Stevie G: Farewell Peter the kid, you will be sadly missed

Young DJ and rapper Peter Kelly made a big impression on the music scene in Cork, says Stevie G in his Downtown column
Stevie G: Farewell Peter the kid, you will be sadly missed

With a baby face and lovely smile, ‘Peter the kid’ was a well-known and popular figure in the Cork music scene for decades.

Peter the kid made a big impression on the music scene in Cork. The young DJ and rapper, who sadly died this week, was a popular figure who burst onto the scene as a teenager back in the day, and his love of music was always evident.

Peter immersed himself in the music scene while still at school, and he was soon working in record shops (Synthetic on Washington St) and rapping and DJing all over Cork City in bars, clubs, and on radio.

He was a terrific rapper and lyricist who appeared regularly at nearly every Cork hip-hop event. He used to rock the mic at Elementary in The Agora every Tuesday, and he was also a regular at our Jam events.

His ‘Freeze Clown’ track is one of the few digital imprints left today, and it finds him in rare form over a beat by Corks Teknique. Like many other Cork rappers, his best rhymes lay unrecorded, but this really is a classic and it still sounds great.

Peter was already heavily involved in the music scene by the time 8 Mile came out in late 2002, and over the next few months every youngster in Cork wanted to be a rapper.

They were amazing days and Peter was part of a great era for young Cork rappers, including An Buachaill Dana, B-Wonder, The Dutch Gold Kid, Aosdana, GMC, Mickey Gatch, Nash, and many more.

Lots of the best stuff may have been left behind at freestyle battles and after parties, but at least we have ‘Freeze Clown’, and Pete himself went on to produce lots of good music on his own too.

One of my last interactions with Peter was after his recent reworking of a track I produced with Ian Ring as aboveDat. Pete gave it more of a garage twist, totally in keeping with the sound he always helped push in Cork, even in years when other styles of house music were much more fashionable. His knowledge of music was immense, and he knew his records.

More importantly than all of this, Peter was a great guy, and we all loved him. As we turned to social media to make sense of it all, the tributes were many.

Viv Downey remembers his first night in Sir Henry’s and his “big smile”, while Cork producer and musician Graham Finn recalled his time working in The Classic bar, describing Pete as a “bundle of beautiful energy”. Wexford rapper Rob Kelly was among many of those from outside of Cork to acknowledge his impact, while house legends Fish Go Deep described him as “a lovely soul. We will miss his energy”.

Lisa Jordan echoed the thoughts of us all, describing Pete as “such a lovely guy”, while Alan Gordan was among many who called Pete “one of a kind”.

Ann Marie O’Donovan recalled his impact at the early MC battles, saying: “He was full of confidence and a breath of fresh air ... plus he was always kind and funny”.

David Keohane called Pete “one of Cork’s greatest characters, a super talented guy who always made time for everyone”. These are a tiny fraction of the good words said about Peter.

We live in different times now and the club scene has changed. Pirate radio isn’t the same either, though Peter did some great shows on digital station Unknown FM right up to very recently. Record shops still exist, but you don’t need records to be a DJ, and there are fewer venues and underground nights on overall.

Peter loved hip-hop, house, garage and many other styles, and he always had superb taste. I still call him Peter the kid because he will always remain one of the young guys to me, with a baby face and lovely smile that would always greet you from both sides of the decks on a night out.

At Peter’s removal the other evening, his wonderful parents, Tom and Jane, who always supported him and his love of music, were talking to some of the lads about his great passion (alongside Celtic FC). They knew he loved music, but wanted to know “was he actually any good?”. The answer was a resounding “yes”. Peter was more than just good, he was brilliant, and they should be very proud of his impact on the music scene here in Cork.

He will be greatly missed.

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