Image via Archy Moor/Instagram
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In an industry where young talents are on a fast track to imposed maturity, Archy Moor grows at his own pace. Starting his rap career at 19 with the release of the Irish gothic boom-bap debut “Moonboy,” he quickly followed up with the jazzy Osquello-featuring “The Long Road” and “Remember Me,” boasting complex rhyme schemes and wordplay. Now 21 years old, the Nigerian-born and Dublin-raised wordsmith released his latest project, Bonnie Hill, a sophomore EP packed with the emotional potency of a dust-covered bildungsroman and the freeing air of exploring one’s self and the changing world around him.
There’s a breadth of Irish hip-hop landscapes to lose yourself in from Rejjie Snow’s backpacking rabbit-hole-exploring raps, Officia’s cutthroat drill bangers and Kneecap’s politically satirical protests. What makes Archy Moor stand alone from his peers is his deeply personal and acute storytelling which cuts through your soul like a knife but heals those wounds like a panacea. As a listener in need of a guide throughout the recesses of Moor’s mind, he takes your hand throughout the 18-minute EP as he philosophies, laments and rejoices in real-time.
Moor is a lone wanderer on the fringes of the music industry and it’s reflected by the small list of features that reads like supporting characters in the coming-of-age tale that he’s carefully created. Jgrrey lends additional vocals in the opener “Beautiful” wondering where the hell “Bonnie Hill is” and Moor’s mother is given the classic voice note treatment in the outro of “Belly Of A Queen.” Jubilant at the growth of her son, the intention of the voice note serves as a sincere immortalization of the bond they share – an ever-lasting embrace between recipient and receiver, mother and son.
The producers tapped for Bonnie Hill: Earl Saga (Loyle Carner), MIKEWAVVS (Jack Harlow), Nick Mills (Baby Keem) and Benji Miller (Rejjie Snow) concoct boom-bap drums with glowing synths, lo-fi drum production and breezy guitar chords which materialize as canvases for Moor to weaves vulnerable reflections on familial ties, memory and personal growth.
Moor speaks over Zoom, diving into small talk about whether honey lemon ginger tea hits the same with natural or processed ingredients (it has to be natural) – growing up in Ireland and the process of Bonnie Hill. – Ethan Herlock