This Summer was laced with tons of great hip hop tracks coming from the emerald isle. Ranging from trap-infused heaters to silky, smooth boom bap, what stood out most was the variety of tracks on show. Coming into the final quarter of 2019 we’ve decided to rank the best singles from June to the end of September giving some leniency to include some more recent standouts.
20. Alex Gough – Step To Me
Alex Gough has had a steady rise in 2019, playing multiple festivals over the summer, showcasing his percussion skills alongside his ability as an MC. ‘Step To Me’ presents yet another funky track and one of the highlights of his recent EP ‘80%’.
19. RikShaww – Feels Like Summer
An obvious admission to list, RikShaw linked with frequent collaborator Wongy to produce a hyper-clean Summer bop. His latest project ‘Junk Food’ perhaps flew under the radar however RikShaw ensured that he hit the ground running with his latest effort, amassing over one hundred thousand streams on Spotify.
18. Ama – Headtop
The cat is out the bag, Ama is close to dropping his album ‘I Once Was’. Prior to the announcement he steadily built momentum delivering some stellar features and released a stand out single in the form of ‘Headtop’. The crooner is in his element in the latest track, effortlessly skimming over the beat with his trademark over-exaggerated vocals and melodic tendencies.
17. Auxiliary Phoenix – Tarmac Practice Feat. Leo Miyagee, Sambeau & Qboi Skew
Leo Miyagee teamed up with Sambeau and Qboi Skew over an Auxiliary Phoenix instrumental to provide a track that would sit easily in a Hudson Mohawke project. The electrifying beat and subsequently sharp lyrical content contributed to one of the more experimental pieces on the list.
16. Evans Junior – Shanghai (Remix) Feat. Ama & Dennie Valentino
Having dropped his debut album ‘Organised Mess‘ in two separate parts, the first half of the project came just before the start of the Summer. However Evans Junior recruited Ama and Dennie Valentino for the remix of track resulting in one of the standout tracks from the album gaining a new lease of life months after its initial release.
15. Hazey Haze – Windows
Gritty as ever, Limerick’s answer to Meechy Darko brought his husky bars to a smoked out track that features on ‘The Drug EP’. Hazey has been consistent as ever in 2019 and this is one of the best efforts in a year where PX Music have rapidly grown.
14. BoyW1DR – TTMN
‘TTMN’ is the result of a a collaboration that makes total sense. BoyW1DR hopped on a mesmeric beat from LHK with a lackadaisical flow to top off his brilliant debut EP ‘The Irish Wonder Boy’.
13. Pat Lagoon – Let Loose Feat. Evan Miles
Marking a deliberate deviation from his more familiar sound. Waterford’s Pat Lagoon recruited Evan Miles to bring a head nodding effort that provides more of a bounce than we are perhaps accustomed to with the MC. A welcomed surprise, ‘Let Loose’ sees Pat stretch the range of his discography with a dance infused number.
12. Rebel Phoenix & Marcus Woods – Sungazing
The lead single for one of the Irish hip hop projects of the year set the tone for a tape full of back to back bangers. The seemingly unlikely duo of Rebel P and Marcus Woods crossed the generational gap to create what can only be described as a sonic whirlwind of a track.
11. NUXSENSE – PRT-LUV
It’s hard to keep up with how many members contribute to the plethora of effortless bars sprinkled throughout NUXSENSE‘s discography. Their latest effort ‘PRT-LUV‘ feels very reminiscent of a Beast-Coast cypher; The boys dip in and out of a sparkling instrumental to showcase the diversity of flows, cadence and bars within the group. A nod to some of the east coast boom bap that at one point characterised the genre, ‘PRT-LUV’ is a timeless smoker’s anthem.
10. C.O.B – Right and Wrong Feat. Nxbxdy
Arguably one of the country’s underrated spitters, BaseLife’s C.O.B linked up with Nxbxdy for a truly haunting effort this year. Featuring a filthy beat switch and some aggressive lyricism the boys knocked this one out of the park.
9. Nealo – Angel On My Shoulder
Diffusion Lab’s most recent recruit Nealo hopped on a track with absolutely glistening production to provide what is arguably his strongest effort yet. An ode to the city that made him, the heart felt effort landed at the end of the Summer providing a perfect closer to the warmer months.
8. RÓGAN x ØMEGA – Different with it
Pairing their own distinct deliveries over a thumping metallic instrumental, RÓGAN and ØMEGA came out the blocks flying with their first effort as a duo. Designed to be bumped in the whip, the track’s aggressive energy and thunderous bass provides an idea of what may come from future collaborative cuts.
7. Kojaque & Luka Palm – SPIT DAT OUT
“Pay me what ya owe me before I snatch ya from your covers.”
The antithesis of much of the introspective content that stood out on ‘Deli Daydreams’, ‘SPIT DAT OUT’ represents a no-nonsense approach that is present throughout much of the rest of ‘Green Diesel’. The siren fuelled instrumental benefits from thumping drums and zany synths. If you are looking for a track to walk into the ring to here’s a solid pick.
6. RTL.Bluuwoods – Settles
One of the more low key releases of the Summer, however that is no reflection on the quality of the track. RTL.Bluuwoods provides a gritty number with haunting, warped vocals and pitched adlibs that result in a unique and spooky cut.
5. 7th Obi – Alone
7th Obi and LHK demonstrated their prowess as a pairing with the release of ‘Taxi Club‘ in 2018. Capable of creating sonic landscapes bubbling with catchy hooks and sharp delivery, they followed much of the same formula that has served them so well when creating 2019’s ‘Alone’. The track features scintillating vocals and provides one of Obi’s most emotive efforts yet.
4. Nonzus Magnus – Fight Club
Never shy to wear his influences on his sleeve, Nonzus is difficult to pin down to any specific genre but that’s what makes his output so engaging. ‘Fight Club’ is the product of one of Ireland’s most adventurous artists, it’s raw, cutting edge and anything but the norm.
3. Rebel Phoenix & Marcus Woods – Heatwaves Feat. Mango
An emphatic statement of intent from Rebel and Marcus, ‘Heatwaves’ features Dublin’s Mango and leaves no breathing space in just over three minutes of relentless energy and thumping production.
2. Kojaque & Luka Palm – Airbnb
One of many tracks laced with Soft Boy‘s most energetic duo’s snappy bars, the globetrotting ‘Airbnb’ demonstrates their trademark chemistry in abundance. Featuring fantastic production from Kean Kavanagh, the track is the latest in a string of tracks designed to go off at any given show in their busy calendar.
1. Hare Squead – Petty
Hare Squead don’t miss. Despite perhaps losing a bit of their early momentum, the duo returned in January with ‘100 Miles’ and in August they dropped a genuine Summer anthem in the form of ‘Petty’. The upbeat instrumentation and afro beat influence consequently produced a more pop-leaning sound but we aren’t complaining as it provides the perfect accompaniment to any long Summer road trips.
Photo Credits: Dublin Fx