20 British Rappers You Should Know


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.

Click to start the list

  • Slim

    What about Jordan from Rizzle Kicks

  • http://www.pigeonsandplanes.com Constant Gardner

    “Down With The Trumpets” was fun but Rizzle Kicks certainly aren’t on the level of any of these guys. In fact they’re more pop than anything else.

  • http://www.pigeonsandplanes.com Jon Tanners

    I have been a card carrying member of American Hip-Hop Fans For Jehst since 2002. See also: Klashnekoff and Lewis Parker.

  • james thomas

    even in the uk most of this stuff is pretty underground, though some acts like prof green and Wiley are huge. there’s a lot of good stuff here. i’d also recommend Ghostpoet Skepta JME, Mikill Pane, tinchy stryder and Wretch 32

  • Cage

    Where’s Kano??

  • http://twitter.com/aboynamedandy aboynamedandy

    Not gonna lie, I was expecting this to be condescending and heavy on the mainstream, like “hey guys, this is Example, the best British rapper ever!” But this is legit. Props on including Trim and DELS.

  • http://twitter.com/aboynamedandy aboynamedandy

    ^ Oh, what James said. JME, Ghostpoet and Mikill Pane are definitely worth a mention, too.

  • Me

    Klashnekoffshould be on this

  • bash

    Kano and dizzee uks premier rappers??

  • Kerry

    What about Funky Dl he a good british rapper too.

  • http://nada Sligeach

    Lunar C, give him a listen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0h7E5D7pWQ

  • Carl B

    I’d probably throw in:

    Scrufizzer, J Spades, Dizzee Rascal, Kano, JME, Wretch.


    rejjie snow is also worth checking out.
    he’s irish though

  • me

    No Dirty Dike?!! Crazy…

  • odbc

    Is Tinie Tempah disregarded because he’s really pop? He had a song with Wiz a year or two ago.

  • http://www.thedailystreet.co.uk jb

    Dizzee, Mikill Pane, Lioness, A.dot, Roxxxan are all worth checking out. and SHAKKA.

  • http://www.pigeonsandplanes.com Jon Tanners

    EQVVS – we already know too much about Rejjie Snow around these parts…http://pigeonsandplanes.com/2012/11/rejjie-snow-says-he-is-captain-murphy/

  • mh

    oh wow a decent variety, fliptrix baxter and jehst are all dons. could have done with chester p or skinnyman in here tho surely?

  • sam

    plan b should definitely be on here….

  • hotchkins101

    Mike Skinner should have been first on this list.

  • Confusion

    We chose to highlight only current rappers

  • Confusion

    Figured everyone knew him

  • http://www.pigeonsandplanes.com Jon Tanners

    SKINNYMAN good call MH.

  • Kieron

    Kano,Sway and Dizzee deffo need to be in the top 10 of this list. For me, when Kano goes for it, he can’t be touched. Sway’s wordplay is on a level of its own. Dizzee deserves to be here just because of his earlier work.

  • hotchkins101

    I thought the point of the article was to showcase the UK’s best rappers, past and present. No one comes close to Mike in my opinion.

  • Confusion

    We talked about that but wanted to focus on guys that are currently rapping.

  • Tom

    Skinnyman, Rodney p, task force, phi life cypher? It’s criminal not to include these hugely influential artists! Prof green… really?!?!

  • marrica

    only Devlin is interesting here

  • marrica

    and Akala

  • konrad

    Mikill Pain should of been included Confusion – besides that cool list, its broad and informative, good job

  • Rob HM

    Foreign Beggars ‘Asylum Speakers’ is one of my favourite albums ever! Good list, nice to see the British scene getting some recognition.

  • kate

    the list seems popular!

  • Kacky

    british rappers havent made it in america because they suck. wiley is bumped by chavs with shitty cars. im embarrassed to be english when it comes to our rap content. there are credible english rappers like TY and others, but they dont touch the surface when it comes to the mainstream – the day we get a rapper with half as much talent as someone like k dot, who has the same exposure and buzz, ill be very impressed.

  • J A Y

    agreed, im british and i dont think british rappers are anything special. maybe its because of our audience/audience size

  • Don G


  • Carl

    Hmm I dunno quite a few of these I do agree but the spectrum is very narrow if I’d have to put Dizzee Rascal, Wretch 32, Mike Skinner, Kano, Savvy or Asaviour, Cappo, Skinnyman, Rodney p, task force, maybe even Slick Rick if we were getting technical.

