Hip Hop and Grime has been plastered all over the official UK charts over the years and it’s got no plans of slowing down any time soon!
With the UK delivering some of the best Hip Hop music from underground Grime artists as well as known established Hip Hop artists it’s no surprise that it’s being recognised world wide by some of the biggest names in music. In the past with the likes of legendary music mogal and successful business man P Diddy wanting a piece of our artists, the UK really does have skills in music.
Hip Hop is certainly not dead so join Flavourmag as we take a look at 10 of the biggest rappers to come from the UK to date! (This list is not a countdown)
Now I think it was obvious that Tinie was going to appear on the list as soon as I started working on it. Tinie Tempah needs no introduction but just incase you have been living under a rock for the last decade or so, I’ll give you one anyway. Tinie Tempah AKA Patrick Chuckwuemeka Okogwu is a 26 year old rapper from South East London. He released his first mixtape in 2005 which saw him become a well known underground grime artist. His first debut album “Disc-Overy” followed in 2010 which went straight in at number 1 on the UK official chart. With a little help from British artist and producer Labrinth, he scooped two number one singles prior to the release, which helped cause massive anticipation and a huge buzz for the albums release. Shortly after in February 2011 Tinie won two Brit Awards for Best British Breakthrough Act and Best British Single. Since then Tinie has taken on the world and worked with huge artists such as P Diddy (Diddy Dirty Money), Kelly Rowland, Wiz Khalifa, Rita Ora and many more. Not only has he secured his rights in music but the rapper has also become a Fashion icon and gained huge respect in the Fashion world. After a long wait Tinie Tempah finally dropped his highly anticipated second album “Demonstration” in 2013. Tinie we look forward to your next project, no matter what it may be!
Dizzee Rascal, also known as Dylan Mills, was born in 1985 and is a UK rapper with elements of Grime, Dance, Garage, RnB and Hip Hop in his music. Dizzee released his debut album “Boy In The Corner” in 2003 which won him the 2003 Mercury Prize! Prior to this Dizzee was creating a huge buzz for himself on the underground music scene with well received tracks such as I Luv U and Jezebel. Since his first album release the UK rapper has now released albums “Showtime”, “Maths + English” and “Tongue N Cheek” which have all been critically acclaimed and certified gold. His latest album to drop was cleaverly titled “Fifth”. Dizzee has been behind some of the most catchy UK rap singles to date such as Stand Up Tall, Dance Wiv Me, Bonkers, Dirtee Disco and Holiday. Not only has Dizzee Rascal had huge success on his own but he has also teamed up with some of the biggest names in UK music such as Cheryl Cole, Jessie J, Calvin Harris, Lilly Allen and many more. Dizzee Rascal we salute you!
Plan B is a rapper, singer-songwriter, actor and film director from London who is also known as Ben Drew. Plan B first burst onto the scene in 2006 as a rapper with his critically acclaimed debut album “Who Needs Actions When You Got Words”. His second release was the album “The Defamation Of Strickland Banks” in 2010. This was completely different to his first album as it was a soul record. It went straight in at number one on the UK Album Chart and was hugely successful. This album really put Plan B on the map! Musically he has collaborated with artists such as Chase & Status and many more. Not only is this young artist successful in the music game but he has also had success as an actor with roles in Adulthood, Harry Brown and The Sweeney to name a few. Plan B’s biggest movie debut came in the form of Ill Manners which was released in 2012. Ill Manners was wrote and directed by Plan B himself and was a massive successful UK film. Along with the film the rapper/singer released the films soundtrack album which scored Plan B his second number one album to date. This Kid already has a Brit Award under his belt and we are sure there are many more awards coming his way in the future!
Professor Green shot to fame off the back of winning The Jump Off MySpace £50,000 battle rap tournament in July 2008 and since then has continued to become a massive UK Hip Hop artist. Professor Green, real name Stephen Paul Manderson, is a 31 year old rapper and singer-songwriter from Hackney, London. Pro Green has got three successful albums under his belt and has bagged numerous chart topping singles throughout his career. He has worked with some of the biggest names in UK music such as Lily Allen, Emeli Sande, Example and many more. The rapper was originally signed to The Streets record label, The Beats, run by Mike Skinner but was unfortunately released from contract after it went bust in 2008. However after a successful tour with Lily Allen popular record label, Virgin Records signed the talented rapper to their books. Pro has received a tone of awards over the last few years such as two MOBO’s, an MTV Europe Music Award and an NME. After some time away from the spot light and a wedding to MIC star Millie Mackintosh the rapper is now back and we are ready to hear what eles he has in store for us!
Mathangi Maya Arulpragasam, or better known by her stage name MIA, is a British recording artist and is the first female artist to appear in our list. Her stage name “MIA” is both a play on her own name and a reference to the abbreviation for Missing In Action. Her music is made up from elements of electronic, dance and hip hop. MIA began her career in 2000 as a visual artist, filmmaker and designer in west London before beginning her recording career in 2002. The songwriter got her first taste of fame in 2004 when she dropped her singles Sunshowers and Galang with both tracks charting in the UK and Canada. She also reached number 11 on the Billboard Hot Dance chart. MIA has gained success in the music business with nominations for an Academy Award, two Grammy Awards and The Mercury Price Award. The contorversial rapper is best known in the UK for her huge hit Paper Planes. All three albums released by the rapper where released to universal critical acclaim and all three where successful around the world. MIA’s biggest performance to date was at the Super Bowl along side Madonna and Nicki Minaj. MIA grabbed headlines, and a lengthy court case, when she ignored all warnings and swore live on day time television during the performance. Here at Flavourmag we love a rebel and hope this isn’t the last we have seen of controversial MIA.
