Music / June 23, 2021

First listen: Strange Boy battles the bottle in ‘Sorrow’

Photo Credit: Leah O'Sullivan
Music / June 23, 2021

First listen: Strange Boy battles the bottle in ‘Sorrow’

Words: Dylan Murphy

Ahead of his debut album Holy / Unholy, we’ve got the exclusive premiere of Strange Boy’s heart-wrenching track ‘Sorrow’.

Though still younger than most of his established peers, there’s few with a journey as impressive as Strange Boy’s. The Limerick rapper routinely finds pockets where other rappers wouldn’t dare go and strikes the fine balance between technical skill and simplicity.

Having earned his stripes frequently collaborating with the Px Music crew in the southwest, he’s developed a genuinely unique sound ahead of his debut album thanks to the help of Enda Gallery.

Fusing traditional Irish sounds with the brevity of hip hop’s heroes that came before him, Strange Boy is breaking new ground with a style that sounds so right, you’d wonder why no one had finnessed it before him.

The truth is, the young artist makes the abstract look easy and whilst trad’s at times visceral delivery and rap’s storytelling go hand in hand, the execution of such is no easy task. ‘Sorrow’ is one of the most compelling examples of this tricky marriage of approaches and ahead of Holy / Unholy which lands this Friday, we’re buzzed to have the exclusive first listen.

Additionally, we spoke to the Limerick spitter about the process of creating the track and where the inspiration for his sound came from.

Photo Credit: Leah O’Sullivan

What inspired ‘Sorrow’ and what was the process of writing it like?

I wrote ‘Sorrow‘ last year, the process of writing it was the same as most of the album because I was very depressed and just wanted to put into words how shit I felt. I didn’t want anything to do with music tbh

Were you intentionally trying to create a new sound of sorts with the album?

Yeah, me and Enda had a chat back in 2019 about trying something that wasn’t the same thing everyone else was doing, which was rapping over grime or trap beats. Nothing wrong with that either though I’ve always been a fan of them particular sounds, and have almost always rapped over them beats but it gets to a certain point where the shit I was saying was authentic but the beats I was jumping on never matched how I felt about whatever I was speaking on. So I basically started rapping in whatever style suited the beat and that gets boring after a while so yeah we said fuck it let’s see if this could work.

Was there any period of tuning your style to flow over more traditional sounds or did it come naturally?

When I first tried to rap over the trad beats Enda sent me I was definitely at a loss with how to go about it, they were all very hard to rap on cus the timing is different and there’s not as much pockets in the beat you can do shit in, so you kinda have to stick to the one speed or rhythm , other beats on the album gave me a bit more freedom to do whatever tho which was a bit more easier for me.

Did you find the creation of ‘Sorrow’ to be cathartic?

To be honest, I didn’t find it helped much if at all to write it. At the time there was a constant cloud of depression that hung over me and the last thing in the world I wanted to do was write an album, writing did probably stop me from doing something stupid tho, I still felt responsible for delivering the album and in my mind I didn’t want to be more of a let down than I already thought I was. I’m glad it’s done. Definitely not a place in my head I’d be keen to revisit 

Listen to ‘Sorrow’ below:

Previous premiere: Love is reinterpreted in shiv’s video for ‘Letting You Know’.