    This list lack a solid knowledge of Hip Hop/Rap from the UK

    But hey its a process….

  • Jayaa

    Nice to see love for UK rappers states side but in my op Wretch 32 n Kano should have made the list

  • Plan A

    Some of these comments are retarded. They said only current rappers, so stop asking why Mike Skinner isn’t on here. Kano and Wretch 32 are shit. Everybody knows Dizzee. And this doesn’t say “every famous british rapper ever” so theres really no need to mention every british rapper ever that isn’t included.

    And to Carl, “hmm i dunno quite a few” and then you say “lack of solid knowledge”??? fuck outta here

    Solid list, good mix of artists.

  • Jetsfoo21

    pretty good list p&p (honestly i was mostly looking to see if you had Roots Manuva and GhostPoet) i will give all them a listen

  • Who wrote this

    Whoever wrote this should never write again, no SWAY no KANO???

  • Oz

    can’t even respect this website anymore for not putting mike skinner aka the streets here, he is probably one of the all time greatest lyricists in hip hop period in the world, his up there with the greats just cos of his flow he doesnt get the credit he deserves his way ahead of his time his body of work? pfff

  • Confusion

    @Oz We only included current artists on this list. Mike Skinner retired as a musician. And we assumed that most people even in America were familiar with Mike Skinner.

  • Vaughanteezey

    Some good picks on the list.

    Professor Green and Devlin suck major balls.

    Best are Roots Manuva and Jehst.

    No taskforce?

  • Dan

    The fact Kano isn’t on this list when, he’s sold more than 80% of the people who are, and is more established when you consider that he’s making moves into acting, demonstrates that whoever sourced this material either isn’t actually from the UK and if they are, shouldn’t be writing for Complex as they don’t know anything!

  • Dan

    Also – just to counter the comment that Kano isn’t “currently rapping”…

    Included on this list are people on this list who have ZERO full label albums, Kano has four.

    Included on this list are people who are mainly (atm) mixtape rappers, Kano released two mixtapes this year, and two further last year.

    So if the people listed are ‘currently rapping’ because they have dropped a mixtape then by definiton you’ve f’d your own arguement up. Equally even though he deserves is place 110%, Roots Manuva hasn’t dropped anything this year.

    This list is good, I wouldn’t say great, but it’s good, you’ve included some great underground guys and omitted people like Sway and Estelle who would’ve definitely got alot of collective groans. But own the mistake, there are people missing from this – Klashnekoff is definitely a good example of another.

  • http://soulfoodforthekidz.blogspot.com Shaadiq Haynes

    Am I the only one missing Elro?

  • konrad

    Christ you lot need to calm down, the list is fine

  • Kieron

    To be honest I’m just glad lists like this are being made, but I have to say, it was written for American’s with the title ’20 British Rappers You Should Know’, and I am certain most British people don’t know who some of them are. Still don’t understand why Kano and Sway didn’t get a look in. Ghetts being there is good. And at least the was no Tinie Tempah…

  • http://www.pigeonsandplanes.com Constant Gardner

    Dan, the currently rapping point was in response to people complaining about Mike Skinner not being on the list, not regarding Kano.

    Clearly, this list is not based on sales (or acting skills). Do you want Example and N-Dubz included?!

    A broad, cross-genre list of 20 rappers is, by definition, going to be “missing” some artists, as there are a lot more than 20 fantastic British rappers.

    You’re a big Kano fan, that’s nice, and up to 140 Grime St he was killing it. The guy obviously has it in him to regularly release sick music, and I hope he gets back to it. But 140 grime Street was 2008, and since then he released that stupid Rock N Roller tune which was basically electro-pop, and Method to The Madness, mainly spitting over Boys Noize/Hot Chip produced electro beats. The Jack Bauer 2.4 mixtape was alright but nowhere near his 07/08 tapes. So enough Kano chat please.

  • Danny

    What about sonny jim, dabbla, braintax, Lewis Parker, life mc, all these names should be on that list

  • http://prophetnofortuneteller.com/ Haikucoup

    Did someone mention Rizzle Kicks and Wretch 32? Jokers!!

