One of the funniest Twitter rage storms of the year was the huffing over the Longitude line-up — with the ‘real music’ brigade moaning that there were no proper bands on the bill. These lads – it’s always lads – then went on that other odd rant of boasting that they didn’t know any acts on the bill, as if wilful ignorance of some of the biggest names in popular music was cool.
They’re the same lads who signed petitions when Jay-Z and Kanye Glastonbury headlined Glastonbury instead Foo Fighters, Kasabian, The Killers or Muse — you might find them at a Whelan’s club night chanting I Am the Resurrection for the millionth time.
Anyone with even a passing interest in modern music will realise Longitude has the most carefully-curated line-up of the big commercial Irish festivals this summer — sticking to hip-hop, grime, house, techno and various other strands of bass music. Organisers realise they don’t need to add Picture This or Mumford & Sons or any other guitar bands to cover all bases and dilute things. Weekend tickets sold out in no time, so the kids are alright.
With dozens of acts there’s plenty to dip into at Marlay Park this weekend, but here’s a top 10 to get you started…
Atlanta trio Migos have been reeling in young hip-hop fans as effectively as they’ve been confounding the old masters, with Snoop Doff going viral in  trying to riff on their stuttered, abstract flow. Expect all their zonked-out big-hitters like Versace, Bad and Boujee and Motorport — and their dab dance to make a comeback.
With the exception of maybe Taylor Swift, Nikki Minaj and Beyonce, rapper Cardi B could well be the biggest pop star on the planet right now — with a success story that could only be written in this social media age. The former Instagram star has gone from no-holds-barred stripper to a genuine rap superstar in a few years, and her debut album Invasion of Privacy has hooks for days.
For years Solange was kinda coasting as the other Knowles, living in the impossibly huge shadow cast by her big sister Beyonce. She had some killer pop singles, notably Losing You and T.O.N.Y., but she got her long-overdue credit on her 2016 album True. One of the unanimous albums of the year, it’s a politically-charged new wave R&B modern classic, and the choreographed live presentation is pretty special.
SZA’s debut album CTRL ended up on most of the top albums of 2017 lists, so it was worth the wait — her record label once confiscated her hard drive to hear her music after she’d been procrastinating too much. Her confessional neo soul and leftfield R&B has been endorsed by the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Solange, Chance the Rapper and Calvin Harris, but she doesn’t need much help from anyone.
Tyler, the Creator
Tyler has supposedly left his juvenile Odd Future self behind — ditching the horrorcore rap fantasies for a dose of introspection on 2017 album Flower Boy. But still, the last time he played Longitude in 2016 he was hanging off the stage scaffolding so he hasn’t gone full Drake yet.
Dublin rapper Rejjie Snow has sidestepped the hype that’s been building around the current Irish hip-hop scene, as he relocated to the States and made sure his sound reflects his adopted home. On his debut album Dear Annie the young Dubliner veers between deep Tyler, the Creator-style introspective bars and smooth soul singing over jazzy piano and R&B beats.
Dublin rapper Jafaris was an Irish highlight at the Dutch showcase Eurosonic in January, and he’s made huge leaps in 2018 since then — his new single and video Found My Feet is the actual sound of the summer. The Sing Street star veers between brash hip-hop and R&B slow jams, with a captivating dose of positive energy. And when he’s not rapping on point, he’s pulling off some serious MJ body-popping moves.
Mango x Mathman
Jut like festival season last year, if there’s a field anywhere in Ireland with a soundsystem, Dublin grime duo Mango x Mathman will be there wrecking the gaff. Gruff Dub surrealism and freewheeling wordplay over machine-tooled gut-punch beats. It’s been a hell of a 12 months for the pair.
At only 23, Brooklyn’s Joey Bada$$ is half the age of his East Coast rap heroes, and in the age of autotune and mumble rap, he’s hanging on to old school boom bap values. With his coarse, classic flow and dusty vinyl soul samples, he’s a direct line to the Wu-Tang and Nas — and he says his politically-charged second album is “hella good for you” — like vegetables “when kids these days want candy”.
New York rapper Princess Nokia is more infamous for going viral last year after throwing soup in the face of a racist on the subway, but no such thing as bad press etc. The MC can flit between trap, classic boom bap bars and R&B slow jams — but recently flipped the script on her mixtape A Girl Cried Red, inspired by emo and acoustic rock.