Dublin Duo I.JyellowL

THE RAP SCENE IN IRELAND hasn’t exactly been able to cross borders yet and I’m kinda waiting for a “sound” out of the country. They were a little late to the drill scene, although there’s good talent there - INK is one of the grimiest drill artists I’ve heard. Hare Squead got some shine on GoldLink’s Herside Story but hasn’t had much since. Rejjie Snow is super dope and really lays into the idea of genre bending but even he’s had limited success. Despite the struggle, there’s a lot of artists who are waiting to pop on the international scene, including personal favorites JyellowL and Kojaque, two very different rappers.

To be real, I couldn’t decide which of these two artists I wanted to talk about so how bout one big “fuck it” and do both as a 2-parter? To start off, let’s go with the more traditional JyellowL.

For me, JyellowL falls into the group of Irish rappers that still don’t have a super unique or distinctive sound (great introduction to the guy huh?). He’s got a strong flow, can sing well enough, and his beat choice is cool, but doesn’t entirely stand out. He can 100% make a dope sounding song, check out Call It What You Want or Say! for easy ones, but I feel like I’ve heard his sound in a bunch of American artists already.

Where the dude will forever stand out is his actual rapping skills and content material. End of the day, that’s a very good thing to be known for since it kinda should be the most important part of how we evaluate rappers. While his style is much different, like JID JyellowL is really good at rapping a mile a minute in some situations and slowing it down completely for others. It shouldn’t surprise you if you find yourself constantly a step behind his bars on a song like JeweLs just to have him turn the tempo way down on a chorus the next song (he legit does this for the songs directly following - Doesn’t Feel Like and Home - on his album 2020 DIvision).

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I think JyellowL’s actual style of rap is kinda cool. Some artists go heavy on the rhyme schemes while others get real creative with the wordplay. For the Dublin-native, he uses almost a preachy-style. I don’t mean that in negatively though... the guy has a message he wants to share and just gives it to you as is. Now that I think about it, almost reminds me of a more melodic Common at times.

If JyellowL blows up, it’ll be because of his content. If he doesn’t, it’ll likely also be because of his content. Content wise, I don’t think he believes in filler songs made for the radio. I swear it feels like every damn song has some sort of important message to it, whether it be from a motivational standpoint or spreading awareness of an issue he sees, his degree in politics from UCD and personal experiences giving him all the credibility he needs. He wants to be a role model for his community, even writing a song saying how he wants to be what Nipsey was for Crenshaw in his own Dublin neighborhood (crazy, wouldn’t expect that from the title). In his music career, he wants to stand for something, refusing to sell out for a plaque.

Based off his track record so far, I gotta say it looks like he’ll have no issue sticking to that. Track after track, JyellowL just seems to get stronger and stronger with more and more meaningful lyrics. I’d love to say that’ll be enough to get him to the mainstream platform he deserves, but at some point, an artist just needs to have a radio hit. As is, I’m not entirely sure he has what it takes to get there. Maybe he does in Ireland or the UK, but I’m not seeing it quite yet in a way that would appeal to the American mainstream and set him apart. In the US, we have this weird affinity for music that spreads negative messages and are cool with pushing the positive and uplifting music to the side. It definitely seems a little ass-backwards to me and if it stays that way, I dunno if JyellowL will be able to make that global jump.

What I hope above all else for JyellowL’s career is that he’ll get the love he should just by being himself because he’s already a really fucking talented artist. Finding that truly unique sound that says “this is JyellowL” is the last bit I think he needs to really start running with his talent, opening up the world as his platform to spread his messages, not just Dublin.

PERSONAL FAVORITES: Home, Change, Cold in the Summer, Oh Lawd (ft. Aaron Unknown), Unbroken Promise

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