    Great list of current rappers, if it were a list of old and new, inventors and innovators of the UK sound pre-grime then Roots Manuva, Braintax, Tricky, Rodney P, Skinnyman, Lewis Parker, Klashnekoff, Dirty Diggerz and TaskForce would all need to be included, Braintax, Tricky and Diggerz representative of the regions outside of London.

    Shocked that Jehst didn’t appear here as ‘Dragon of an Ordinary Family’ was one of the best if not the best UK hip-hop album of last year.

  • Davy

    how you got all these artist who half aren’t even real rappers and you could not put S.A.S or Euro Gang on the list. wow those guys are the best from the UK hands down. this list sucks.

  • Dan

    I’m actually not that big of a Kano fan Constant (good film btw) actually what I’m saying is, that if you compile a list of people and you are talking about “currently rapping” then you have to include people who have released recently if you include those who haven’t, if you are talking about sales then you have to include people who have sold well (for UK hip-hop) if you include people who haven’t sold sh!t, if you are talking about hip-hop heavyweights then you have to talk about people who have managed to get a label deal (ESPECIALLY anyone who got one pre 2010) if you include people who’ve only release mixtapes so far, if you are talking about “rappers you should know about” then by definition you have to include ones who are crossing genres (not just muscially but artistically – because let’s be honest Wiley may have a certain prominence in the underground scene but for a mainstream name his presence is still pretty underground) if you are including ones who will never be more than a one layer artist (and that’s not a diss to any of the names included).
    For me, this is a good list, and whilst I agree with the statement about 140 Grime St. (though if you consider the Top Boy route he’s taken, it’s hardly suprising his music fell off a bit when he’s switched up to acting – and I actually though quite a few tracks of Jack Bauer were decent, and considering Kano isn’t a producer, what beats he’s spitting over seems pretty irrelevant to me) the fact of the matter is, when you consider the names that HAVE made this list due to talent, presence, prominance or how big their name is, to not include Kano is, as I said, a ‘mistake’. And, that is all I said.

  • adam

    D Double E, best MC in the whole world, not just UK.

    “Armed to the teef, ready for the beef
    if ya really wanna see ya bredrin get deceased.
    Draw for tha piece from underneath the fleece,
    turn his headpiece into a 3-piece.
    Your ni**as on the road, they dont want a piece,
    dont really wanna go through all the grief.
    You cant get touched? Is that your belief?
    My mandem specialise in beef.
    Which bredrins gonna back your beef,
    when four different man they got a piece to ya cheek.
    For what you believe in, you got a cheek,
    and because of that, man will make you look WEAK.
    Inside or outside on the street,
    you dont wanna **** with the wrong brers this week,
    you’ll be left with a lump on ya head like a Sikh,
    and you’ll be good food for mandem to eat”.

  • adam

    more Double…

    “Think you’re a big boy, coz you got a beard.
    Bullets will make your face look weird.
    Draw for the mash, quickly disappeared.
    Left you there coz I never cared.
    Into the car, slam it into the gears.
    For what I’ve just done, could get years.
    Heart is cold and I got no fears.
    Shed no tears.
    No MC compares.
    I’ve been badding up MCs for years.
    From way back when they used to wear flares.
    Bout that time you opened your ears.
    Im gonna climb to the top like stairs.
    Think youre a big boy coz you go gym.
    Bullets will cave your whole face in….”

    Come on, this is NOTHING for Double, this is MINOR. You’re telling me there’s someone better. PLEASE…Anyone who knows, knows what I’m talking about.

    If you don’t know, GET to know…

  • adam

    “Head get mangled, then dangled,
    to the side, just like I wear my Kangol.
    Nowadays I’m on arms, just like a bangle.
    Try test me, get manhandled.”

    “When my bullets hit ya chest,
    you’re gonna have to rely on the NHS.
    Think MCing is a game of chess?
    How you gonna play chess, with no chest?
    I suggest that you take a rest.
    Don’t wanna get mixed up in mess.
    I’ll turn your shirt into a string vest.
    Even bullet-proof vest cant test.”

    Or, recently…

    “Oh gosh, oh golly.
    I’m not a wasteman, I’m not a wally.
    Man can’t push me around like trolley,
    I’ll kick off his head with a Pele volley.
    Watch him spin around just like dolley.
    Man can’t suck me, I’m not a LOLLY.
    Man cant reign on me, I got a BROLLY.
    And I got the game IN THE POCKET, like POLLY.”


