Back in the day, Cork used to regularly get the big rap names and Kanye West, 50 Cent, Jay Z, lupe Fiasco, Kid Cudi, Public Enemy, Snoop Dogg, De La Soul and many more visited here at various stages. Indeed the Wu Tang Clan played a big sold out show in the Savoy, but the loss of the iconic Patrick Street venue in particular has been a big blow to the hopes of getting bigger names here.
Their track record with hip-hop was formidable through their various different eras, but now, Cork doesn’t have a venue that size that can run shows regularly.
The expanded Cyprus Avenue is a lot more capable of hosting these shows now, and their increased capacity and state of the art sound and lighting mean they have really come into play in 2019 regarding booking bigger acts.
They were always booking lots of gigs, but the bigger version of the venue is a lot more suitable for large shows and they also have impressive dressing rooms upstairs now, another factor which is important for agents and acts touring Europe.
The Gza, aka the Genius, is the oldest member of the Wu Tang Clan and one of the most respected. He has been active as both a solo artist and member of the group since day one, and, indeed, even before he joined Wu he had already released a solo album, produced mainly by the legendary Easy Mo Bee, which wasn’t well promoted and failed to sell. After joining the Wu Tang and appearing on their classic debut (Enter the Wu Tang) Gza consolidated his reputation with appearances on Raekwon and ODB’s legendary debuts.
It was his own solo album, Liquid Swords, which really made the world sit up and take notice, and this 1995 record remains one of the greatest Wu tang albums of all time.
Between now and then Gza has continued to record and tour both with and without the Wu Tang Clan. He remains an incredible live performer and one of hip-hops most respected wordsmiths.
This gig is very close to selling out so it should be a wonderful celebration of hip-hop in Cyprus Avenue.
Afterwards, myself and Jus Me (of the Hobo Convention/Cutting Heads Collective) will be doing a Jam special until late, playing mainly hip-hop classics new and old. Wu Tang themselves are also on the way, joining Public Enemy and De La Soul plus DJ Premier for a stacked line of hip-hop legends coming to the 3Arena soon.
In Dublin, they are spoiled for choice, with recent appearances by Anderson Paak, The Internet and Drake being quickly followed by many more shows, including Illa J and Gza this weekend. Longitude is the festival of choice for hip-hop fans this summer, with A$AP Rocky, Chance, Future, Brockhampton, Denzel Curry, Lil Uzi Vert, Rae Sremmurd, Cardi B and many more on a heavily stacked bill, but some of the other festivals will have a hip-hop flavour too.
In Cork, Versatile are doing a sold out show at the Marquee while Kojaque and The Herbaliser are some of the big names playing It Takes a Village festival in Trabolgan in May.
Cyprus Avenue have just had a big Maverick Sabre show last week and they have many more big names coming too, while Musgrave Park plays host to one of the greatest legends of hip-hop and soul, Lauryn Hill, this June.
Hopefully there will be a few more shows that I can bring news of in the coming weeks.
Finally, it’s another sad week for hip-hop after yet another relatively young rapper, Nipsey Hussle, was shot dead in LA last Sunday.
One of the West coast’s most respected artists was gunned down outside his own store and died shortly afterwards.
It’s yet another tragic loss and yet another pointless killing, from an artist who’s debut album proper received a Grammy nomination this year.
He joins a long list of rappers who were murdered at a pretty young age, and it’s sad to think of what could have happened had the likes of Biggie, Tupac, Big L, Proof, Charizma, Freaky Tah and many more, lived longer. Nipsey was a very respected community activist too and he will be sadly missed.