Winner of the Irish Album of the Year for 2016 at RTE’s Choice Music Awards was the Rusangano Family with ‘Let the Dead Bury the Dead’, their own independently released album and the first hip-hop album to win the prestigious award.

Two members of hip-hop trio are from Clare; producer and DJ John Lillis, MynameisjOhn, from Ennis and rapper God Knows Jonas, described as Shannon’s finest MC, originally from Zimbabwe who lived in the town before making his home in Limerick; the home of vocalist MuRLI.

On an electrifying evening in Dublin’s Vicar Street, the three beat off stiff competition from ten nominated acts to scoop the €10,000 prize. Jonny Quinn of Snow Patrol announced that the relatively unknown Rusangano Family had won against some of the best in contemporary Irish music such as Lisa Hannigan, the Divine Comedy, James Vincent McMorrow and Wallis Bird.

In a speech thanking all who have supported them over the years, God Knows told how the group’s aim in making the album was to be accepted as musicians. Reaction was very positively with James Vincent McMorrow tweeting his congratulations from Melbourne Australia to “some of the loveliest people I’ve ever met in the Irish music business”.

God Knows has been described as “one of the most electrifying souls in music in Ireland”. A founding member of the ‘Random Acts of Kindness’ music collective his unique style is said to have established him as one of the most formidable front-men in the country.

‘Let the Dead Bury the Dead’ is an 11-track album exploring social issues such as identity, isolation and belonging. The album was released in May to great acclaim, including an endorsement from Snoop Dogg. God Knows and MynameisjoHn previously released ‘The Struggle’, a 3-track EP featuring socially conscious lyrics by God Knows with a narrative of how a lack of opportunity in modern Ireland can inspire a communal desire for change and progression.

The blurb for the digital album tells us that, “God Knows balances his unique insights on contemporary Irish society with lung-busting flows and grimey nuances.”