18 for ’18: JYellowL

JYellowL - www.brianmulligan.me - TheThinAir - 18for18 - 01

JyellowL, aka Jean-Luc Uddoh, has his foundations in old-school hip-hop but his head firmly in the now. His 2016 single ‘Life Right Now’ turned heads by taking on the Syrian refugee crisis whilst simultaneously dressing down the financial crash of 2008. This may be surprising coming from a 19-year-old, but for Uddoh, this is all he’s known. The Dublin rapper represents a generation of artists who’ve grown up in recession and seen only stagnation and roadblocks ahead. The idea of opportunity is alien to them.

JyellowL’s music feels like a reaction to this. His stylings are very much in the classical hip-hop mould that has wordplay and braggadocio at its fore. However, his bravado doesn’t feel like it comes from a need to inflate his ego but rather a more benign belief in positivity itself. This belief system provides the concept for 2017’s Bulletproof EP – an 8-track mixtape that sees the Dublin rapper experiment in a range of styles but always keeps this outlook at its fore.

As member of Word Up Collective, JyellowL is heading a wave of Irish artists determined to make some noise in this country. Having been born in Nigeria and moving to Ireland at 14, Uddoh knows only too well what it is like to be the victim of racial abuse. His 2017 single / short film ‘Cold in the Summer’ deals with this along with the historical injustices that slavery has caused. Jean-Luc Uddoh may be young but he has the wealth of experience and the correct mindset to bend 2018 to his will. Cal Byrne

Photo by Brian Mulligan