Belfast-based artist, Dena Anuk$a, makes the “Frosted Beats” Spotify playlist cover this week. Check it out and give it a follow to keep on top of the burgeoning Irish urban scene. Updated weekly, it is the ultimate curation of the coldest sounds from across the country.
Dena Anuk$a is a pioneer and integral part of the growing hip-hop community in Belfast. A woman of many talents, she is a rapper, songwriter and producer as well as regular DJ. Despite being a bedroom lyricist since the age of 9, it was only in the last few years that she began to release her own tracks under Nxgen Music Group. She draws inspiration from the likes of IAMDDB, Keyah Blu and Noname, yet possesses a very distinct sound, which is a product of her varied upbringing. She was born in Egypt, but spent time living in Saudi Arabia and Newcastle before moving to Northern Ireland.
Her work continues to gain respect from local media outlets and organisations. She has performed live on the BBC and was interviewed on RTÉ Pulse. In addition, her singles “My G” and “All My Si$ta$ Got Friend$” were selected as part of the long list for NI Music Prize’s “Single Of The Year” in 2019. She is also the first hip-hop alumni of the “Scratch My Progress” programme at Belfast’s dedicated music hub, “Oh Yeah”. This is mentoring scheme that has been running for several years and gives the opportunity to five acts to be supported by industry professionals for a period of nine months to finesse their talents.
Anuk$a aims to form an urban music scene in Belfast, claiming that there is considerable potential within the city. After catching the attention of GXRL Code, a Dublin-based collective that supports females within the creative industry, she was encouraged to establish her own branch in the North. Through organising gigs and creating a network of like-minded people, she hopes to create an environment that fosters ideas and eases collaboration.
Keen to kick-start the year, she has just released her Debut EP, “Honey And Cream”, which was recorded and mixed by herself. “The literal translation of ‘Honey And Cream’ comes from an Arabic phrase we would use in my hometown Alexandria to say the ‘sweetest thing’”, she tells us. Staying true to her usual style, the project is a collection of alternative neo-soul rap songs. It incorporates a variety of flows and beats, yet maintains the same chill vibes throughout. Kick back, relax and give it a listen below.