A beautiful sunny evening in Cork, the longest of the year, coming at the end of both Junior and Leaving Certs, and a visit from what Versatile described as “the biggest ever show by an Irish hip-hop act in this country”.
It was actually hard to argue with it. Love them or hate them (this is usually based on whether you are under or over 20), it’s been an eye-opening journey from the Dublin rap duo who were playing clubs not so long ago.
They sold out the Marquee in minutes, and after watching the crowds quickly dispatch from Post Malone to see their set at Longitude last summer, I wasn’t surprised.
Hip-hop has gone from novelty music to a commercial juggernaut in its 40 or so years and though Versatile are gimmicky at times, it was still two MC’s and a DJ just rocking out the tunes.
Extra security and a little trepidation greeted the masses, but the event ran very smoothly, and hopefully it will mean Aiken bring more hip-hop back to Cork.
This time ten years ago Kanye West played in this very venue and Snoop, Jay Z and 50 cent all visited the tent down in Blackrock around then. Versatile are hardly a name you’d hold in this time of regard, but they are young, Irish and independent, and they rap in their own accents too. Irish people no longer cringe at this thankfully.
The material is an ode to the session and wild abandon and doesn’t sound as good on my headphones as Kojaque, Jafaris, Rusangano Family or indeed, many of the other young hip-hop artists making waves in Ireland right now.
But this isn’t meant for me. Versatile know their crowd and the teenagers loved it. “Ketamine”, “Prefontaine”, “Glossary” and all the hits had them going crazy.
They may be a parent's worst nightmare, but this won’t bother most people there on Friday; least of all Versatile.