So the UK grime scene has exploded over the past couple of years with names like Stormzy and Skepta getting some international acclaim thanks to links with global Hip Hop artists, however, the beauty of the scene is much deeper than those names.
Here are 5 names you may or may not know:
Kano is a London native and widely regarded as one of the early drivers of the Grime scene in the UK. With his album P’s&Q’s released in 2004, Kano has evolved over the last decade or so. Nowadays he has a slightly lighter edge to his music but still has roots in his grime heritage. For a real English feel check out T-Shirt Weather in The Manor or for a real grim flavour listen to 3 Wheel-Ups, which also features Wiley and Giggs, the latter also in this list.
Bugzy Malone hails from Manchester, the spiritual home of Oasis, Happy Mondays, Take That and your very own SimplyBe. Bugzy Malone probably epitomised the grime scene a bit more closely than Kano. His hard edge lyrics and down-to-earth lyrics feature subjects similar to early Hip Hop tracks. Whilst not known for commercial success to see his softer side check out Beauty and The Beast. If you want to savour something more typical of Bugzy Malone, listen to Wasteman his 2015 diss of fellow MC Chip.
Giggs has been round for a while. Plying his trade by shifting mixtapes on the streets of London and gradually making a name for himself. Despite his length of time in the game, he still refuses to mould his style to target commercial success. His edgy lyrics and dirty beats make him one of the true grime artists of the current time. The fact he has now featured on tracks with Drake and appeared alongside the Canadian rapper at Reading festival has probably increased his profile. Check out Lock Doh which also features Donae’o
AJ Tracey is relatively new to the scene and may even be unknown to some readers from the UK. He first emerged back in 2012 with various mixtapes but first sent out published music in 2015. Whilst some of the references are very English and as a Tottenham Hotspur fan, also very football (soccer) specific, his lyrical ability is critically acclaimed. So much so that he was recently listed as “one of the best new acts to catch at a festival”. If you aren’t afraid of football related lyrics check Thiago Silva, False 9 or The Lane. However, if that is a step too far, check out Pasta, which is a track much more akin to the US hip hop fraternity.
Devlin completes our list and shows the dominance that London has on the grime scene. Devlin was signed by Island Records way back in 2010 when he was in his early 20s and forming part of The Movement alongside names like Wretch 32 and Ghetts. Devlin’s debut album Bud, Sweat and Tears was released in 2010 and led to the Londoner being put on the BBC Sound of 2010 List (widely acknowledged as the tastemaker for new emerging acts in the UK). London City is perhaps his most accessible track on that album, essentially showing how great London can be on a lovely hot summer day. If you fancy listening to something more recent check out Cold Blooded.
If you think we missed anybody we would love to hear your views. Also, if you listened to any of these for the first time, let us know what you think by adding a comment below.