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RAP RADAR: 10 UK RAPPERS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT…

Updated: 23/08/17          Written by: Natalya Davies

Since the breakthrough of Grime into the UK mainstream’s consciousness around 2016, the nation’s rap scene has flourished into something very exciting for music lovers. This breakthrough made way for an appreciation of the drill, dancehall and afrobeat fusions of artists like J Hus, Yxng Bane and IAMDDB, making UK music a serious contender globally.

As a homage to this recent success, I wanted to spend some time putting together a collective of my favourite UK rap talents across a number of different genres, however, I wanted to use my platform to do this differently.

We all know that the AJ Traceys and Giggs’ are HOT on the music scene, so picking artists like this would make for a completely predictable listing; despite their worthiness to be entitled the hottest UK rappers of the modern day. No, for this piece, I wanted to challenge myself to feature only artists with under 100k monthly listens on Spotify* so that I could truly showcase the underground kings and queens that you may be missing out on!

So, without further ado, here are the top 10 rappers you need to know about…

 

10. NOVELIST

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Monthly Listens: 28,000*

For Fans of: Asco, Ambush Buzzworl, Youngs Teflon

First in the list, but last in my ranking is Novelist, a 19 year old MC and producer who has certainly put his stamp on Grime culture in London. Through features with the likes of Skepta, Kanye West and Tom Misch, he is rapidly proving his versatility and potential despite being such a young artist.

“So, if Novelist has worked with the greats, why is he so under-the-radar?” – you may ask. Well, this is likely the result of his devotion to the underground rap scene, assuring that a traditional route (not dominated by social media strategies and D2C marketing) is the way he wants to keep things. Who can blame him?

Recommended track: 10/10

9. JAM BAXTER

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Monthly Listens: 46,000*

For Fans of: Fliptrix, Verb T, Dabbla

If you’re looking for something truly underrated, Jam Baxter’s poetically cryptic and mysterious lyrics versed with atmospheric Hip Hop beats and dark imagery makes for a very interesting mixture – indeed.

“Excellent Donut” featuring Ed Scissor was the track that originally brought my attention to the rapper, its alluring layers yet minimal structure are bound to instantly hold you captive.

Recommended track: For A Limited Time Only

 

8. BARNEY ARTIST

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Monthly Listens: 80,000*

For Fans of: Loyle Carner, Alfa Mist, Chris McClenney

Barney Artist, from East London, is different to anything else featured on this list – a very special addition, in fact. If you are a fan of  Hip Hop, chill vibes and relaxing soul beats, then look no more, Barney is exactly what you have been looking for.

After numerous collaborations with Neo-Soul royalty Tom Misch, Jordan Rakei and Alfa Mist, Barney is quickly becoming one to know within this scene.

Recommended track: I’m Going to Tell You

 

7. NADIA ROSE

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Monthly Listens: 98,000*

For Fans of: Stefflon Don, Lady Leshurr, Yungen

One thing that is apparent in the behaviour of young rappers is the need to be daring  and harness a confidence that is indestructible, however, with Nadia Rose, this captivating swagger is so convincingly natural. Rose, who also happens to be the cousin of Stormzy, has a striking dexterity in the rap game, similar to the likes of Lady Leshurr.

If you want a taste of this addictive prowess, simply head over to her video for “Stations” where you can see her rapping on train tracks – without permission!

Recommended track: Skwod

 

6. MAXSTA

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Monthly Listens: 48,000*

For Fans of: Ghetts, P Money, D Double E

Despite being a rather underground artist, Maxsta is a well renowned and experienced name in the Grime scene – however, his position says nothing about his talent; simply that he is unwilling to compromise his sound to appeal to a larger audience.

His music perfectly encompasses the brutal essence of Grime, in a way that is extremely authentic. For anyone that is even merely interested in UK rap, Maxsta is a must-listen.

Recommended track: Guns and Roses

5. REEKO SQUEEZE

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Monthly Listens: 39,000*

For Fans of: Recky, SL, Harlem Spartans

Originally a member of popular Drill crew ‘Section Boyz’, Reeko Squeeze is a UK rapper that is proving to be one to watch over the next year. Despite finessing the ego and hard edge that is essential in the rapper aesthetic, Reeko possesses a likeability and drive that is likely to win you over, even if the music is not for you.

This infectious drive is sprinkled throughout Reeko’s tracks, mixed with a boyish cockiness, making for an unforgettable combination.

Recommended track: Diablo

 

4. REEKZ MB

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Monthly Listens: 48,000*

For Fans of: AJ Tracey, Abra Cadabra, MoStack

Reekz MB is another truly underground artist, his music often shedding light on the harsh reality of growing up as a young black male in the nation’s capital – without filter. There is an undeniable aggression to Reekz’ style accompanied atop hypnotic drill beats, making him a great listen for those that are big fans of the underground rap scene.

With Drill groups like Harlem Spartans and 67 dominating London’s South-side, it is likely that this is not the last that you will hear of rappers like Reekz.

Recommended track: Blueprint

3. SUSPECT

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Monthly Listens: 86,000*

For Fans of: Avelino, Fredo, Skepta

Labelled an “underground king” by many,  Suspect isn’t your average UK rapper. Not one interested in the fame and fortune that haunts so many younger rappers, Suspect is truly here to establish himself as a serious artist – making music worthy of respect and high regard.

