20 British Rappers You Should Know

uk-wiley

Why Doesn't UK Rap Crossover to the US?

Rock bands and pop artists from the UK have never had a problem crossing over to the US and experiencing tremendous popularity—look at The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Adele, Coldplay, Queen, Amy Winehouse -- just to barely scratch the surface. So, why can’t the same be said for UK rappers? Rap seems to be the one genre that cannot handle the jump to the American stage. For a society that typically idolizes anything Anglo (Royal Wedding Fever, for example) we have not yet embraced the UK rapper. Could it be the accents? Do we not understand their pop culture references? Or is it merely a case of Americans being satisfied with what we already have?

There is an old saying that The United Kingdom and The United States are two nations divided by a common language. This becomes even more apparent in the international hip-hop community due to the genre’s heavy reliance on slang and colloquialisms. It could be argued that it is easier for our friends across the pond to embrace our rap because they are already accustomed to our slang and speech patterns. Many American television shows and movies are popular over there, giving them a leg up on catching subtle references in songs. Outside of Hugh Grant movies and the Harry Potter franchise, British films and TV shows do not have the same impact over here. Instead, we take great British sitcoms and put an American twist on them, look at The Office and The Inbetweeners for example, further depriving us of an opportunity to gain insight into the British culture.

Their accents could also be to blame when it comes to their lack of fame in the US. For a country that is smaller than eleven different states they have much stronger variations in accents than we do. In most cases, Americans love British accents, ladies think they are charming and guys get a kick out of their pronunciation of words like penalize and the fact that rubbers are erasers. However, when you couple their accents with music and increase the speed that they are talking, all of a sudden the bloke you were having a chinwag with has become unintelligible to American ears.

Since hip-hop’s roots can be traced back to American soil it could simply be a case of Americans not being open to new interpretations of it just yet, i.e. grime. Compared to other genres hip-hop is still relatively young and even younger abroad, maybe in 5 or 10 years these points will all be moot. In the meantime, while you may have heard of Dizzee Rascal, there is so much more great music coming from the other side of the Atlantic that you should check out, so read on and get familiar.

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uk wiley 20 British Rappers You Should Know

  • Music Matters

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  • Music Matters

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  • Music Matters

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  • bruda

    I think the biggest problem of the uk guys is, that they aren’t cool enough to make straight raps. Also they’re white. On my opinion that’S are only 5 of them in the world at the moment who can spit like a pro. Yelawolf from Alabama, his Homie Rittz, Rem Digga from Russia and the 2 Bros, called BNT Bros. from Munich.

    1. https://soundcloud.com/yelawolf/yelawolf-party-prophet-ft-dj

    2. https://soundcloud.com/rittz/for-real

    3. https://soundcloud.com/rem-digga/8teiqjdgmllv

    4. https://soundcloud.com/dntbroductions/th-street

    https://soundcloud.com/dntbroductions/sets/halloween-special-v

  • misfiled6

    what about rejjie snow/lecs luther?

  • Chris

    None of those guys are from the UK. This is a list about UK rappers, not about some Americans, Germans, or Russians.

    Also, you’re missing the fact that there are plenty of black British rappers who are just as good as American ones. They’re plenty cool enough to make straight raps, you’re just listening to the wrong rappers, really. Not everything hip-hop is American.

  • matchstick

    No klashnekoff?? No Chester p!?

  • BadaBadMan

    Sinister Stricken uses abstract rap to the best effect in the UK, hands down, if that’s your kinda thang

  • DARA

    PAPER PLATES!

  • Steven
  • Crack-Pot

    Seems to be a fairly noble cause.

  • eckerslike

    You talk about all the good UK rap Americans haven’t heard of–fair enough–and about all the accents in the UK–also fair enough–but then the lion’s share of your choices seem to represent a very narrow band of UK hip hop, i.e. London, even more specifically, the East End. So what you’re really name checking is cockney rap, not the same thing as UK rap. What about Birmingham, Liverpool, Leeds, Manchester, and other big cities?

  • eckerslike

    Some obviously American dickhead here complains that the problem with UK rappers is that they are all “white.” Is he serious or what? Perhaps he hasn’t looked at the list above. Perhaps he hasn’t noticed Eminem’s complexion. Perhaps he watches too much Downtown fucking Abbey and doesn’t know that Englan’ is pretty multiracial these days. Or maybe he’s one of those American suburban white boy rap fans–you know, the suburban white ones who talk all “hard’ in the big houses with the big yards and the three bathrooms. The ones who wouldn’t last two minutes in any big English city’s inner city, any more than in the American hood they have never been within a million miles of (as opposed to listening to the “sound” of it on the car CD so loud it bounces up and fucking down at the traffic lights–wankers). Give respect to the fans actually from the US hood, and the rappers who are really from there–but spare us from these suburban American white boy “hip hop fan” wankers, and the Black ones from the same social class who can mimic the appropriate chat.

  • JZA

    Where is Rodney P?

  • Jarrad Hurley

    Jehst all day. shouts from Aus

  • Jarrad Hurley

    Braintax? Taskforce? Mystro? … You guys forgot some good ones!

  • ?????

