How many ‘classic albums’ has the UK rap scene produced? Although this may seem like a relatively subjective question, some albums are undeniably important to the genre, and even if someone doesn’t enjoy the music, they have no option but to acknowledge its contribution to sound. In terms of UK rap and grime, a project that springs to mind, when speaking about classics, is Dizzee Rascal’s debut ‘Boy in Da Corner’. It is hard to argue that Dizzee’s first project wasn’t monumental in the grime scene, and was the first instance of grime seeing real mainstream attention. The problem was, although this may have inspired many artists in the UK, very few projects have had the same effect on scene and can be objectively labelled a classic. Kano’s Home Sweet Home, Giggs – Walk in da Park, Skepta – Blacklisted, could arguably be a few but in the 15 years since Boy in da Corner, very few have earnt classic status.
Everything I’ve seen from Slowthai tells me that he is a fucking nutter. However, his energy and attitude is exactly what is needed to reignite the grime scene and develop a timeless album. Don’t let his outlandish style and delivery throw you off, he is one of the most talented rappers to come into the scene for a long time, and his lyrics are much deeper than it appears on the surface. He attacks the social norm within the UK, with ‘Nothing great about Great Britain’ being a particular statement from the young artist that stands out. The Bottom is a perfect representation of social conscious content and as he progresses, I can see him only getting better.
Legal problems have killed the potential of so many rappers and Potter Payper is someone that I honestly feel without legal issues would have a very high position in the game. Yes, he does fit the cliché of generally talking about drug dealing in his bars but what sets him apart from many rappers like him, is the genuine pain and passion in every word. It is clear that he’s faced difficult times throughout his life and the raw expression in his lyrics provides the perfect base for constructing a classic album.
2018 was without a doubt, a breakout year for Octavian with the release of his anticipated project Spaceman dropping to critical acclaim. Admittedly when I first heard Octavian on a track called Balance ft. Koder, I didn’t think much and completely overlooked the talent of this artist. Then months later ‘Party Here’ dropped and I was honestly blown away. There was something special about this track, and forced many to listen up. It sounded like nothing currently bubbling in the UK rap scene and was a creative spark in an oversaturated rap scene.
Headie One has been without a doubt one of the stand out stars of the recent ‘drill genre’ but he should not be limited to this genre. My initial introduction to Headie was ‘Golden Boot’ and although some of the similes were erm interesting… he clearly had something. All the drug references are of course ingrained within each track, but the nonchalant delivery matched with tongue-in-cheek one-liners sets him apart from his peers. His stellar beat choice, mainly coming from the likes of MK the plug and M1, lead to consistent bangers, and his flow is unmatched within the drill scene. To me, what really sets him apart from his peers is his moments of introspection in his lyrics on tracks such as ‘The One’ and ‘Of course’ which provides a real insight into the mindset of London youth.
A2 is one of the most creative artists to touch the scene and it is a fucking travesty that he is not one of the most revered rappers in the scene. He has been making music of the highest quality for years now, but I rarely hear his name brought up in any conversion. However, his patience is starting to pay off and he is forcing more and more people to pay attention, as he gets better with time. Blue was an outstanding project and I feel the next project will raise the bar.
One the most fascinating, eccentric the UK rap scene has produced but his talent is undeniable. Cas can fucking rap. Cas’ style and aesthetic is unlike anyone in the scene and his most recent releases have a strong 70s/80s feel; providing a fresh sound in a scene that has lacked creativity after the tidal wave of drill and afro trap. I do believe he is an artist that will think deeply into how to stich together a timeless project.
From the small amount of tracks that Knucks has released, I can already tell that he is set to be one of the top rappers come out of the UK. His production and delivery fit perfectly and there’s something about the way he raps that just sounds effortless. He is not the type of rapper you will hear in the club anytime soon, but I do not doubt this is past his capabilities and I am very confident that his debut project will shake up the scene.
Dave is one of the most versatile, well rounded artists in the UK and with Psychodrama around the corner, people are itching to see what he has produced. Dave mature lyrics and clear talent makes it even more shocking that he is only 20 years old! He is already very music established in the scene and with time on his side, who knows what heights he could reach.