Coming up behind established talent like Rejjie Snow, Gough is helping blaze a trail for Irish hip-hop internationally. Following radio support and prominent placings in high profile playlists, he’s racked up millions of streams for his 2019 EP, ‘80%’, and earned a high profile sync on the BBC adaptation of Sally Rooney’s ‘Normal People’. This early success is doubly impressive when you consider that Gough has had to forge his own path in the industry, having had no obvious role models or industry mentors growing up in south east Ireland.
That Gough makes no attempt to downplay his Irish accent is a big part of his appeal as a vocalist. Indeed, there’s an engaging authenticity to his easy flow, adding additional weight to his quick-witted bars. Allergic to braggadocio, he’s happiest tackling real-life encounters and anxieties in his lyrics, be that smartphone and social media addiction (‘Dear SJ’) or his experience falling foul of a bouncer on a power-trip (‘Heart Attack’).
Sonically, there’s dizzying variety within Gough’s productions. Graduating from the sample-heavy sound of 2018’s acclaimed ‘Infomercial Tape’, ‘80%’ features both brilliantly old school beats on ‘Breakfast’ and jazz-influenced understatement in the shape of ‘Dear SJ’. On recent B-side ‘Be Kind’ he delves even further into the woozier side of the latter, as inspired by contemporary names like Yussef Dayes, Kamal Williams, and Alfa Mist, as he is undisputed giants of the form, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Chet Baker.
According to Gough, future material is set to be even more diverse. Brand new mixtape Forever Classic is billed as 90s-inspired but with a range that reportedly extends from bossa nova to the breakbeat and Beastie Boys-influence of lead single ‘Heart Attack’. It’s this combination of creative restlessness and undeniable talent that makes Gough an exciting proposition, even if he’s far too modest himself to admit it.
Presented by SJM Concerts.
This is a 14+ show (under 16s to be accompanied by an adult).