Words: Dylan Murphy
Photo: Machine Operated
Words: Dylan Murphy
Photo: Machine Operated
Ahead of the imminent release of Baw Baw Black Sheep, we charted ten essential tracks from Dublin artist Rejjie Snow. From chart-topping rap debuts to groove-indebted cuts, he’s an act that’s constantly evolving his approach and effortlessly ducking categorization.
As things stand, music is as close as we will get to a time machine and to this day Rejjie Snow‘s Rejovich EP remains an essential teleportation device. Made up of five smokey cuts, it’s a hip hop tardis capable of bringing you back to the days where Tumblr ruled the roost and the internet first intersected with hip hop’s DIY culture.
Hitting the top of the Itunes hip hop charts and sharing the same self-starter approach to contemporaries like Odd Future, Rejjie rose to prominence on a wave of inspiration enacted by young artists emboldened by the newfound freedom of social media.
Since then, he’s gone on to collaborate with a slew of different artists and producers and transcended the underground rap status that pushed him to the top of Twitter feeds and later resulted in him signing to 300 Entertainment.
Additionally, Snow’s ability to extend his work beyond the confines of streaming services into immersive worlds built on vibrant jazz sounds and luminescent colours is a testament to his growth as an artist. With the imminent release of Baw Baw Black Sheep we’ve examined his catalogue and highlighted ten essential tracks, in no particular order, to make sure you are clued in.
‘Egyptian Luvr’ feels like the Drumcondra artist at the height of his powers. When he loaded up his character in the Snow universe and invited Kaytranada on his quest they maxed out their groove stats before Aminé’s lyrical wizardry hit all the pockets on a track that you can’t help but sway to.
Amongst some of the last features released from the late and great MF DOOM, ‘Cookie Chips’ is a master meets apprentice moment.
For Snow, who has a tattoo of the villain on his leg, it feels as though he had prepared for this moment all his life. A walking contradiction, DOOM’s tongue-twisting verse at once feels like a palette cleanser to the dreamy backdrop but fits like a glove in the weird and wonderful world where hip hop’s renegades run free.
Another result of their beautiful transatlantic relationship, Snow and Kaytranada wrestle with racism and love on a track that hits the sweet spot between sound and substance.
The footprints of a misfit that laid the blueprint for an album that was a lifetime in the making can be found in Rejjie’s ‘BLACK PANCAKES’. The lofi, lullaby-tinged cut nods to feeling like a “black sheep” almost nine years before the release of Baw Baw Black Sheep and for many was an introduction into the rapper’s smokey slow drawl that is so recognisable.
A classic of the majestic casual era, the lovesick words of a pre-fame Loyle Carner cut through the plume of smoke spewed across ‘1992’ like a hot knife through butter. Coupled with the nostalgic and laidback approach from a kid from Drumcondra that was brought up on a diet of Dr. Dre, it’s a nostalgic coming-of-age track that could equally soundtrack a smoke session.
The standout piece on Rejjie’s Rejovich, it was both a statement of intent and introduction for many to two of the most important european rappers of the past ten years.
It goes without saying, that Rejjie connected with fans of the devil’s lettuce in a very real way with his early releases and ‘meddling loops’ quickly cemented its spot in lofi Soundcloud circles as an essential part of their rolling routine.
Making use of a Quincy Jones sample and spinning more rhymes in less than three minutes than you care to count, the trance-inducing qualities of the cut accentuate Snow’s technical prowess.
An essential days before Rejjie cut, ‘Dia Dhuit’ was a showcase of a young Irish rapper finding his feet. Raw and energetic, the bars on display were followed by news of a forthcoming EP named Fish and Chips that never ended up landing on the shelf. Before long though the rapper penning rhymes about Flanders would return with a fire in his belly and a new alias – Rejjie Snow.
Rejjie’s The Moon & You acted both as a body of work to tide over insatiable fans until his debut album and signposted the jazz-psychedelia sound he was hurtling towards.
The project’s standout track, ‘PURPLE TUESDAY‘ features a cooing instrumental that could massage even the most jaded nervous system. Meanwhile, the blockbuster feature from young Beast Coast don Joey Bada$$ added the cherry on top of his catchiest cut.
Snow featuring… Snoh?
An inspired collaboration, ‘Mirrors’ hits the sweet spot at every time of asking. From Rejjie’s buttery smooth opening verse to Snoh Aalegra soulful hook, the track is Snow channelling the collaborative spirit of the Soulquarian era into his own universe.
The trance-inducing piano loop, the warped vocals, the way it’s all drip-fed in an intoxicating, bittersweet tone. Just sublime.