JYellowL learned from his Jamaican grandmother how to be himself in a world that wants to force you down a particular path. Born of Jamaican and Nigerian parents and raised in Ireland, the Dublin-based rapper has drawn on all three origins to create a distinctly powerful sound that is radically individual.
The 21-year-old artist, dynamic in his lyricism and fueled by political conviction, will deliver his highly anticipated debut album in 2020, with the first single ‘JeweLs’ released in June.
A leading voice emerging out of the fierce juggernaut that is Ireland’s rap scene, this debut follows two groundbreaking EP’s and a string of headline performances, both in Ireland and internationally. His standout track ‘Ozone’ has surpassed 1.5 million views on Spotify and the single ‘Oh Lawd’, featured on the soundtrack of the ‘Normal People’ TV series, has already surpassed 1 million views. A self-driven artist and entrepreneur, his newly established JYellowL Records Ltd quickly landed a distribution deal with the international distribution company IDOL.
The lyricism JYellowL delivers cuts to the heart of issues that are at once deeply personal and urgent on a global scale, driving political change right now. With a degree in politics from UCD University in Dublin, he explores the social problems that both intrigue and disturb him, from international conflict to economic inequality, unafraid to tackle subjects like racism in his music early on.
As far back as 2017, his track ‘Cold In The Summer’ addressed the international crisis of racial injustice and the legacy of slavery, while voicing a defiant demand for change. As with most of his tracks, he released a video with Dublin-based creatives that drew on imagery from the civil rights movement.
VICE Magazine profiled him as a leading voice of Irish rap in their 2017 Music Issue,’on the crest of a wave of young artists in Ireland with an increasingly political bent’. Hot Press Magazine called him ‘one of the most authentic young voices in the Irish hip-hop boom’.
It didn’t take long cutting his teeth in Dublin’s burgeoning rap scene to make his rise. By 2018, JyellowL had released his groundbreaking debut EP ‘Bulletproof’ and was supporting Rap superstar NELLY on a 3-date Irish tour that November, followed by a sold out Dublin show with “Money Trees” hitmaker Jay Rock.
In 2019, his highly acclaimed ‘Me N Me 2’ EP followed, coming out at the same time as he took on a headline Irish tour, his first headline show in London, and performed a headline international concert at Steck Poppodium in The Netherlands.
Named as one of RTE’s 2FM Rising acts for 2019, he released two singles – the catchy ‘Ozone’ and hard hitting ‘Tek Time’, the latter of which featured on Spotify’s influential Who We Be playlist. Endorsements from Spotify solidified his position as one of Ireland’s most influential young artists, featuring on a plethora of editorial playlists.
JyellowL made his stamp on the Irish festival scene in the summer of 2019 with a series of knockout performances at Longitude, KnockanStockan, Body & Soul, Band On The Strand Festival, Red Bull Gaf Party, and an international headline slot at Delft Jazz Festivalin Holland. He ended that summer on a high with a coveted headline slot at the ‘3 Made By Music Stage’ on the Saturday night of a sold-out Electric Picnic, one of the pinnacles of the Irish festival circuit.
This game-changing performance led to the next and most exciting part of 2019, with JyellowL’s single ‘Ozone’ selected to feature on the in-game soundtrack for the mammoth EA Sports FIFA 20. The curated playlist placed his track on the same level as hits by Anderson Paak, Major Lazer, Hot Chip and Skepta to name but a few. The success of 2019 peaked with a live performance and broadcast of ‘Ozone’ on Ireland’s biggest broadcast event of the year, RTÉ’s NYE party.
The new decade kicked off with JYellowL performing in the church at Other Voices Ballina, a unique space that artists travel to Ireland from around the world to perform. He was also asked to hold a special Q&A session with younger people to discuss the challenges and opportunities for young creatives.
‘JyellowL is staying laser focused in 2020’, according to District Magazine, taking the time under lockdown to do what is needed to make ‘the necessary bangers’. His hard-hitting 2020 anthem ‘On The Estate’ is another bold step forward in developing his sound while showcasing his versatility through a string of wide-ranging collaborations. He has worked with long-time collaborator Aaron Unknown on ‘Asylum’, American based wordsmith Mac Irv on ‘No Rivals’, as well as Irish RnB artist Aik J and Ari Noir on ‘Last Flight’ remix and ‘Alone’. He also made the soothing ballad ‘Blue Skies’ with electro pop duo Siights and a thumping club banger ‘shock Em’ with Irish hip hop artists Evan’s Junior and Jordan Adetunji.
In 2020, as protests against racial injustice erupted across the world, JYellowL led a demonstration and spoke to a crowd of thousands in Dublin, envisioning a future Ireland that is radically inclusive and anti-racist. He will continue carving out new space and testing his own boundaries to make that future possible.