Belfast rappers Kneecap tell us about their Top 10 albums of 2023

Belfast rap trio Kneecap may rhyme in their country’s mother tongue, but they’re on their way to taking the world by storm. They’re already heroes in the UK and Ireland, and sold out their fall North American tour. They just released the single “Better Way to Live,” which features Fontaines D.C.’s Grian Chatten, and are working on their long-awaited second album. The group will have a very busy 2024, with more touring and hopefully the release of that album.

There’s also the feature film Kneecap, in which Liam Óg Ó hAnnaidh, Naoise Ó Cairealláin, and JJ Ó Dochartaigh play themselves in a slightly fictionalized story of the group’s origins, that also stars Michael Fassbender (!). That makes its premiere at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival in January.

In the midst of all this, Liam Óg Ó hAnnaidh, Naoise Ó Cairealláin, and JJ Ó Dochartaigh were nice enough to send us a collective list of Kneecap’s favorite albums, which includes Grian Chatten, Lankum, The Mary Wallopers, David Holmes, and more. Check that out below.

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Lankum – False Lankum
What can you say about this album that hasn’t been said, it is masterpiece by one of the greatest Irish acts of all time. They’re forging their own path and we could listen to this non-stop for weeks.

John Francis Flynn – Look Over the Wall, See the Sky
Another folk visionary John’s second album is even better than the first, I would not live always. He’s pushing boundaries with drones, guitars and even electronica – his version of the 100 year old American ‘mole in the ground’ song is epic!

Kojaque – Phantom of the Afters
A conceptual album about the experiences of ‘Jackie Dandelion’ and the experience of the immigrant. On this album he’s once again impossible to pin to a genre and it has some brilliant collaborations including the brilliant Biig Piig!

Grian Chatten – For the Fly
Grian’s first solo foray and my gold what an album. From start to finish this is epic and shows a whole other side to his writing and performances that solo work permits. “All of the People” has been on repeat for us.

The Mary Wallopers – Irish Rock N Roll
We love the Wallopers and this album is another cracker from them. Their first studio work with their own songs(‘Gates of heaven’ our favourite) this is a seminal Irish album. Kicking out at all the right people – the church, racists, power and landlords the Wallopers are a very special band.

CMAT – Crazymad, For Me
CMAT is soon to be global star – she’s irresistible live and this album takes her to a new level. It’s pop at its very very best.

Sofia Kourtesis – Madres
A dance album knitted together with a stunning collection of samples from around the globe. An album for a morning walk or a house party at 5am – Kourtesis is very special talent.

David Holmes – Blind on a Galloping Horse
The only Belfast head on our list – David is a legendary Irish artist that needs no introduction and this album simply has to be heard. The opening track sets the tone of album in championing the voices of the oppressed and is more relevant than ever: ‘when people are occupied resistance is justified.’

It’s only 6 tracks but don’t let that fool you – it’s 45 minutes of magic. It’s dark magic which makes this an album that will live forever and is sure to be a cult Irish album. This is folk but the darkest corners of it.

D Double E – No Reign, No Flowers
A grime legend. This album is the most laid back of his work, looking at his own life and challenges. The melodic layers and production sit perfectly over his unique vocal ability.

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Kneecap’s 2024 tour hits Brooklyn at Warsaw on March 23. All dates are listed below.

Kneecap – 2024 North American Tour Dates
March 18 – Foundry, Philadelphia, PA
March 21 – Axis Club, Toronto, ON
March 23 – Warsaw, Brooklyn, NY
March 26 – Biltmore, Vancouver, BC
March 28 – Barboza, Seattle, WA
March 30 – New Parish, Oakland, CA
April 2 – Voodoo Room, San Diego, CA
April 4 – Echoplex, Los Angeles, CA