Kojaque – 21+

Ages 21 and up
Monday, June 03
Doors: 8pm

Following the landmark projects Deli Daydreams and Town’s Dead, comes Phantom of the Afters. Kojaque’s first two records changed the Irish hiphop landscape forever. Now London-based, Kojaque’s Phantom of the Afters traces the blurred outlines of childhood trauma, depression, grief and love. This is an album that finds comfort and assurance in the acceptance of the self, through shedding what no longer serves. Informed by the pursuit of simplicity, while meditating on heartbreak, home and health, Phantom of the Afters finds Kojaque reflecting on the landmarks of a young life, in all their beauty and complexity.

Beginning with a soundscape of Kojaque departing Dublin for London, and introducing the album’s concept character, Jackie Dandelion, this is a record rooted coming into one’s own authentic identity, as well as a new one of an Irish immigrant in London, grappling with the rejection of fame and status for the sake of it, senses of alienation, missing the clichés of Ireland – the delis, the Guinness the craic, and embarking upon a reconciliation with the self. 

The album’s journey begins with the physical transition to London on Jackie Took the Soup, foregrounding the myth, insult, and reality of “taking the soup”, a potent term in Irish society that plays with themes of national abandonment for personal survival. Larry Bird plunges the listener into self-asserted braggadocio, before reverting to the nostalgic daydream of Cabra Drive, while the heart is bared on Bambi and Woof (featuring Biig Piig). Fat Ronaldo / Covent Gardens marks a turning point not just on the record, but for an artist determined to open up, even if that means breaking down. If vulnerability is power, then Kojaque’s obliteration of performative swagger in exchange for a declaration of fragility, offers not just a life lesson, but a creative path forward towards revelatory authenticity. 

The soulful Wagyu asserts the intention of this new phase in a simple phrase: “I’d rather be nothing if I couldn’t be myself, that’s being honest.” The ode to anxiety, What If?, is followed by a defiant Citizen Kane’s, which leads to the anthemic love song Peakaboo, before title track Phantom of the Afters eviscerates the counterfeit culture of clout-chasing. Ending on a note of devastating tenderness with Heaven Shouldn’t Have You, the notes and sentiments of this remarkable and unexpected direction float somewhere above the Irish Sea, in the push and pull of past and present.

Awarded a prestigious Royal Hibernian Academy Award in 2017 for his creative practice, Kojaque came to prominence with the genre-bending concept record Deli Daydreams in 2018, a project that also demonstrated his prowess as a music video director, and was nominated for the Choice Music Prize. Following performances at Glastonbury, Pitchfork Festival Paris, Primavera Sound, and SXSW, he released the album Town’s Dead, also nominated for the Choice Music Prize, in 2021. An album of huge ambition and scale, Town’s Dead solidified his colossally talented and singular vision as one of the most exciting Irish artists of his generation.

Working as an independent artist, with a DIY spirit that spans music videos and short films, collaborations and day parties, as well as co-founding and running the label Soft Boy Records, Kojaque has sold out tours across Ireland, the UK, mainland Europe and North America, as well as celebrated support slots with Lana Del Rey, and an Australian and New Zealand tour with Loyle Carner. Every release has been critically acclaimed, building a dedicated fanbase with crowds connecting not just to his commentary on contemporary society, but also his soul-bearing integrity, with his music spawning fan tattoos, roaring festival crowds, and heaving venues.

Skip to content