how healthy they think the scene is.

First up Hannah O’Connell speaks with Kojaque aka Kevin Smith.

Kojaque is a Dublin based hip-hop producer and self-confessed beats connoisseur.

He rose to the attention of the media in May 2015 following the release of a controversial music video for his song Midnight Flower. The video sees Smith hold his breath while rapping under water for just under three minutes.

Reddit users quickly picked up on the video and began sharing it. Shortly after, the more mainstream Irish media sites were writing about it and Midnight Flower went viral.

It now has just over 270,000 views on YouTube.

Describe your sound in three words.

Jinty Boy Blues.

When did you begin making music as Kojaque?

I used to try and record hip-hop beats on a four track recorder and an old Casio Keyboard I had when I was 16, the results of which will remain locked in my attic forever. So since then I suppose.

Where does the name come from?

The name originates from a French Rap Collective I set up in 2013 called the Brench Faguettes. I think I was the only one who took it seriously, although I know “Bon Marshay, the Well Priced MC” is still in operation somewhere in the back alleys of Paris.

Where did you get the idea for your Midnight Flower music video?

I was holding a tadpole over a mug of water, and I was thinking about how he was drowning in the air, and I wanted to know what that would feel like to be a tadpole sized human held over a mug of air.

I guess I just wanted to be a tadpole.

How did you prepare to hold your breath under water for 2.40 minutes?

I just sucked all the air out of the Salmon of Knowledge.

What is your opinion on the Dublin hip hop scene?

Although I think there’s definitely an untapped resource of good hip hop within Dublin, at the moment not enough people have the interest to give it the platform it deserves. But I just do my own thing I guess.

Have you got an artist(s) that you admire?

MF DOOM, Biggie, J Dilla, Kendrick, Quasimodo, RZA, De La Soul, this list could go for days.

Following on from the popularity of Midnight Flower, what is the next step for Kojaque?

There’s a mixtape in the works so all my efforts are in that for the moment, I’m gonna sell it in tape form to hipsters with dodgy facial hair!

Photos: Daire Legaspi

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