When Rejjie Snow pointed up to one of the reserved boxes at the Olympia Theatre and paid tribute to his 89 year old grandmother, who watched his entire 24 song performance with a smile on her face, it finally became apparently that this flourishing Dublin rapper was exactly where he wanted to be – home.
One and a half hours earlier.
Pummelling bass helps shake the crowd from the bar as Rejjie comes on stage, donned with effortless style in a bucket hat and jumper. His DJ, donning a Jamiroquai-esque top hat, is the only other person on stage.
The opening act of the gig features a series of the more contemplative tracks from his recently released debut album, Dear Annie. Hazy love songs, cinematic imagery and existential musings in the likes of ‘Oh No!’, ‘Room 27’ and ‘Mon Amour’ mean that the 24 year old artist wastes no time in getting deep.
But it’s the twin-hit of Rejjie’s most recent single ‘Egyptian Luvr’ and ‘D.R.U.G.S’ that really gets the crowd going. It’s with these songs, and the likes of ‘Sunny California’ and ‘Spaceships’ a few tracks later, that you’re reminded of the fact that Rejjie Snow has worked with some of finest producers in contemporary rap, and he’s making music that isn’t just up there with the best of them, but in many cases is raising the bar.
For that matter, the crowd are also raising a bar of their own - dancing to every beat, singing along with every hook - knowing full well that this is a special evening. The energy and edge of ‘Blackkst Skin’ and ‘Crooked Cops’ has those in the pit at the front of the stage dancing in a frenzy. Even in these songs, where the lyrics have more of bite to them, Rejjie moves into his lyrical flow so seamlessly, with a voice as smooth as butter, so that you can’t help but groove with him.
There’s a number of guests throughout the evening too; some of them expected, others a surprise. UK rapper Ebenezer helps out Rejjie with his early 2017 single ‘Flexin’, while French artist Milena LeBlanc adds vocals on ‘Desole’. But one of the true highlights of the night comes when Rejjie invites Ringsend rap duo Versatile onto the stage for a run of their track ‘We Sell Brown’. Snow has spoken about his respect for the duo previously, so this was a timely gesture from the man. The crowd, jumping over each other to get closer to Eskimo Supreme and Casper Walsh, seem to agree.
There’s more Dublin-centric tributes before the show’s over. ‘Greatness’ sees Rejjie go back home to heap praise on his mother, while ‘Charlie Brown’ samples beautifully from Republic of Loose’s ‘The Steady Song’.
The encore features just one song, ‘1992’, which has developed into a personal favourite for Snow over the years. It’s easy to see why, because the track speaks of his connections with his origins – whether that be the fact that he was conceived in the year 1992, or the fact that one his favourite rappers (Dr. Dre) released his opus that year. It’s a fitting way to close a show where the artist is literally back to his origins in Dublin.
Even as he leaves the stage for the final time, the promise of the man himself is still palpable as the crowd filters out. He’s played two dozen songs and he still didn’t show us everything he's got. ‘Lost in Empathy’ and ‘23’ were left off the list, as was early Lecs Luther tack ‘Dia Dhuit’. This is only the start of his career, but Rejjie Snow's status is becoming legendary.
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