We’ve all heard of The Beatles, Queen, Adele and Estelle, but what about British rappers? Why is it that save for perhaps Dizzy Rascal and Tinie Tempah, British hip hop has been left in the cold? We’ve decided to heat things up to help solve that problem.
Today we’re heading all the way across the pond to bring you the dogs bullocks of the British grime scene. Grime itself is a mongrel of a genre. A fusion of rap, dancehall and punk; its sound is as raw and unfiltered as the name suggests. Originating in East London, it’s all the rage amongst the British rave scene and is steadily becoming a staple in British pop culture.
Its raw rhythms and real lyrics are reminiscent of the golden era of American hip hop in the ’80s and ’90s. This realness was the reason many of us fell in love with hip hop in the first place, hence we have a feeling that it wont be long until grime makes its way to our shores. So, without further adieu and in no particular order, here are 12 Brits to keep a bloody eye on.
Real Name: Nicky Nyarko-Dei
Hailing from: East London
Background: Tempa T is a veteran in the British rap game, his 2009 song “Next Hype” is considered an anthem of the British grime scene, and with good reason. His rap style is as gritty as it gets.
Real Name: Ashley Charles
Hailing from: South London
Background: Amplify Dot has been spitting since she was a young buck. She got her start when she made her way on stage with Missy Elliot. At just 13 years old she stole the show, and it’s been history ever since!
Real name: Jermaine Sinclair
Hailing from: Tottenham, London
Background: The son of a local reggae DJ, the boy has music in his blood. His songs range from hardcore street style rapping to more subdued conscious hip hop. His eclectic style is what makes him a fan favorite, and a member of this list.
Real name: Chanelle Calica
Hailing from: Hackney, East London
Background: Shystie is a veteran rhymer in the UK and you might have already heard of her. She has some American exposure, having toured with 50 Cent in the past. Her songs are high energy and incorporate the island vibes of her West Indian heritage.
Real name: Joseph Adenuga
Hails from: Tottenham, North London
Background: Skepta is probably one of the most famed rappers in Britain’s grime scene. Having been out since 2006, he’s one of the proverbial godfather’s of the genre. You may have heard his dance hit “Rolex Sweep” on the hit British show Misfits, now check out his street flow below.
Real name: Roxanne Conway
Hails from: Birmingham, England
Background: RoxXxan is a young dope MC out of Birmingham, England. She may look small but her husky voice is anything but. Her rhyme style as well as her uptempo beats are intense and in your face. She makes sure to let the listeners know she’s about her business. This young blood is bound to make herself known.