Wretch 32 first burst onto the UK music scene in January 2011 when he released his hugely popular debut single Traktor. Wretch was born in 1985 and is the son of a local reggae DJ from Tottenham, London. The rapper started out as a member of the grime collective “Combination Chain Gang” before he created The Movement with Scorcher, Ghetts and Mercston. Throughout 2011 the rapper had scored three top five charting singles from his successful debut album “Black and White”. His debut album received over a million record sales to date. Not bad for a debut album from a basically unknown Grime artist! In 2012 Wretch was used by big brands Adidas and Coca Cola as one of their faces for their 2012 Olympics campaigns. 2012 was also the year that saw Wretch 32 bag the BET Award for Best International Act. The successful rapper has teamed up with the likes of Cheryl Cole, L Marshall, Ed Sheeran and many more. We are eager to hear what’s next to come from this music genius!
Wiley, real name Richard Kylea Cowie, is best known as a Grime MC from Bow, East London. Wiley was born in 1979 and was also known, in his early career, as Wiley Kat. The songwriter, record producer and grime MC first saw success as a member of the garage crew Pay As U Go when they had a top 40 UK hit in the official charts. In the early 2000’s he shot to fame for his solo work and music that he released with his new crew Roll Deep. Roll Deep also consisted of Dizzee Rascal and Tinchy Stryder as members. Not only has Wiley stuck strongly to grime music but he has also released mainstream singles, such as Wearing My Rolex, Never Be Your Woman and his first ever UK number one single Heatwave. The rapper has worked with world wide successful singer Emeli Sande, Ed Sheeran, Tulisa and many many more talented names in the game. Wiley may not have gained huge mainstream success yet, like some of the others in this list, but he is definately the King of grime in the UK. Here at Flavourmag we have followed Eski Boy from the start of his career and we always love to hear what he has to offer next! Bow down to the King of grime!
Skepta AKA Joseph Junior Adenuga was born 19th September 1982 and is a UK rapper, grime artist, MC, songwriter and record producer. Skepta is best known for his work in the UK grime music scene and was originally a DJ for Tottenham based grime crew Meridian Crew. Meridian Crew disbanded in 2005 so Skepta and his rapper brother JME joined Roll Deep which also included another rapper from our list, Wiley. After Roll Deep Skepta become the founding member of Boy Better Know in 2006. Skepta released his debut studio album “Greatest Hits” in 2007 and followed it up by another independent release “Microphone Champion” in 2009. In 2011 the rapper released “Doing It Again” on record label AATW which is also home to ex X Factor judge Tulisa. Skepta’s success has been very similar to Wileys success where they both have not seen great success in the mainstream but have both gained huge respect in the underground scene. Skepta’s highest UK chartings were with single Rescue Me which peaked at number 14 and his album “Doing It Again” which reached number 19 on the official UK Album Chart. The rapper bagged the Best Video Award at the 2014 MOBO Awards for his track That’s Not Me. Keep doing what you’re doing Skepta because we are loving it!
Kane Robinson who goes by the stage name Kano is a rapper, grime artist and actor who was born in 1985 in the UK. In his early years Kano created a huge buzz for himself on the underground scene as a grime MC but quickly moved mainstream with many successful tracks. The rapper had a massive hit with Nite Nite that featured Leo The Lion and The Streets. The track reached number 25 in the UK official charts and stayed in the top 75 for six strong weeks. Nite Nite came from Kano’s highly anticipated debut album “Home Sweet Home” in 2005 which gained Gold status in the UK. The album was well reviewed across the British press and many artists in the UK and in America expressed positive views of the album including Busta Rhymes, Nas, Jay Z and many many more. Not bad for a debut album from an underground artist! The rappers second studio album “London Town” proved to be his most successful to date and reached number 14 in the official UK charts in 2007. Kano has worked with some huge UK names in the UK music business such as The Streets, Craig David, Dizzee Rascal and a tone more. The rapper has also gained huge respect and success in the acting game by appearing in Top Boy, Point Blank and Tower Block. Kano whats next? We can’t wait!
Lady Leshurr AKA Melesha O’Garro is the second female to appear in our list and is the youngest of the bunch, being born in December 1992. Leshurr is a female rapper, singer and producer from Birmingham, England. She is known for her solo work and work with Orbital by providing vocals for the title track off their 2012 album “Wonky”. The female rapper has released many Mixtapes and EPs throughout the years to get her name and talent out there for the public to see. Lady Leshurr appeared in UK girl group, MO’s hugely successful and very popular SBTV A64 video for their revamped version of, Brandys and Monicas 90’s hit, The Boy Is Mine. The rapper is yet to release an official album or an official single but she has already got everyone talking about her underground releases so far! Leshurr has been described as “the one to watch” by Paul Lester of The Guardian. Pretty cool for a young female rapper on the come up! Keep doing what you are doing Leshurr because it’s exciting everyone!
So there you have it! Hip Hop is clearing very much alive and has no plans of going anywhere soon! 10 of the best rappers to come from the UK to date so far. What do you think? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below and like always make sure you follow @Flavourmag on Twitter.
Words by Joe Waller
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