If in the US the rap scene is dominated by trap music, Eminem’s dissing rants and a bit of hits with a meaning from Childish Gambino and original sounds from Asap Rocky, on the other side of the pond it is amongst some of English rap veterans of the likes of Dizzee Rascal and emerging artists from the drill genre, such as Section Boyz where you have got to look for tunes to add to your playlist.
Today we will be looking at some of the best UK rappers of all time as well as some of the best UK rappers of 2018.
Best UK male rappers
Considered the pioneer of grime music, Dizzee Rascal is one of the best UK rappers ever: as a boy he was in fact a so called ‘rascal’ and kept being kicked out of school is the reason behind the nickname his mum gave him back then. Is he the ‘English rap’ rascal? In 2018 he has released his EP ‘Don’t Gas Me’ , which featured a first collaboration with Skepta.
He once stated about himself ‘I’m not a rapper. I’m an activist’. Skepta is one of the UK rappers representing the subgenre of grime and one of the few artists on the British rap scene who has made it over to the other side of the pond: he has in fact recently featured on Asap Rocky’s 2018 Praise the Lord. In 2018 he also announced is SkLevel album and a European tour for 2019.
One of the best UK rappers representing the subgenre grime is also Abra Cadabra, also representing Tottenham, London, where he is from. You probably already know him for his award winning single ‘Robbery’ and he is considered one of the best UK’s MCs too for injecting afrobeats in his tunes.
South London is where it all started out for one of the best UK rappers coming out in the last couple of years: it was actually 2017 when Loyle Carner – musician and actor – had is breakout in the contemporary scene with Yesterday’s Gone. In 2018 he released the single ‘Ottolenghi’, named after Israeli chef Yotam Ottolenghi.
Section Boyz – now Smoke Boys
Out of the drill subgenre, Smoke Boys are the best UK rappers representing the category. We have written on their recent comeback from a 2 year hiatus in this editorial. In 2018 the South Londoners have revived their Don’t Panic hit. And as per few days ago, they have published their latest video with Belly Squad called ‘Outside’.
Amongst UK Rappers AJ Tracey is the one who has followed his family footsteps: his mum is a Welsh former jungle DJ and his father used to be a rapper: AJ Tracey is mostly known for his super-fast bars and the election campaign video in which he starred for the Labour party. This video is from his self-titled album, his very first one.
Stormzy’s most recognisable moment is for sure his single ‘Shut Up’, which led the way to him becoming one of the most established and best UK rappers, the first one to score a grime album hitting the charts at place number one on the UK charts.
Best UK female rappers
In 2017 Hackney (London) rapper Stefflon Don has put her name on the charts with her single ‘Hurtin Me’ featuring French Montana – you can read more about the rapper here. In 2018 she has released her second mixtape called Secure.
She’s one of the most consistent UK female rappers on the scene today with her series of Queen’s speech freestyles. Lady Leshurr is from Solihull and this year she has come out as pansexual. Check out the ‘episode’ that went viral.
She’s one of the UK female rappers from South London who has made a live debut in 2018 of a new song: it is called ‘Bands’: this is some serious fats rap! Check it out