    Skepta?? JME?? Klashnekoff??

  • Havatit

    I think the biggest problem with rappers transfering from the UK into the Us, Is that to Americans the British accent on a beat rapping doesn’t apeal to our eardrums, don’t get me wrong I have major respect for the words there saying I’m not calling them bad lyricists or vocalists for that matter its just the way we interpret there accents, along with the quick flow of words, and the heavy beats doesn’t appeal to our ears. I don’t think the race things a big deal ether, I don’t understand how that keeps coming up, America’s gotten a little more diverse ya know, like last year some dude with a beard and a wicked hat won the war against owning people of a different skin color so ya thats progress, dont see it goin to much further then that though, they made a movie about him I think he was killing vampires in it though not to sure what that has to do with freeing people but hey its hollywood, pretty sure his name was Blade and he like to play with linkin logs or something like that. And none of that matters anyway because really when it comes down to music its all about personal preference and being able to relate to the song and being that most people in the US no little to nothing about UK hood life or trouble period over there, mainly because they don’t broad cast news stations in McDonald’s or Burger king, but my point is we’ve become estranged from culture and life over there, I mean there’s Americans that go over and visit but there looking at pretty things and not touring the worst parts of London, and I can’t imagine many of them actually listen to rap music anyway. Well I’ve pratteled on for far to long, and if you did read this hole thing don’t be a prat write something, I’m all about constructive criticisms.

  • You’re Welcome

    how the fuck is Wretch not on here!?

  • http://www.realistikradio.com/ Realistik Radio

    I am not trying spam, but we are an American broadcasting Company looking to put on dedicated shows from rappers in other countries other than the United States. We hold licenses for our broadcast’s and report our numbers. I don’t usually spam messages, but seeing as this is very relevant to this blog post, Maybe our company can help put some UK artist’s in the eye in the US.

  • Luke

    Where is Mike Skinner (The Streets) without him and Dizzie this list wouldn’t exist.

  • awol oneee

    who ever put this together has no concept on what hip hop is, the only 3 in there that should be are fliptrix, jambaxter and lowkey.
    1 possessed
    2 psiklone
    3 bill shakes
    4 lee scott
    5 dirty dike
    6 salar
    7 king grubb
    8 stig of the dump
    9 BVA
    10 skirmish.

  • Jez Hickman

    oh paper plates thought it was a gza tune diisssing 50 cent

  • Jez Hickman

    its based on slang so if u dont sound american it dont work cant knock plan b on ill manors tho its not like hes come from a good background why woulndt he profit look at dizzy popped up to the nnines

  • Jez Hickman

    he spat before he acted

  • Jez Hickman

    call people like diizzy a sell out

  • Jez Hickman

    do u blame them

  • Jez Hickman

    i agree some people

  • Jez Hickman

    people havent listened to the tune “fallin down”

  • Jez Hickman

    its money and fucking iggnorance look out ya back door sometime rapped up in their network social called lives

  • Jez Hickman

    they all after the the uk slang now thats the new

  • SketchyK

    Are you saying Rap should be exclusive?

  • SketchyK

    I’m more of a ‘Horrorcore’ core fan (but if it appeals then I can dig it) and I’m loving variety from both sides of ‘the pond’ – Jedi Mind Tricks, Vinnie Paz, Rhyme Asylum, Jam Baxter, Orphans of Cush, Dr. Syntax, Foreign Beggars, Immortal Technique, Leafdog etc… I guess in a way I’m ‘fortunate’: I’m from South Africa where we get equal amounts of American and English culture. The dialects work differently and so influence the style and flow of lyrical delivery but because the english we speak here is closer to the Mother Tongue I feel the English rappers more these days. And i think Rap should be colour-blind, because when we stop making an issue of skin colour, it won’t be an issue (duh!). I am a low-middle class white guy that’s staring 32 in the face, I’ve been listening to Rap since De La Soul, Bone Thugs n’ Harmony, 2Pac, Notorious, (early) Busta Rhymes, Method and Red Man. Just because I’m not black and didn’t grow up in the ‘projects’ doesn’t mean I can’t identify and connect with a track / song. It still speaks to me and nobody knows where someone’s life story has come from or where it’s going. I am a ‘cracker’ that loved Rap during the last days of Apartheid. I didn’t choose my race and living condition. Does that mean I can’t listen to what appeals?

  • Nitz Grinda

    #1 sinister stricken http://youtu.be/2fz6SxbGzXA

  • Nitz Grinda

    yes bredda this is ancient alien rap. cope sinister stricken – chaos theory. Get ready for sinister stricken – divine madness coming soon.

  • hunter

    Coming from an american, Ive really been getting into the british rap, and the whole “grime” thing being one of the roots of dubstep (one of my favorite genres) I say keep doing your thing brits!

  • GBt

    If you want to listen to real UK Hip Hop you should be checking out Rodney P, Skinnyman and Scorzayzee not this bunch of muppets.

  • dak1ng

    what about DIZZIEE RASCAL ? he is the best english rapper -_-
    and where’s klashnekoff too ?

  • Chubby bunny

    Eminem is way better then most of these rappers but i really like p money now this song has a nice beat.