Rob Kelly

Born and raised in Ireland, Rob Kelly was inspired to rap by the East Coast icons from the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, like Big Daddy Kane and KRS-One as well as Redman and Big L. He sharpened his MCing skills competing in many freestyle battles and radio showcases, and in the process, came into contact with various DJs and producers. Circa 2002-2003, he formed a close partnership with Irish producer Mike Connelly, who would become a longtime collaborator. Now, as a major player in Ireland's small hip-hop scene, he soon began to extend his reach into the U.K. and in the U.S. In 2004, he issued his first mixtape, The Kellection, mixed and helmed by DJ Pudgee P, who is known in New York for his Riot Squad street releases. However, it was his second mixtape, Bragging Rights (2006), that won him several new fans in Ireland and Britain. Though not a proper full-length, the release contained all original music instead of the usual beat-jacking associated with mixtapes. The following year, Kelly issued the underground hit single "Dropkicked," which featured Boston underground rapper Slaine. Officially released as an MP3 in April 2008, the hard jam mainly enjoyed airplay within the MySpace web community, but it earned the Irish MC work with more American mixtape DJs, such as DJ Bizerkk and DJ Green Lantern. ~ Cyril Cordor

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