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Published on January 27th, 2017 | by Caolan Coleman

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17 for ’17: Damola

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Nigeria, Jamaica and Ireland mightn’t be known as hip-hop hotspots, but it’s these unexpected influences that seem to characterise Damola’s music. He cites listening to his parents’ Jamaican music as a child in Nigeria as his earliest influence, although he didn’t start performing until he was a teenager in Dublin, making up raps to impress his friends. Since 2014 he’s been releasing tracks and videos with the Backshed Inc. collective, allowing him the freedom to develop his increasingly idiosyncratic sound. Last year’s ‘Workflow’, in both it’s production and hard-hitting, rhythmic flow, owed a lot to the earlier work of Kendrick Lamar, latest release ‘Snoozing’ is a far removed as it gets. Showcasing the versatility of Damola’s voice as sings the hook, drawls the song’s verses, segues into Jamaican patois before launching into full trap-flow in the final third, forming his own

Since 2014 he’s been releasing tracks and videos with the Backshed Inc. collective, allowing him the freedom to develop his increasingly idiosyncratic sound. Where last year’s ‘Workflow’, in both it’s production and hard-hitting, rhythmic flow, owed a lot to the earlier work of Kendrick Lamar, latest release ‘Snoozing’ is as far removed as it gets. Showcasing the versatility of Damola’s voice as sings the hook, drawls the song’s verses, segues into Jamaican patois before launching into full trap-flow in the final third, forming his own one-man chorus. The RnB infused output of Anderson .Paak is a touchstone, but Damola’s cocktail is a unique brew of his own concoction.

His talent hasn’t been going unnoticed either: a recent headline set at Hard Working Class Heroes, with fellow Irish hip-hop trail blazers Rusangano Family in attendance, was extremely well received. His reward came in December when he joined Limerick outfit among the international line-up of Dingle’s Other Voices festival. As Damola and his band performed on the Festival Trail, fellow Dubliner Rejjie Snow was performing in the main stage of St. James Church in front of RTE cameras. With a bit of luck, Damola’s rare blend of styles and raw talent should bring him to the same international audience. Caolan Coleman

Photo by Tara Thomas

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