Stevie G: Big promise of a hip-hop summer

So much to look forward to in Cork, and in Ireland, says Stevie G in his Downtown column
Stevie G: Big promise of a hip-hop summer

UK artist Dave recently played a packed show at the 3Arena, setting the tone for an Irish summer filled with music.

The hip-hop world is bracing itself for some big live shows this year, and in Ireland we’ve already had some massive gigs in 2022.

Added to that, one of the genres all time greats, Kendrick Lamar, has just announced he is going to release his new album next month, so it seems that for the moment, things are finally looking up! The pandemic has negatively impacted all genres of music, none more so than hip-hop, and it’s great to see the music live on stage again too.

In Dublin, there’s been some massive shows lately. Dave and Stormzy have both performed to huge crowds at the 3Arena, and both UK acts delivered amazing shows.

The UK’s grime and drill scenes have made a huge impact in Ireland over the last 10 or 15 years and these shows were the culmination of a massive growth in these genres here and elsewhere.

Our own top drillers are making moves too, and Offica performed at the same venue with Versatile the other night. A92 and Offica drew a big crowd to Cyprus Avenue in February. Versatile themselves remain popular, though they are not my thing, and I can see why young people like the novelty of their music.

At Cyprus Avenue recently they welcomed a really good Cork youngster, Yesunia, to their bill, and she is one of many newcomers making waves in Ireland in 2022.

A healthy music scene is made not only by big names but also by new names, and Ireland seems to be in a decent position to capitalise right now.

In Cork it’s sometimes strange that some acts don’t draw great crowds, but there is definitely massive interest and talent here. I’m using my own Jam night in Cyprus Avenue as one avenue where newcomers can perform, and in recent months we’ve had JRilla, King Koko, JShine, Last Poet Zen, Gago, Goldie Bronson, Rea Brizy, Jedz, Salamay, Minnie Marley, Yesunia, Wahid, Olu, oj.d, YK, Trinity, Melanin Tee, KR and many others on the bill.

We also had a jam session in Marina Market for all ages with many more youngsters doing their thing too. Jay Ronic, Sandra, Drei, Godfield, and CC Mafia were among those who came through. One of the big highlights last Friday in Cyprus, was the performance of Craic Mob, and they and all of the other performers brought huge energy and talent to the stage.

Cork has had a huge hip-hop scene for nearly 30 years now and we have studios such as M5 and Kitten Lane recording amazing young rappers all the time, so it’s great to see them performing at the late night club scene.

We also have established studios like the Kabin and the Hut nurturing young rap artists too. We have a reputation for building underage talent in the city, but I sometimes think we should be doing better when it comes to artistic output. Hopefully things will improve in the next few years. There’s some good passionate people working in the background and the musical infrastructure is improving, though the lack of late night venues is always a barrier.

In Ireland the big rap acts will continue to be an attraction at the summer festivals and Longitude is certainly one which will interest most hip-hop fans. Tyler the Creator, A$AP Rocky, Dave, Megan Thee Stallion, Doja Cat, Baby Keem, Central Cee, Aitch, D-Block, Sello, Offica and Denise Chaila are all on the bill.

The final three on that list are some of the most exciting Irish talents right now and it will be a great chance to see them at a big festival. As I keep saying, women continue to make a huge imprint on hip-hop and it’s not only Denise. Longitude stars Megan thee Stallion and Doja Cat were two of the best performers at Coachella last weekend, in what was a pretty underwhelming festival. It’s gonna be great to see these two in Ireland this july.

Electric Picnic are also welcoming Denise, Megan and UK MC Little Simz, while our own JRilla has been recently added to the line-up for Indiependence.

All Together Now has a great line-up, with Denise, Malaki, Minnie Marley, Aby Coulibaly, Monjola, RiRa, Strange Boy, Negro Impacto, Hazey Haze, Citrus Fresh and others, bringing the hip-hop vibes.

This summer, there’s gonna be hiphop everywhere!

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