Five up-and-coming Irish hip-hop acts to look out for

Conor Farrelly

Say hello to some of the biggest up and coming Irish hip-hop acts at the moment, with all of their music readily available across Spotify for you to enjoy. 

Noremac is an up-and-coming rapper who displays his catchy hooks, assured flow, and well-thought-out word-play in his music.

He carefully constructs a dark and unnerving atmosphere in his songs off the back of these attributes, especially his emphatic rhythm on his songs. He released “C.R.EP”, a four song EP in the summer of 2019, with the single “Brahma” showcasing his aggressive attitude and a real sense of determination to make successful music.

His confident nature is relayed clearly, boasting that he is Rick in comparison to all the Morty’s, a reference to the popular Adult TV show “Rick and Morty”. His potential and intent are visible to the most casual of listeners, with similarities to Mango in the way every syllable is dripping with conviction and aggression.

It will be interesting to see what a Noremac project, such as an album, would look like, especially in how he would mesh his sound with other artists in a collaboration.

Active is an eighteen-year-old rapper/producer hailing from Monaghan. He has already impressed many with his releases thus far, notably with “I Never Die” and “Cry For Me”.

His mind-boggling versatility can be seen between these two records, with the latter a J. Cole inspired flow, lyrics, and beat, in comparison to the hard-hitting, staccato, and aggressive “I Never Die”. His body of work for someone so young is ridiculous, as is his maturity, such as when discussing topics such as mental health.

Active is primed to take a front-seat in Irish Hip-Hop in the foreseeable future, as he appears to be knowledgeable about what audiences want to hear, whilst being skilled enough to balance this with significant lyric content.

Outsider YP had an impressive 2019, from playing at Electric Picnic to featuring on Craic Boi Mental’s 50 best rappers in Ireland list.

Having already played at Cork’s Quarter Block Party in February, there’s a belief that 2020 will be even better for the rapper. His release Sadboy Ultra came in 2018, featuring atmospheric, melodic rap, and his single “Disco” from this year continued in this strain, whilst advancing and improving on it to the point that it was one of the best releases by an Irish Hip-Hop act last year.

Comparisons to a BROCKHAMPTON style of music is justified, especially when combined with the harder-hitting song “Stampede”. Similar to the world’s best boy band, he can switch up styles at the drop of a hat, adapting to whatever beat is put in front of him.

Releasing your debut single with a feature from Evans Junior, an established rapper in the scene, is not something most musicians in Irish Hip-Hop can boast about, but Nina-Jae is not like most artists coming through at the moment.

“Ya Phone”, the single in question, is equal parts catchy and heart wrenching, flowing nicely back and forth between Evans and Jae on the topic of an estranged relationship.

Her uniqueness is visible in the patience she possesses, with very little music on her official channels, perhaps waiting to release a project in full rather than numerous singles to drum up hype. Having said that, she recently dropped visuals for “Filas”, a song that could easily be heard in a club-setting, due to its danceable rhythm and overall glamour, with lyrics that contain showcase self-love and the celebration of the beauty that comes with confidence.

Nina Jae is trying to tap into a popular style of music, similar to the likes of Kaé, and to a lesser extent, Soulé, but her talent on the two singles mentioned has the potential to shine through.

7th Obi is an artist that many should be familiar with already. With several releases featuring on Spotify playlists, everything the artist touched in 2019 turned to gold.

The Waterford rapper released a project called “Taxi Club in 2018, but he has come on leaps and bounds since then. Singles from 2019 like “Alone and “Burner don’t sound like the work of an Irish act, relying on a melancholic sound more popular abroad, however, these differences should be celebrated as they result in a powerful and catchy blend of hip-hop.

Confidently switching between singing and rapping, 7th Obi crafts a sound that hasn’t been created with as much success as he has done so far on these shores. When a rapper compares Thanos’s gauntlet from “Avengers: Endgame” to the watch on their wrist, that should be a huge warning klaxon to the public that they are one to keep tabs on for the future, with 7th Obi doing just that on “Burner.

Another long-form project should be on the cards in 2020, as 7th Obi’s popularity should see him booked all around the country this upcoming summer, as well as having time to give his fans new music that they desperately want.

Conor Farrelly

Image Credit: Spotify