    Double needs to be known WORLDWIDE. He needs to be NUMBER ONE. These people just don’t know. He’s the most respected grime artist of all time, but that ain’t enough. People need to know EVERYWHERE. He’s too good for us to let him slip under the radar like this.

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  • D-A

    I’ll just pretend you didn’t leave out: Kano, Chip, Scorcher and WRETCH 32, you let out Wretch?? Weak.

  • D-A

    If you want good UK Hip-Hop download Wretchercise (2012) http://rapidgator.net/file/32954927/Wretch32-Wretchercise.zip.html

  • D-A

    Devlin – Off With Their Heads (Feat. Wretch 32) If you want bars, click the link!!

  • Feelix

    The absence of Flowdan and Killa P is inadmissible


    Wretch 32 isnt on there?…..thats a piss take!!!

  • Manolo Garnix

    Decent list. But where is KANO? Where is Wretch 32?

  • al

    No Kashmere? really?

  • http://www.keeponrepeat.com C3POH

    Definitely left out Phaze One, Super Dertie, Skout, DJ Motive and the rest of the Piff Gang crew. Some of the best hip-hip coming from the UK

  • punchiepunk

    I love reading the comments more than the people named on the list. I get a real sense of underground from the actual people that listen to the music instead of just listing what is popular.

  • jeff

    new generals are from north London

  • Hye Fidelity

    How is Plan B not included here?

  • Star

    No skepta?! WTF

  • NGD

    DVNNY SETH isnt on here? Come on…

  • modi.

    where’s skepta at?! JME!? they pretty much run it.

  • khal

    i think the idea is that those are MCs people know, so no need to mention, as opposed to guys you may not be up on.

  • col12

    watch tim westwood tv all freestyle some us cats on aswell eminem snoop drake

  • MikeAzrael

    #1 Lowkey
    #2 Akala

  • Zee

    These are all good but theres another Great upcoming RAP ARTIST known as Candy Trill’zz here is a link to some of his work… amazing talent https://soundcloud.com/candytrillzz

  • SOuthG

    what about j spades, blade brown, fekky, youngs teflon, wholagun you missed baaare names out

  • SouthG

    na they aint u sidman there from newham (East!) hence the name

  • MikeAzrael

    This list is ranked on the song at the bottom.

  • bean


  • brad

    they’re not fully british

  • Will Smith

    3. english frank
    4. logic

  • ow!

    wheres shotty horroh? wtf lmao

  • bob the cat

    slick rick bro?!

  • Lucchi Supremeson

    Lucchi Supremeson . is not on this list nor Propa Nor M.E nor Illicit Nor Shanti Scars Nor Omega The Ending .

  • Lucchi Supremeson
  • Savz

    because he’s a shit actor who’s second choice was spitting, his 1st choice was always to sellout, that’s why he makes tracks for little girls and wannabe bad boys now

  • Bill

    Though maybe not these days, Task Force were top of the game 1999-2006. I don’t think they have been matched. Jehst is certainly the main contender to them.

  • PtotheN.

    Mudmowth, Jehst, Akala…

  • MikeAzrael

    Type in on Youtube Lowkey – Who said I can’t do grime

  • Zen

    D double e, K koke , some Devlin all the rest are corny bres where’s Big H he’s the 1.


    How I Roll, BLACK BALL Rolling.

    Big up the black.

    Black ball rolling.

    Keep it rolling .

    Can’t roll back.

    Never go back.

    Can’t be kept back.

    Keep it black.

    Black ball rolling, rolling, rolling.

    [Volvo’s rolling.](2028326)

    We know that.

    Latin that.

    It ain’t flat, keep it rolling, rolling, rolling.

    Big up the black ball.

    I roll that.

    You know that.

    Bet on black, bet on black, bet on black.

    Back ball rolling.

    Can’t go back.

    Never go back, bet on black,, never go back.

    Black ball rolling ,rolling ,rolling

    Bet on the black ball, black ball rolling, bet on black.

    Black ball rolling.

    Bet on black, bet on black, bet on black.

    Ps: This is whatever you want it to be, rap song, rock song, rapped in poetry.

    By Darren Cronin


  • Ergh

    Buggsy <3

  • frank

    See his TED talk dumbfuck. He raps to send a message to kids from shity neighborhoods. To not do shit or take shit.

