So, if you’re a fan of hip-hop you’ve probably heard Drake’s new album/playlist ‘More Life’. If you haven’t, then I recommend checking it out. The blend of different musical styles and influences really work, and shows the love Drake has for all kinds of music. It’s a fun project, and should be treated as such. But alas, this is not a review of ‘More Life’.
If you’ve listened to ‘More Life’ then you would’ve noticed that it features UK artists such as Giggs, Jorja Smith, Skepta and Sampha, and has a distinct British feel to it. It’s no secret that Drake has been a huge fan of the UK hip-hop/grime scene for a while now, consistently showing his support for new releases and tours. The likes of aforementioned Skepta and Giggs, and up-and-coming artists such as Dave and AJ Tracey have all benefited from his love and support, allowing thier music to be opened up to a broader audience that Drake has.
In truth, the UK hip-hop/grime scene has been in a strong place for a number of years now and many artists are achieving mainstream success, with or without Drake. Does the UK hip-hop/grime scene need Drake? No. But it’s definitely a good thing that someone is appreciating the music and the culture, without simply exploiting it. With Stormzy smashing the charts with his latest album ‘Gang Signs & Prayer’ and prominent artists selling out venues up and down the country the UK hip-hop/grime scene has never been in a better place than now. It’s a scene rich wih new talent, and I for one am extremely excited by some of the artists that are coming through the ranks. On the back of that, here’s a list of 10 of the most exciting new artists coming out of the UK hip-hop/grime scene.
Loyle Carner –
Loyle Carner is not a bad way to start off proceedings, described as ‘sensitive and eloquent’ by NME he already has a successful debut album behind his name, ‘Yesterday’s Gone’ recieving rave reviews from a number of high-profile publications. He has a classical and melachonic feel to his rhymes, often described as conscious or confessional hip-hop.
AJ Tracey –
If you pay attention to the ‘best new acts of 2016/2017 lists’ then you would’ve noticed AJ Traceys name popping up a lot, and it’s with good reason. His combination of liquid flows and startling rhyming patterns has made him stand out from an ever increasing number of English MC’s. His EP ‘Lil Tracey’ released last December was just the start of big things for the West London born rapper.
Little Simz –
One of the more established artists on this list Little Simz has already started her trajectory to the top. She has a very insightful tone, with the ability to switch up the pace of her flows with ease. She has been likened to Lauryn Hill in the past and has recieved praise from the likes of Kendrick Lamar, the later stating that Simz ‘might be the illest doing it now’.
Nadia Rose –
It’s very hard not to like Nadia Rose, her infectious and groovy style are contagious in all the best ways. She has a bubbly personality and this really comes out in her music, switching up her styles, bouncing from one pace to another, one reference to the next, she encompasses everything good about a young MC just having fun. Recently stating in an interview with the Guardian ‘everything we’ve done has stemmed from the fun factor. I can’t do boring’.
J Hus –
The dancehall sound within hip-hop has seen a sudden rise in popularity around the world, with the likes of Wizkid and Popcaan benefiting from high profile features with hip-hop stars, and with the UK having a large number of people of Jamaican descent it’s with no surprise that a number of British artists are now gaining popularity with that sound as well. At only 20, J Hus is leading the way, already delivering stellar features for the likes of Stormzy, Dave and Nines, his brand new single ‘Did You See’ shows that he’s ready to step into the limelight.
Dave, otherwise known as Santan Dave, went from being a relatively unknown 18 year old rapper, to one of Drakes favourite artists in less than a year. From having his track ‘Wanna Know’ remixed by the Canadian star and performing with him at his sell out show at the O2 in London, to featuring on his recent album ‘More Life’, it’s been one hell of a year for the boy from Streatham. It’s well deserved as well, his Six Paths EP was hands down one of the best projects by a UK hip-hop artist last year, his combination of ridiculously catchy vocals and fierce storytelling enabling him to burst onto the scene and catch the attention of Drake in the first place. Get ready to hear a lot more of Dave, this is just the start.
Ocean Wisdom –
High Focus record label have been a staple in the UK hip-hop scene for a while now, consistently releasing fresh new projects and providing the support and platform for new hip-hop artists to express themsleves. One of the biggest talents on their roster at the moment is Ocean Wisdom. The Brighton rapper is noted for his quick and ferocious flow, double-timing on rhyming patterns in a clever and witty manner he is certainly one to check out.
Ray BLK –
Named as BBC’s Sound of 2017, beating off competiton from the likes of Rag ‘n’ Bone Man, RAYE and Jorja Smith, Ray BLK combines soulful and R&B vibes with poetic rhymes. She paints vivid pictures of what life was like growing up in an estate in Lewisham, the portrayals of daily struggles and grim surroundings mixed with messages of positivity, ‘on these streets, through concrete, flowers grow’.
Stefflon Don –
Get ready for Stefflon Don to take over the world this year, her unashamedly in-your-face style follows in a similar vein to that of Nicki Minaj, just a lot better. On the comparisons she states in an interview with i-D, ‘I like Nicki, she’s cool, so I take the comparisons and I get them: I’m cocky, my voice is deep, I have the Jamaican flows. But time will show how we’re different.’ With Nicki Minaj’s new tracks failing to impress, the London ‘grime queen’ is poised to take on hip-hops biggest stars.
Jesse James Solomon –
And last, but most definitely not least, its Jesse James Solomon. One of the more unusual rappers on this list he has a spoken word and fluid style, it often feels like he is breaking down his introspective thoughts in a coversational manner. This, combined with the adept choices of dark and sorrowful beats create a melachonic mood, a mood that is very engaging to the listener. It’s one of the reasons why he has built up such a steady fan base whilst only releasing a handful of tracks.
It’s an exciting time to be a fan of UK hip-hop and grime, and these are just a select few from the huge number of talented artists out there. The likes of Bugzy Malone, Bonkaz, Paige Caskey, Jaykae, MoStack and Fliptrix are also worth a mention if you liked what you have heard in this post. Thanks for reading and don’t forget to follow the blog for more features like this, and much much more.