As sub-genres go, Irish hip hop may have once sounded like a wilfully obscure one. In the past two or three years however it has grown to become a scene that is healthier and stronger than ever before, making it impossible to ignore. Rejjie Snow is a legitimate global star in the making, if his Joey Bada$$ featuring mixtape The Moon & You is anything to go by, with fellow Dub Damola not far behind. Limerick’s Runsangano Family are fast becoming one of Ireland’s most celebrated domestic acts. Dublin duo NEOMADiC then drift comfortably into this vibrant and diverse scene, forming when MC noGood met fellow rapper Dyramid at school in Dublin, having recently moved from South Africa. Their new self-titled mixtape should be set to garner similar excitement to the aforementioned acts, and if there is any justice in the world, it is just the first of plenty more works to come from the pair.
If there’s one central theme in this tape, it’s how much these guys love a joint. Although getting blazed is one of hip hop’s most celebrated pastimes, NEOMADiC take the Snoop Dogg approach of elevating dope smoking to almost religious levels. This is reflected in the tape’s production, rooted in woozy, low-key jazz samples, which along with the MCs almost sleepy delivery, add an extra layer of stoned humour to lines like “Higher than the pyramids/ got my supplier call him Dyramid’‘ on ‘Dankrupt’.
Single ‘Languid Flowz’ opens with a long sample from It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, and is indicative of the duo’s overall vibe with other classic lines from the The Simpsons and others appearing throughout. We feel as though we’re sitting in on two friends on a weekend-long spliffs and Netflix binge, rather than hearing a highly polished rap production. It’s almost reminiscent of Ice Cube and Chris Tucker in Friday, or even Beavis and Butthead (in a good way).
It’s certainly not the most focused release then, as you might guess, and it’s actually at its best when the song’s deviate from that laid-backed template. On ‘Nik Nak’ the MCs trade verses over producer Austin Jaye’s piano samples, recalling Earl Sweatshirt’s solo work and showing just how potent the rappers can be at full tilt. Elsewhere there’s references to “Sipping Dutch Gold for the taste” on ‘Lifestyle’, while they also find room for one of this years funniest rhymes, Irish of otherwise: “I want Yeezy at my funeral/ just so he can turn my grave into a urinal”. While at this early stage these guys may be lacking the dead-set professionalism of some of their Irish cohorts, anyone who can relate to that “NEOMADiC lifestyle” that this tape espouses will find a lot to enjoy here. Caolán Coleman