Nucentz, an OG of Irish rap, joins us on the line for episode #122 of Paddy Holohan’s No Shame Podcast. Nucentz, whose real name is Rob Byrne, was one of the leading figures of Irish hip-hop during the early 2000’s. The Tallaght native has collaborated with artists such as Lupe Fiasco, Maverick Sabre & opened for the likes of Public Enemy. His music has gained millions of views online with tracks such as ‘Had Enough’, ‘Do You Really Love Me’, & of course the2007 hit ’Sin City’ a Class A’z collaboration with Terawrizt & Redzer. Now after years away from the industry, He’s back & is here on the show to tell us why.
Irish hip hop has never been more popular, with artists such as Versatile, Rejjie Snow, JyellowL, Rusangano Family, Kojaque, Leathal Dialect, Mango x MathMan & so much more on the scene, it truly is a golden age for the genre. Back in Rob’s time you could hardly even call it a scene,’ explains Nucentz, it was all about getting on the airwaves to gain much needed exposure. Thankfully with the rise of social media, that’s no longer the priority & artists can get their music out to millions, keeping their work intact in its truest form without the dreaded T’s & C’s of the radio Edit.
From the age of 13 Rob was obsessed with making it in the music industry, at a time when the odds of an Irish rapper earning a salary were long at best. It’s something Paddy can relate to with no Irish fighter having ever made the UFC when he began fighting. Nucentz earned a reputation in the industry for doing things right, producing studio quality material when audio visual tech wasn’t anywhere near as accessible as it is now.
Watch episode #122 of Paddy Holohan's No Shame Podcast below
Through his lyrics he captured the mood of a generation perfectly with a catchy social commentary & hard hitting punchlines. Listening back to ‘Sin City’ now there is a timeless quality to the song, with the outbreak of coronavirus, political turmoil & the impending recession, the lyrics have never been more relevant. Sin City was part of Byrne's work with Class A’z, an Irish rap collective.
In 2011 Nucentz won ‘Ireland’s First Rap Superstar competition’ hosted by Spin 1038, which lead to a collaboration with Lupe Fiasco. The 2012 song ‘Had Enough’ was played reguarly across National radio, however Byrne reveals that he had little control over the single with the record label holding all the rights to the track.
From day one, it was Rob’s aim to collaborate with star’s like Lupe Fiasco, however when he got there he realised he still wasn’t able to earn a sufficient salary from Rap. Despite further success with the song ‘Do You Really Love Me’, Rob was reaching burnout, having given everything for more than 10 years, he made the difficult decision to walk away from the industry. Sometimes timing just doesn’t suit in life & for Rob it seemed as though his number was up.
Listen to / download episode #122 of Paddy Holohan's No Shame Podcast below
Now, almost 8 years later, Quarantine life has reignited the fire in his belly. What started off as a pet project has turned into a fully fledged comeback. He explains how a friend sent him a link to a microphone, which he went out and bought. Byrne started writing again, plugged the mic in & put a few tunes together. Incredibly, he is close to realising a new album, the lead single is being produced by DJ Flip, with actor & fellow Tallaght native Emmett Kirwan featuring in the official music video, a nice little No Shame Exclusive for you there. Rob believes there is a new maturity to his music while keeping the core essence of everything the fans loved the first time around.
Nucentz is is looking forward to working with the new generation, with plans to collaborate with rap duo Versatile later in the year. The time of ‘making your own buzz’ has come, a time which has allowed the independent artists to thrive. Having helped pave the way for the modern Irish Hip-hop scene, there’s no doubt that Rob will be a massive asset to the current generation of talent.
Everybody loves a comeback story & at just 33 years of age Byrne still has plenty of time on his side. In his own words 'the Coronavirus has awoken a sleeping giant', the second coming has arrived, Ladies & gentlemen, Nucentz is back.
The full episode #122 of Paddy Holohan’s No Shame Podcast is available now across all the usual platforms including iTunes, Spotify & Youtube.