Jack Daniel’s and District share an authentic love for music culture and as Ireland’s palette continues to expand and evolve, we’ve come together to explore some of the artists who are spearheading Irish music behind the beats.
The days of Irish and hip hop not belonging in the same sentence are well over. A new generation of Irish musicians are dropping tracks which are blowing us away. At the basis of this burgeoning Irish hip-hop scene, are some of the country’s most talented producers. Subverting expectations, diving into the abstract and creating something truly unique seems to go hand in hand with the Irish producers making truly special tracks.
Maybe the single most underrated figure in Irish hip hop today. Conall has seen immense success recently, the likes that come around to Ireland rarely. Over the past couple of years, he has garnered production credits on the number-one album for the film Judas and The Black Messiah as well as countless other credits including working with Big Sean, Hit-Boy, Ronny J and Timbaland. There’s a case to be made that Conall is one of the most successful Irish hip hop producers, in terms of mainstream numbers. At only 19 years old, the trajectory of this young producer is startling.
All roads lead to Rory Sweeney. The prolific Irish producer has been a backbone for post-pandemic Irish hip hop. What makes his sound so appealing is that it is almost undefinable. Taking elements of dubstep, bassline, latin music, grime and a litany of other genres, his sometimes chaotic productions is addictive. His collaborations with Belfast rapper Emby is a highlight of his discography as well as the diverse two-part project Trash Catalogue. The 2022 single ‘Men on a Mission’ was one of the Irish songs of the year, even seeing Kojaque hopping on the beat for the remix.
One of the more varied producers on this list. D*mp has production credits spanning multiple genres. From the cathartic ambient symphony of Cement or Midnight Sun to the hip hop centric EP OF SORTS in collaboration with Curtisy. The Loose Tooth resident transitions seamlessly between different levels of energy in his work, epitomised in his project dumping ground vol.1. His most recent drop ‘IM DONE’ once again alongside Curtisy shows his signature style of sample chopping shine through.
Oscar18 is an anomaly not only amongst the Irish community but also amongst the wider music world. As part of the group Haunted Mound and with his frequent collaboration with Irish artist and fellow group member Buckshot, they have managed to craft an international online cult following. Oscar’s divisive production style takes inspiration from Chicago drill artists such as Chief Keef as well as preceding online cult figures such as Yung Lean and Black Kray. There truly is nobody doing what Oscar and his peers are doing, utilising heavy distortion, haunting undertones and explosive basslines to creating a polarising aesthetic. It may not be for everyone, but those who enjoy the Haunted Mound style are some of the most die-hard fans in hip hop right now. Haunted Mound have just come off a US and European tour as well as a festival appearance in Australia, so like it or not, this probably isn’t the last you’ll hear of them.
hikii has some of the most impressive sample selection in the country. His latest collaboration project Irish Gold with Grahamo is one of the smoothest recrods dropped this year. Add on the duos work with Curtisy on ‘Back and Forth’ and you have hikii a serious contender for out favourite producer of 2023 so far. One of the rare hip hop purists still chopping up raw samples, he’s definitely one to keep an eye out for.
svhymns is a true gem hidden in Meath. The 18-year-old Irish producer, rapper and vocalist has been prolific in the past year with his debut project blossom along with six other singles. They Include soundscapes that wouldn’t look out of place on a track by Oneohtrix Point Never or Squarepusher. His music has the goal of giving the listener the feeling of tuning into “outer world radio station”. With each track he builds on this station with the help from fellow collaborators such as yeire13. Glitchy post dubstep, coming out of rural Ireland, what’s more to want? Highlights of his discography include ‘WITNESS’, his collaboration with producer Rory Sweeney to create a garagey bassline with dreamy reverb and instrumentals.
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