  • Kickor

    Funky DL?

  • goodzdwayne

    mic righteous an durrty goodz should be on this list!!!!!

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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


  • 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


  • 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.

  • Adollah87

    As an american ive been listening to only uk music since 2005. uk stand up but the issue here is why dont brits have luck crossing over here.well i’ll help with this america’s music scene has become retarded dumb down chat about bullshit. stop supporting corny american artists and support your homegrown talent.80’s-00’s american rap was good then all these wack rappers got through telling everybody ignorance was cool. dont americanize your music.keep it original and americans will come begging.we are tired of these drakes and lil waynes wit no content getting exposure and underrated uk artists not getting a brake because some people are not smart enough to understand accents ,witty wordplay, diffterent topics over a rapid flow. well i say thanks to grime for getting me to think out the box. ps to get noticed more over here get a good hype squad, maybe some tours plz oh yeah i rate most of these mcs posted but is only 20 enough because i can put another 30 more to this list lol

  • Don Feno

    love my music the song work is for the u.k. coming to do shows soon http://www.reverbnation.com/alldaywitit

  • jabuchan08

    The reason Brit rap doesn’t connect with me is that it has a tendency to sound off-beat to me. That’s not to say it doesn’t have a structure of its own, but it doesn’t seem to have the same hard emphasis on the flow structure matching the beat structure the way most American rap does. When I hear an American rapper change it up and rap “off-beat” I’m like “cool that’s an idiosyncratic style,” but since Brit rappers seem to do it ALL the time it just sounds weird to me. That’s just my impression from the British rap i’ve heard.

  • underneathit

    paper plates yes fam greazy !!

  • cunt

    Lunar C

  • Morris_b

    One of the best rap songs I ever heard was from a UK sampler promoted back on Myspace. Union Jack or something like that. “No friendship or trust/ And in this world all we got it us..” the chorus went..Damn. I tried to do the right thing, not download and buy. Now, I’m out. :-P lol

  • Rob M

    and why is not these guys in the list:


  • Somebody, that’s all.

    I think he’s saying that you should at least understand music if you’re going to call yourself a fan.

  • Bn1dan

    J spades? Joe black? Klashnekoff?

  • Matthew Walker

    I’m not sure if it’s “off-beat”, just a different flow. However, this is the problem with trying to cram the artists into a “UK sound”. They are British & doing hip-hop, but you simply cannot compare people like Phi-Life Cypher to Wiley. I think if people judged the entirety of US rap because a few US artists they had heard sound weird, or can’t rap then it would be far less popular as a genre than it is. Fact is, a genre is just a vague guideline to a particular sound but we always have the artists we prefer within that sound, even when we are “fans”. Nobody likes EVERY artist just because they are US Hip-Hop, so nobody should dislike EVERY artist just because they are UK. If you are into the music, whether it be US or UK or wherever, you keep digging in order to discover those artists which do appeal. I’m not big into Grime, for example, and much of the reason why is I don’t particularly like the flow, but then their flow is what separates Grime from just being Hip-Hop. Many of the artists above a Grime artists, altho he does include a few very good British Hip-Hop MCs such as Jehst and Fliptrix. Their flow is impeccable, as are their lyrics, and I don’t see how anybody could hear them as being “off-beat”. Rodney P, UK’s original (recording since ’87 & still going strong) is simply 1 of the best Hip-Hop artists around, US or UK, and he is very much “on-beat”. Check out tracks such as Task Force’s “Cosmic Gypsies”, Phi-Life Cypher’s “Herbaholics”, Aspects “Correct English”, Fliptrix’s “You’ll Never Change”, Lewis Parker’s “Visions of Splendour”, Rodney P’s “Riddim Killa”, Foreign Beggars & Dr. Syntax’s “What Goes up” . . . . the list goes on & on but just check any or all of those tunes for starters & tell me if you still think UK Hip-Hop is off-beat.

  • Matthew Walker

    Lol, & not Jehst?

    Foreign Beggars and Roots Manuva are deserved of any UK list also

  • jabuchan08

    Hey, thanks, for the tips. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think all “grime” (I guess that’s what I was listening to) is bad, and when I say “off beat” I don’t mean “no rhythm,” I just found that style to be a bit disconcerting when it seemed to be encompassing all of Brit-rap that I heard. I also didn’t mean to imply that I haven’t liked any British rap that I’ve heard. I was trying to give an explanation for why Americans don’t connect with UK hip-hop – as filtered through my own experience.

