The UK has a long tradition of producing great music, and the rappers in the country do no different. So let’s go through the best UK rappers so that you can find a new artist to enjoy!
Stormzy is one of the UK’s most well-known rappers. The release of his debut album in 2017 shot him to fame. Stormzy states that grim music heavily influenced his musical style. Grime is an electronic style of rap popularized in the 2000s.
Stormzy grew up in London with a mom who emigrated from Ghana. Stormzy began rapping when he was only 11, using rap to decompress and release his anger. After maturing and refining his skills, record producers discovered his Youtube freestyles in 2014.
From there, Stormzy became one of the best UK rappers because of his unique flow, grime-inspired beats, and lyrics that inspire people to get out there and do what they believe in.
Dave first started rapping in 2015, and he quickly gained critical acclaim when he released his 2016 album, Six Paths. Dave raps about numerous topics, although he usually returns to social issues that plague his community.
Dave was born in the UK to parents of Nigerian descent. When Dave was only a few months old, authorities deported his father, leaving his mother homeless. The struggles Dave felt as a child are prominent themes throughout his music.
Dave’s style focuses on simplistic and thoughtful lyrical delivery. His music revolves around his riveting storytelling abilities. In almost every song, Dave gives advice and life lessons to listeners who may need some advice.
3. J Hus
J Hus wasn’t satisfied with the development of music in Britain, so he decided to take things into his own hands. Critics often credit J Hus with inventing the afro-swing genre, which is a mixture of dancehall music and African-inspired electronic music.
J Hus was born in London to parents who immigrated to the UK from Ghana. His mother raised him, and she often took him to see traditional African music. At first, J Hus wanted to become an actor but soon turned to music.
J Hus released his first recorded freestyles in 2014, but they didn’t gain much traction. By 2017, his sound had begun to attract listeners. He’s released two more albums, and both of them reached number two on the UK charts.
Kano was one of the first rappers to integrate grime and hip hop to create a rap genre almost exclusive to the UK scene. Grime uses a fast-paced style, and the lyrics must match that pace. Potential artists must have a high degree of skill and musical abilities to succeed in the genre.
Kano was born in London to parents of Jamaican descent. Initially, his family encouraged him to play sports, but Kano shunned that for a more creative path. To start his career, Kano joined the hip-hop group, N.A.S.T.Y Crew, which consisted of artists like Ghetts, Demon, and Stormin.
Kano’s style and music often delve into the emotional side of rap. His music has spurts of anger and resentment, but that often turns into more subtle notes of joy or achievement as the music progresses.
Skepta is one of the UK’s most popular rappers. He incorporated the grime style into his music in the early 2000s, making him a pioneer in the genre. Skepta started his career as a DJ before record producers recognized his lyrical skills.
Skepta was born and raised in north London. Both his parents are from Nigeria, and Skepta holds Nigerian citizenship. His first public jump into music was performing on pirate radio stations around London, raising his popularity in the underground scene.
Skepta has worked with some of the most influential artists in the UK and the U.S. He helped produce A.$.A.P Rocky’s mega-hit, Praise the Lord, which would become both artists’ most successful work.
6. Tion Wayne
Like many modern artists, Tion Wayne’s first step into the music industry happened on Youtube. He posted videos showcasing his drill music, a rap style developed in the UK that focuses on fast beats and prominent snare sounds.
Wayne was born in north London, and both his parents are immigrants from Nigeria. After he started releasing videos in 2010, Wayne built a loyal fanbase that heavily consumed his three mixtapes.
By 2016, his talent had made waves, even across the pond in the U.S. Wayne helped produce music for Rick Ross. Wayne also worked with some artists from Africa. His music likely influenced Rick Ross, whose style changed dramatically between 2015 and 2020.
Ghetts is another early adopter of the grime style so popular in Britain. He began his career in the N.A.S.T.Y Crew, but he left the crew because of internal disagreements. Luckily for us, his independent career produced some of the best music from British rappers.
Ghetts released his first music in 2005, but Ghetts didn’t garner a large following from it. Before the rise of online music, Ghetts released mixtapes multiple times a year. His prolific releases soon gained traction in the music world.
By 2014, Ghetts released a full-length studio album, Rebel with a Cause. The album defined his style—fast-paced beats with equally fast lyrics. From there, Ghetts has only grown in popularity with every album release.
8. Russ Millions
Russ Millions has the honor of releasing the first UK drill song to reach the top 10 on the UK singles chart. His song, Gun Lean, came out in 2018, and it perfectly encapsulates his style. He currently has three top-10 releases, but that’s sure to grow.
Russ is one of the best UK rappers to integrate the drill style. His beats are fast and distorted, giving his music an underground feeling. On top of that, his quick lyrics and unique voice add depth to his music.
M.I.A. is a British rapper of Sri Lankan descent. Her music is wildly diverse, including influences from America, Britain, and Sri Lanka. She also includes elements of electronic and dance music to create a high-energy rap.
M.I.A. was born in London, but she moved to Sri Lanka as a child. As her family suffered through the civil war in the country, they returned to the UK as refugees when she was only 11.
The war and her family’s exodus from the country had a significant impact on her music. She wanted to incorporate elements of music from her homeland, which has produced some of the most interesting UK rap, such as songs like Bad Girls and Paper Planes.
10. Bugzy Malone
Bugzy Malone is one of the young artists trying to revive the underground scene in the UK. Although he still uses the genre, he wants to move grime away from the commercially viable style that he sees as a failure of creativity.
Malone was born in Manchester, becoming the first-known grime artist to hail from the city. Malone’s childhood wasn’t easy—he was poor and never met his father. He witnessed his family members being victims of domestic abuse from a young age.
Although he’s had problems with the law, Malone has channeled most of his anger and resentment into his music. He’s produced hit studio albums like B. Inspired and The Resurrection, and both reached the top 10.
Giggs first started gaining traction in the UK rap scene when he released his debut album, Walk in da Park, in 2008. When he released his fourth album in 2016, it reached number two on the UK charts.
Giggs was born in Peckham, a suburb of London. He was born to Caribbean parents, and their influence helped him during the start of his career. Giggs began working as a DJ, mixing classic house beats with Jamaican-inspired reggae beats.
When Giggs first began gaining attention, critics quickly labeled him as another grime rapper. But Giggs has always rebuffed that label. Instead, he wants people to hear the unique sound he’s come up with on his own.