Online Music Editor Georgia Marsh took a curious trip to the Marble Factory to see Rejjie Snow – one of the most promising rising names in rap – do his thing on the Bristol stage. He doesn’t disappoint: not even a potential asthma attack can stop him spitting flames.
“Can we do anything about this speaker here?” Rejjie Snow asks somewhat rhetorically, in a rare occasion where his fading Irish accent slips through his speech. He’s been kicking the speaker aside for the majority of the opening of his performance. Either it’s an especially heavy piece of equipment or he lacks adequate lower body strength, because it shows no sign of moving.
Although it seems he has been skipping leg day, what is more telling about Snow’s character is that he craves a closer connection to his audience than venue logistics allows. As he hops, bops and does a Peter Crouch circa-2006 World Cup impression across the stage, it is clear that The Marble Factory lacks the intimacy that this rapper seems slightly lost without.
However, this lack does not detract from the immaculate energy of his performance. Snow, born Alex Anyaegbunam, maintained control and confidence from the moment he emerged through the onstage smoke, not letting his asthma cloud the opening bars of ‘1992’ (he later asks venue staff to chill with the synthetic smoke after seeking solace in his inhaler). Not once did he trip over his tongue, or, if he did, he had no intention of making that obvious.
The Irish Independent have recently hailed him as “the future king of Irish hip-hop”, but what’s so futuristic about Snow’s quest for the crown? I consider myself to have a reasonably sound knowledge of hip-hop, yet I would categorically not be able to name another Irish rapper, let alone one better than Snow. Obviously, an ignorance of the Irish rap scene does not qualify me to say he is the best, however seeing him in the flesh is a euphoric moment of discovery in which the artist onstage is genuinely better than his recordings would suggest.
Born and raised in Dublin (following a brief stint in America in his late teens, he has since returned to his home city), his talent his completely undeniable. He floats with ease between his jazz-inflected early material to his newer, US-centric sound (the latter part of his catalogue could fit quite easily into an A$AP Mob mixtape). The differences between these are not only sonic, but also lyrical. Where in Olga he raps “kissing on her neck, because she’s gorgeous / flirting with her momma ‘cause her ass is so enormous”, his latest tracks qualify him for ‘politically-conscious’ status (despite his continual reference to North Face). Snow is easily one of the most underrated young rappers around, and his associations with Odd Future and King Krule have gained him a cult following, so it would seem that Snow’s upcoming mixtape release will thrust him to the brink of hip-hop stardom in the foreseeable future.
The next big thing in rap? Let us know in the comments or via social media.