    I like a lot of hip-hop of different nationalities and backgrounds, but I think it’s a bit different when people are rapping in a language you don’t understand. When that happens their particular idioms, slang, and cultural references don’t seem as idiosyncratic or unfamiliar, whereas when a UK rapper raps about tea or cricket it’s a little jarring to an American – neither of those seems very “hip-hop” – but I guess that’s a very insular American attitude to take. Finally I would say that Americans probably have a lot of stereotypes of Brits that don’t jive with their hip-hop sensibilities. I guess we all need our horizons stretched a bit sometimes though.

    Anyway, thanks for the track suggestions. I’ll be checking them out, and hopefully some of them will fit my palate for hip-hop and rap music.

  • Matthew Walker

    Now these are BIG UK tunes. You Americans listen to these tracks and tell me UK Hip-Hop isn’t up to the job:

    Phi-Life Cipher “Herbaholics”

    Fliptrix “You’ll Never Change”

    Paro & Bil Next “Weedmasons Anthem”

    Foreign Beggars & Dr. Syntax “What Goes Up”

    Task Force ft Braintax & Jehst “Cosmic Gypsies”

    and there’s plenty more where they came from

  • StunnaJ
  • StunnaJ

    [soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/127664192″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

  • dbz

    where is dike

  • Heather Jones

    I grew up listening to punk and 90s hip hop and the music actually had a message….It wasn’t always a nice or direct message, but the message was there, nonetheless. We used to read the lyrics on the sleeves of the tape cassettes, because we wanted to know. Today’s rap is all about gangs, violence, crimes, drugs, partying, sex, b’s and hoes, money, success and bling…and it’s all wrapped up in thug image and glorification. Does art mimic life? Or does life mimic art? Both. Today’s American rap does nothing but perpetuate the cycle of everything that is sick in American society. I teach at a court placement school for teenage delinquent boys and these boys are the target audience for todays rap. This generation is over-influenced by media and image; Look what today’s simple, shallow rap and hip hop is feeding our youth….they all want to be like that mush-mouthed, ignorant, fool Lil Wayne. The rap of today has one message only and it’s particularly relevant to our youth struggling in the inner-city who sometimes don’t ever leave their own neighborhood. Instead of these children being given hope, all they hear is that growing up in the hood means you have to gang-bang, slang, and make those “hundos.” So why isn’t UK hip hop/rap making it in the states? Today’s youth won’t take the time to hear the message. All they want is deep bass and thug image. I recently started listening to British rap and it feels raw and makes me think. It makes me feel like maybe expression through music still lives. It gives me hope that rap hasn’t reached a complete dead end. I’m going to make my students listen to Akala….and then read the lyrics if necessary (They don’t call me “Damn Ms. Jones” for nothing!) Knowledge is power…………

  • Cash Khevy Music

    Some of you chat real bull shit. list of uk rappers? some start talking bout being black and american.. original. Hip hop is culture, making music your own is what its all bout not being a racist fuck. Some good names being put out for 2015 in the UK even if america is where hip hop came from dont mean it cant be modified to fit or inspiring for the music side of finding your own style. GRIME ?? tell me where dats from then. Rap is generally under the form of “spoken word” in whatever language. so what you sayin’?

  • Steve Ferguson

    How is Wrekonize not even listed here? He’s a Brit, and one of the most gifted artists out there right now. Him with ¡Mayday!/Murs/TechN9ne are killing it these days, albeit mostly in the States…

  • simon

    where the hell is KLASHNEKOFF?

  • James

    I heard a british rapper on the radio, anyway he had a sick song and I can’t seem to find it. Part of the song went “uhh uhh we hear the cops coming, but we aint gonna stop for nothing” anyone know it?

  • Laurie

    First of all I’d like to say that this post is very well written in that it definitely hits the nail on the head with the reasons for why UK Rap is not big in the US and the author has definitely put some of the very best we have to offer in the list. One of my favourites that wasn’t included in the list though is CasisDead formerly known as Castro, search up ‘Drugs Don’t Work’ in particular, he has a raw and aggressive style and he gets some crazy production.

