Do you like smoking dirty rollies made out of the tobacco at the end of butts in an ashtray? Do you like drinking two litre plastic bottles of cider in parks? Do you go to Brady's on a Wednesday? Would you like some tunes to do all these activities to? Well, do I have the genre for you, not a real genre, a label I just made up here, but here it is. Scauldcore comes from the Irish slang term scauldy, for anything that's dirty, grimy, generally related to substance abuse, pretty much anything you'd see on Humans Of The Sesh, and -core because that's how people end genre names.
It's found in phrases like scauldy cans and in playlist titles like "scaldy yoke tunes". These are the songs you hear blasting on the back of a Dublin bus out of someone's Sony Ericcson, the songs you make with your friends for a laugh, the songs that in many ways best represent our great nation as they're all, well quite distinctly Irish. It might seem pretty class tourismy, but I do enjoy cans and rollies, and do genuinely enjoy these songs as songs that are a bit ridiculous in parts but are pretty fun to jam out too. It's pretty much our take on the UK's donk, Russian hardbass or Bebocore, lads MCing over dance beats or making grime songs in regional towns in the UK outside London in the early 2000s before the music press copped on there was serious talent outside their capital
This is perhaps my favourite song from this subgenre, it's got the classic sound of a hard dance beat, lofi recording standards and lads MCing about drinking, doing drugs, pulling girls and hating the guards. The heavy number of highly local references to various pubs, clubs, takeaways and locations in Sligo help give it its local flair, a true can drinking classic.
Best lyric: "I'm the best MC, better than the rest, I'm the only man the guards can't arrest" or "few cans of Dutch and we're onto a winner".
I would generally prefer to leave Dublin artists out of this list, as Dublin is a nice city and this stuff is generally at its best when you've the juxtaposition of lads acting like pure hard men while repping provincial Irish towns that may be rough around the edges, but probably pale in comparison to the rough neighbourhoods immortalised in hip hop. However Dublin has done its part for the genre, with its equivalent to MF Doom in DJ Shortall, weaving together narratives of drinking, doing drugs and petty vandalism. This is the song that got me into this stuff, honestly it's a truly iconic moment in Irish music.
Best lyric: "buy a load of cans of dutch, fucking piss cheap, smash a fucking window in of a fucking jeep"
"But Mal, the Irish Republican Army has a highly chequered past to say the least, the conflict in the North is still quite fresh, how are there so many armchair republicans?" This song is responsible pretty much, it has over a million views so I was a little hesitant to include it, and republican songs fall a little outside the remit of scauldcore subject matter, but it is a dirty tune to stick on at predrinks.
West Belfast really does put in a lot of work for the scauldcore genre, having some six songs I could have chosen. It could have gone to Cormac McDermott of The Notorious Barrick Boys and the infamous "Always Creepin Never Sleepin" with classic lines like "Your ma thinks I should be on Jeremy Kyle/She's just jealous of my Ballymurphy style" or "she tries to spoon me but I don't show affection/keepin it real, not using protection". There's always "The Fresh Prince Of Belfast". But the true classic is the G-Funk influenced banger we simply know on YouTube as "West Belfast Rap", similar tales of substance misuse, fighting and petty crime, yet with a distinct jaded edge.
Best lyric: "Belfast's crap, can't do nothin'. gonna steal a SeaCab and go to Scotland".
The Irish language has had a hard go of things, the devastation wreaked upon it by the Famine, an education system that leaves a lot of people who might be quite good at it by the wayside, with options to improve often being determined by access to teachers who actually care about the language outside exam results and money to go to the Gaeltacht. Additionally there's the fact that in a world where English language media has such a hegemony over entertainment, it can be hard to present the Irish language as being...culturally relevant to today's youth. Fear not though, for West Belfast's finest Gaeilgeoirs have delivered upon us, a true scauldcore classic, as Gaeilge. It's got production values without seeming like it's trying too hard, the lads can flow well in a language that hasn't really been used with hip hop, and there's plenty of lines to shout out while walking home drunk.
Best lyric: "C.E.A.R.T.A., is cuma liomsa foc faoi aon garda"
Lads this song is genuinely dreadful. It's from Kildare, an awful county, there's slurs thrown around, the beat's not great, yet I had to include it so shoutout Conor Logue n David Conolly for having to come from the same county as this track.
Best lyric: "i'll fuck you up, you Sallins mofo" for being the first and possibly last song to mention Sallins.
As I'm writing for an American website, I'm going to make the assumption that ye aren't too familiar with the rich variety of Irish accents, understandable as many haven't exactly made their way across the Atlantic. Thus I present to ye, a familar beat, and the glory that is the Dundalk accent.
Best lyric: "i'm only 12 now but will I live to see twenty, on 80 fags (cigarettes) a day I don't know"
Staying in the wee county, now we've got a tune about being unemployed and how shit dealing with those people who determine your livelihood is, with a banging beat and a nice shout-along chorus.
Best lyric: ""What do you think about Jobsbridge?" What do you think about suckin' me dick?"
A slightly more serious track here, we've got some lovely jazzy vibes from Leitrim, land of Ireland's smallest coastline, shit jokes from Ireland Simpsons Fans hacks and stag parties in Carrick On Shannon. The hatred for ones enemies is a common lyrical thread in scauldcore and that is well represented here too, a tune well worth your time.
Best lyric: "hacking in the password, threatening to grass, what the fuck man you're an absolute disaster"
Though the Rubberbandits don't quite fit into this framework, with high production values and more of an absurdist spin on things, they are significant for putting Limerick on the map and helping people take that scene more seriously. Here we've got Yung Rez, who's got more of the modern singy trap AutoTune style compared to the classic hip hop flows and rapid-fire grime spitting that characterises this sound.
Best lyric: "break my heart and I'll break your legs"
Ah yes Cork. The People's Republic of Cork. The Rebel County. The Real Capital. And of course the source of this classic. We've got a posse cut from all over Cork City, we've got Dr Dre's "Fuck You" beat, and some beautiful Cork accents.
Best lyric: "you think you're a hard man, keep at the run/you're as hard as a Mars Bar, melt in the sun" or "I'm the feen that always gets the gats, next thing you know I'm up in St. Pats"
I do love a smoke, more than a little bit. But after watching this video I'm beginning to reconsider this path in live, perhaps live a clean lifestyle. Who knew the infamous Rollie Jesus would mend their ways thanks to a remix of Bassline Junkie made by some kids from Cork.
Best lyric: too many to choose from and the video is subtitled, go watch it you fucks.
The Midlands of Ireland is an underrepresented area. It's a kip frankly, lacking the natural beauty and culture to be found in our provincial areas along the coast or the proximity to Dublin of the counties that were in the Pale. It's the place I come from, and my town's arch rival, Mullingar, has brought us a scauldy classic while Athlone is sadly lacking in that area. We do have Sequence though, who makes really good J Hus/Drake influenced rap if you want to spin that in the future. In the meantime however, here's a lad rapping over Cypress Hill's "I Wanna Get High" about committing petty crime in Mullingar, enjoy,
Best lyric: "me and the boys have started on the whole Caucasian race"
And last, but not least, Dundalk's finest, fuck The Corrs. A true institution of Irish culture the Erasmus convenor in your college won't tell you about. Without this song, none of these other songs would exist. It's the one and only, Maniac 2000
Best lyric: "life, it has no meaning", have some nihilism with your scauldy techno.