Get with the drill for summer’s best

It's been a spectacular year for new music in Ireland, and there's loads of good anthems out, says Stevie G in his Downtown column
Get with the drill for summer’s best

Alicia Raye’s amazing “Alphabet” mixtape was one of the most ambitious releases last year in Ireland.

It's been a spectacular year for new music in Ireland, and it’s just a shame that many of the big tracks won’t be able to be heard at clubs and at festivals. The music is coming thick and fast though, and there’s loads of anthems out!

First up, let’s continue our look at the drill scene here, which continues to cause a huge buzz despite largely bypassing most of the traditional music industry areas such as radio and print media. I’m lucky enough to be able to play lots of drill on my own radio show, and we have had big tunes galore in the last few months.

First up it’s Alicia Raye, who’s Nobody track is one of the tunes of the summer. Her amazing Alphabet mixtape at the end of last year, was one of the most ambitious releases in Ireland in a long time, and it features Alicia plus 40 different Irish artists. It’s almost a who’s who of the Irish underground, and on Nobody she is joined by Smilez, Larry Alabi, Reggie and DBO, on a massive ear-worm which adds Alicia’s vocals to rhymes by some of Irelands finest.

The whole mixtape, executive produced by the influential Irish music mogul Solomon Adesiyan, shows Alicia’s dexterity, and finds her effortlessly moving between the styles.

Irish women and drill doesn’t end here however, and Galway based Melanin Tee is also lighting up the streets with the mega catchy Who’s She. This is one of the tunes of the summer, and a huge track on my show. Melanin Tee has bars, and she’s another woman bringing the heat, mirroring the international wave of stars like Megan, Cardi, City Girls, Saweetie, Kash Doll and many more.

AC-130 continues to be one of Irelands most exciting drill artists, and his Cardbord Gangsters featuring CT7 and Juggrite is one of the best yet. The godfather Offica has just dropped the massive Obito while Sello’s huge street track Dublin is now getting mainstream airplay and is about to drop with an as Gaeilge version that will send it into the Irish charts.

UK drillers are regular hitting the charts both there and here and it’s gonna happen Irish acts more regularly now too. I covered the local drill scene recently but just some of the other irish acts making waves at the moment include S.83, Yung Shakur, Khass, LowGee, CK, ST plus Cork’s t23, Koji and Moje, RHXS, 3Shade, KR and Sav.

In hip-hop it’s impossible to keep up. Willhouse of Poxy records has just added a new tape to his recent classic rap track with Fynch and Sick Nanley. Cork’s Gaptoof has the amazing Polymer featuring Carrie Baxter amongst the guests (she’s just released one of the tunes of the year with her own Motown styled I wasn’t looking for you). There’s too many others to mention now but Willzee, Strange Boy, Hazey Haze, Kojaque, Uwmani, Children of Lir, Pat Lagoon, Nuxsense, Absentee, Tebi Rex, Aideen Farrelly, Pop Wallace, Neomadic, Bobby Basil are just a few of the artists bringing the goodness. It’s been an incredible year and it’s almost impossible trying to keep up!

In soul and R&B it’s a similar story and there are incredible artists emerging at the moment. Cork’s Jena Keating has just dropped two different anthems, as did Rvstless (one with Jesse J0hn Heffernan), while VJ Jaxson, Kklewis, Day-S, Rushes, Caleb Kunle, Selu, Ruby Ivy, Enda Gallery, Slaney, Bobbi Arlo, Ghostking is Dead, Jill Staxx, Blakheart, Abi Coulibaly, Nauria, Bonnie Spencer, La Gracia, X Collective, Chris Kabs, Cosha, Boss Kat, Lewwab, Moxie, Yenkee, Arthur Valentine are just a few of the artists bringing out amazing soulful based music at the moment.

Tolü Makay has surpassed herself again with the stunning Aye, and it’s one of many tracks that show the strength of the scene here in 2021. As I say, it’s just a big shame that gigs and festivals aren’t able to showcase all of these jams yet, but when we do come back Ireland will be ready,

Finally this week, I want to mention the amazing This Bit of Earth album by our very own Fish Go Deep, which is one of the albums of the year. Cork’s legendary house duo delve deep into the jazz territory which has always informed their sound, and they have created a wonderful album which effortlessly moves through the gears and tempos and brings us right into their rich musical landscape.

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