  • Justin

    This list needs to be updated, and omit the grime artists. Not saying they aren’t talented, but Grime is totally different that the rest of UK hip hop. As a dude from New Jersey, I am privy to a lot of hip hop, and I can honestly say the UK scene is BY FAR, healthier, hungrier and honest. Jehst is standard. Respect to Roots Manuva, Black Twang, Skinnyman,Terra Firma, Supa T, Lewis Parker, London Posse, Task Force. The new blood, while not that new, has been given a golden road paved by the previously mentioned artists. The High Focus label, I mean come on, strength after strength. Fliptrix, Verb T, Jam Baxter, Dirty Dike, Edward Scissortounge, Onoe Caponoe, Ramson Badbonez, THE FOUR OWLS, Leaf Dog, BVA. Then you got Jack Flash, Defenders of Style, Sonnyjim and the Eatgood fam, Stig of the Dump, Confucious MC, Cappo, Triple Darkness fam. I could keep going and I don’t even live in the same fucking country! US hip hop with some exceptions, is stagnant and boring; bottom line. Oh UK producers : Chemo (Telemachus), Jon Phonics, Wizard, Ayepee, Molotov, Leaf Dog, Jehst (yes he produces, yes its ill)

  • Gabriel Niklitschek

    First of all I´m neither british nor american (south american). I wanted to hear some british hiphop because actually I like the accent. After hearing it for a while I realized that sounds quite similar to german hiphop with that kind of trap/techno/dubstep base. It´s definitely not Old´s School hiphop (at least not what I have heard by now) and I miss that gospel/jazz/blues/funk influence. Maybe I was just looking for the british version of American hiphop (Snoop dogg, Wu Tang Clan, Redman, Busta Rhymes, Mos Def, Biggie, The Fuggees and all that kinda stuff). If someone know a british artist like that please let me know

  • juken

    What about Mr Pane!

  • RandomDude

    wheres sway? durrty goodz? SKEPTA?

  • johnnyhandsome

    Dude try Jehst, Rodney P, Chester P, Kashmere.

  • http://peopleofwalmart.com YoMayka

    obviously American. this guys statement more ignorant than the one he was attempting to complain about. if i was as dumb as people like this i would think all euros were absolute hypocrites

  • eh

    aaaaahahahaha what was that?!?!?

  • Djmisbehaviour Deejays

    Where are Rodney P, Task Force , Ty , Maestro, Skinny Man and more
    lot of very influential elders should be on this list

  • Djmisbehaviour Deejays

    thats what i said too!!

  • Djmisbehaviour Deejays


  • L.P. Crooks

    Danny Seth yo – rappers used to rise up thru the streets and earn their cred before they made any albums or put out any bullshit. Danny Seth reminds me of Eminem 1997-2002 when he dropped the hottest shit ever. I see more rappers from the UK doing it the proper, old school way than anyone over here on either coast/down south/detroit rap is dead. Maybe you british blokes can revive rap as a true form or art

  • YeyaTruthSpiker

    I agree, I believe his lyrical ability is near-GOAT and his story telling hasn’t been matched by anyone British, particularly when he was more underground. Who needs actions when you got words is one of the best British albums of all time.

  • Mars

    I’m from the US and I think it’s just the accents. All the British hip-hop artists I’ve listened to so far have distinctly British accents in their music. I listened to some artists from this list and I liked some of the songs, but I can also see why a lot of American listeners would not like it. I think a lot of music genres have an accent associated with them, in the case of hip-hop, that accent is a black American one. The further one strays away from the sound (and accent) that’s already established with the genre, the harder it is to be accepted. It’s the same way with some other music genres as well, for example, American country music. It has a certain accent associated with it, and if one strays too far away from that accent, it will generate “WTF” type responses from a lot of people.

    A lot of British rock and pop acts take on American sounding accents and I think that helps them do better in the US market. Iggy Azalea is an Australian who became popular in the US doing hip hop, but she takes on a black American sounding accent when she performs. I don’t think she would’ve had the same success if she performed with an Australian accent.

  • Bill


  • Goomba Fasse

    No chester P, Farma G, Trellion, Figment….. this guys are mostly garbage. Even the guys on this list I like a little I only like a little. Very hit and miss, and the rest pure garbage. The black shakespeare is illiterate next to the MCs i just mentioned.

  • Nick

    No joe black?!?!? That’s a joke

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