The first time I saw Rusangano Family, they were performing as God Knows, Murli and mynameisjOhn in the back of Dingle’s An Chonair for the 2014 Other Voices music trail. A couple of months prior to that, they had released the Rusangano/Family EP which blew away everything I thought I knew about the Irish hip hop scene. Even in a freezing cold tent with a relatively small crowd, the energy of Murli and God Knows was stunning and the beats provided by mynameisjOhn were absolute showstoppers.
These days, they’re chatting to Pitchfork, impressing at SXSW, being called highlights at Eurosonic and generally garnering attention from across the world. With Let the Dead Bury the Dead, they have proved – yet again – that the hype is justified.
The production on the new album is really unique. They take small queues from grime, old school and Southern hip-hop and put their own twist on it. The lyrics are also highly original, tackling a host of pertinent issues. The lead single ‘Heathrow’, which came out last year, describes the tribulations of life as a refugee in Ireland. Between dealing with the big issues, there are many clever nods to Irish culture but they never feel forced or out of place – an issue which usually puts me off Irish hip hop.
My clear album highlight is ‘Bon Voyage’ which is one of the freshest pieces of hip-hop I’ve heard in months. In all, it’s a very good album which is an essential listen for your weekend. If you’re in Dublin, you can catch the album launch in The Sugar Club tonight.