Young Dubliner releases stellar hip hop debut
Hailing from the same Drumcondra mean streets as Bertie Ahern, Rejjie Snow (real name Alexander Anyaegbunam) has already blazed a kind of stop start trail in Ireland’s burgeoning hip hop scene with the well-received Rejovich EP in 2013 and a slew of acclaimed mixtapes. However, he makes his real arrival with this dazzling debut.
Flagrantly un-PC and old school in its influences, the 24-year-old handles several styles with real grace and humour throughout the never dull one-hour running time. The sometime graffiti artist raps about key moments in his young life so far across '70s funk, slow jams, and more confrontational raps, taking in a potted history of hip hop with a keen eye to the future.
On the smoochy slow jam of Mon Amour he half sings, half raps in French with a flat Dublin accent. It sounds like LL Cool J covering Serge Gainsborough. Spaceships, which features a great Stevie Wonder style harmonica, sounds like something that should be on heavy rotation on pop radio, as does the rolling and mellifluous 23.
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There’s loose loping beats and vintage jazz on The Rain, while LMFAO jumps about on a cheesy rock bassline and morphs into the bastard offspring of It’s Like That by Run DMC and Jason Nevins with a non-stop rap that includes a cheeky mention of the IRA. On Charlie Brown, Snow essentially does a souped-up cover of Republic of Loose’s peerlessly filthy The Steady Song with Norwegian singer Anna of the North.
As he avers are one point, "I’m Irish but not from the waist down" and like everything on Dear Annie, it’s all delivered with a knowing wink. With that Dub accent slipping through that smooth loverman flow, this is hip hop from Ireland with massive international appeal.
Alan Corr @corralan