When people think of UK based rappers, the first names that will spring to their mind are often: Stormzy, Giggs, Skepta, Lethal Bizzle, Bugsy Malone etc.
Whilst they are all accomplished rappers in their own right, they’re certainly not for everyone. I’m here to give you the best of the rest – an alternative to UK grime; so without further ado here is the list of some of our favourite UK Hip Hop artists.
As one of the longest standing members of High Focus records, which has proven itself as one of the UK’s most prolific and leading labels for UK hip hop, Baxter is arguably one of the most accomplished artists to make it onto this list. Jam is not only a founding member of Contact Play way back in ’09 in the emerging stages of UK hip hop, but also a member of the Dead Players collective. Add to this an established solo career and you only begin to scratch the surface of Baxter’s longstanding career in the genre. Well-regarded as the UK’s top wordsmith, Baxter’s lyrical style is poetic, utilising puzzling yet effective imagery, his bars keep you rewinding to catch a second listen time and time again. Baxter has just recently dropped his latest project Mansion 38 and we hope there’s a tour to go alongside his new album…
As managing director of the High Focus Records label, Fliptrix also established solo career alongside forming one quarter of the critically acclaimed rap crew The Four’ Owls. He is undeniably one of the greats of UK hip hop. In his solo career Fliptrix has been releasing music consistently since the embryonic days of UK hip hop way back in ’07. His latest release, ‘Patterns of Escapism’ echoes much of the same quality as his work since then. With an archetypal boom bap beat matched with intricate synths and melodies and genius lyricism, Fliptrix’s work has few equals.
Currently one of the UK’s most well-known hip hop artists, Carner burst onto the scene in 2014 with his EP ‘A Little Late’. Pouring with emotion and melancholy, his first project was written in the memory of Carner’s late step-dad. The emotive style of Carner’s rap is something that resonates throughout his music. Focusing primarily on his family life and the transition into adulthood, singles such as ‘Baby Grey’, ‘Tierney Terrace’ and ‘Florence’ highlight this, and his debut album ‘Yesterday’s Gone’ is the pinnacle of the exercise of his rap style. If you’re looking for something that doesn’t pull at your heartstrings, then Yesterday’s Gone has a good combination of powerful emotive rap and more up-beat jazz influenced tunes that can give your tear ducts a break.
The 23 year old from East London signed to the Pink Bird Record label in 2012 with his self-titled Barney Artist EP ‘BAEP’. He then started turning heads with ‘Bespoke’. Co-produced by long-term friend and collaborator ‘Alfa Mist’, the album champions positive hip hop with a slow, mellow vocal and instrumental to match. His new album, Painting Sounds, is arguably his best to date. Working alongside producers Tom Misch and Jordan Rakei, as well as Alfa Mist each bringing a distinctive neo-soul hip hop fusion that mixes well with Barney Artists mellow, low pitch vocal.
Jesse James Solomon
With a confessional, introspective style and a flow unrivalled by other up-and-comings, Solomon is one to watch over the next year. Having been picked as one of the rappers on the Levi’s music project, working with artists such as Rejjie Snow, and promise of an album coming soon, this young rapper is proned to burst onto the UK hip hop scene. Watch this space.
A somewhat overlooked UK hip hop artist, Benaddict has been releasing tracks on and off for around 5 years now. He burst onto the scene in 2012 working with Dirty Dike on EP and then released several preview EP and mixtapes before dropping off the scene in early 2014. He then reappeared and continued releasing tracks consistently in early 2016, working with various producers and artists such as ‘Slim’, ‘Gas Lab’ and noticeably ‘Mr. Slipz’. Keep track of Benaddict’s Soundcloud for all his latest stuff.