2016 was undoubtedly Grime’s year in the spotlight. Reaching far across the Atlantic and globally soon after, the genre has brought a hyper-focused attention towards UK music from the rest of the world, and there doesn’t seem to be any let up in terms of musical talent burgeoning on our quaint island.
So, we look to five of most esteemed rising UK rappers that we think will have a big impact in 2017, and who have already left a considerable impression on us. Keep your eyes and ears locked on these guys people!
1. Knucks – @knucks_music
North West London producer/rapper Knucks made impressive ground in 2016. Following his Nas-inspired debut mixtape Killmatic, the young Kilburn resident received a lot of attention for his unique blend of UK rap with a more state-side jazzy/soulful production sound. His lyrical prowess is accomplished, he makes all his beats and he’s a huge fan of Sade – what’s not to love?
Sierra Leonean South London artist Brother Portrait is a breath of fresh air for 2017. With a penchant for spoken-word poetry mixed with laid-back hip-hop and stunning visuals, the artist drew a lot of attention at the tail-end of 2016 with his debut EP navigate in: limbo (and appearing in our Advent Calendar 2016). We don’t know what to expect for 2017, but we’re hoping more of the below.
He’s also one third of hip-hop trio Black/Other, who we recommend checking out too.
3. Che Lingo – @Che_Lingo
Another South London talent who had a big year in 2016 was Che. ‘Channelling The Waves‘ brought a lot of industry attention and we hear he’s now signed some sort of deal with a major that will cement his talent this year with a much wider reach internationally.
4. Kojey Radical – @KojeyRadical
East London wordsmith Kojey Radical is a bit of an enigma and undoubtedly one of the most exciting UK talents for 2017. Alongside his impassioned music that straddles socio-political hip-hop and spoken-word, he’s also the creative director of media agency Push Crayons and at one point oversaw art direction at menswear brand Chelsea Bravo.
There seems to be an unstoppable amount of creativity beaming from this guy, and a glance over his videos so far will explain everything. Peep ‘Bambu‘, ‘Footsteps‘, ‘Open Hand‘ and our own session with him outside Parliament for more.
5. Jords – @JordsOnline
We must admit we’re late to Jords but lots of love has been thrown his way after he released an album called Means To An End back in September, which included a few features from Rhythm Section’s Jordan Rakei.
’08’ was a highlight off the album for us, shape-shifting through three genre sections of hip-hop, grime and poetry in one track. Peep it below and you’re bound to have a watchful eye on him too this year.