You don’t need to do your research to learn this, however, a quick listen to his albums “Loading” (2017) and “Still Loading” (2018) will tell you this about the rapper. There is an evident natural aggression yet certainty to his sound, similar to the likes of Skepta, projecting the “no messing” attitude which has captured the attention of American audiences.

Recommended track: One Way

 

2. DOUBLE S

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Monthly Listens: 33,000*

For Fans of: Ghetts, JME, Black the Ripper

Double S is another one of these incredible talents that successfully manages to slip under the radar – making him more stylishly distant than underrated. However, despite being somewhat isolated from the public eye, the London MC’s monthly listen count reflects nothing on the gems that are waiting to be discovered in debut album “Double Vision” (2017).

With collaborations from Grime heavyweights JME and Wiley, “Double Vision” is a release fueled with the fastest lyrical flows and an infectious bravado, making this a release which should be on the radar of all grime fans.

Recommended track: Secret

 

1. KNUCKS

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Monthly Listens: 95,000*

For Fans of: Big Tobz, KwolleM, Yung Fume

For an avid music fan, I appreciate nothing more than an artist striving to infuse their own unique flavour into their work, and this much can be said for North-West London rapper Knucks. If his witty yet staggeringly suave nature isn’t enough to have you hooked, then his self-produced soul infused beats should surely do the trick.

Despite releasing a rather typical ‘Afrobeat’-inspired track “Hooper” featuring Not3s, Knucks is one of very few UK rappers that can not be defined – quite similar to rap’s lovable rogue, Dave. Knucks does not limit himself to certain styles and beats, instead, his experimental nature makes for some of the most interesting sounds currently circulating the London scene.

Recommended track: Vows

 

 

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Releasing new music or a new project? Email aamusicblog2017@gmail.com or contact via instagram @ABSOLUTELYAUDIO for review/article enquiries. More information is available via the contact button on the homepage.

 

GIVING INTO GHOSTS – “LET THE EARTH SLEEP” REVIEW 2018 | ABSOLUTELY AUDIO

Updated: 29th March, 2018              Written by: Natalya Davies

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FOR FANS OF: ALEXISONFIRE, ARCHITECTS, BURY TOMORROW

RATING: ★★★★✰ 

Cardiff metallers Giving Into Ghosts are back and better than ever with a follow-up to 2014’s explosive ‘Chasing Waves’ EP. Newly released single ‘Let The Earth Sleep’ looks likely to be the start of something extremely special…

 

One of the most special moments a music fan can have is watching an artist or band grow in their musical career and it can be said that Giving Into Ghosts have come very far since their debut. ‘Let The Earth Sleep’ is a wonderful representation of musical growth as it features their usual addictive fusion of metalcore and post-hardcore, however this time, perfectly polished and finely tuned to create an extremely mature track.

An aspect which will likely work in the Welsh four-piece’s favour, is that they have managed to secure a distinguishable sound from very early on in their career which means that it will be easier for them to create a sense of presence and identity within a genre that is so saturated with bands creating virtually identical content.

Guitarist and singer Mikey Thomas’ distinctive and infectious vocals seem to draw the listener further into the song each time they interject into the verses in a manner that is truly hypnotic. As one would expect, the most impressive part of the song is, in fact, the chorus, whereby Thomas’ pop-esque vocal style proves to be a true asset to the band.

‘Let The Earth Sleep’ is likely to be one of the most important releases of Giving Into Ghost’s musical career, one which is on its way to a very bright future.

 

Giving Into Ghost prepare to release their second EP titled ‘Let The Earth Sleep’ on April 4th which will available via iTunes and Spotify.

 

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN: ‘LET THE EARTH SLEEP’

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN: ‘CHASING WAVES’

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Releasing new music or a new project? Email aamusicblog2017@gmail.com or contact via instagram @ABSOLUTELYAUDIO for review/article enquiries. More information is available via the contact button on the homepage.

1. DAVID BOWIE – THE RISE AND FALL OF ZIGGY STARDUST AND THE SPIDERS FROM MARS (1972)

Image result for david bowie the rise and fall of ziggy stardust and the spiders from mars

And here we are finally!
My number one favourite album of all time; and for those who really know me, this one is not a surprise at all.

David Bowie was inevitably going to fall into the number one position because in my opinion, no one compares. The hard part, though, was figuring out which album of his was my favourite because they all differ greatly in comparison.

As you can see, ‘The Rise of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars’ was the one that I have decided is the best in my eyes and while this may seem like a cliche answer but I do have my reasons.

Firstly, Ziggy Stardust is hands down the coolest character that has ever been created, and you know it. An androgynous and mysterious alter ego with a striking red mullet and the glitziest of skin tight uni-tards but regardless of what Ziggy Stardust looked like he would still be cool because of what he represents – and that is to simply be you and love being you.

As an openly bisexual figure in the music industry around the 1970’s, Bowie was one of the first to stand up and fight for, not only acceptance for himself, but so many other British youths who battled with hiding their true identities in what was such a sanctimonious society. This album signifies the start (or at least even had a small impact) of change in the thought processes of society which I feel is an extremely special thing.

Secondly, the album from ‘Five Days’ right through to ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide’ is the very definition of a masterpiece. Bowie had the rare talent of being able to catapult the listener into his very own world and when I listen to this album, I do find myself often lost among his stories and words.

This is an album I will most certainly treasure for my entire life.

RECOMMENDED TRACKS

‘Starman’

‘Lady Stardust’

‘Ziggy Stardust’

Want to get involved? Comment below your favourite albums of all time!

2. DON BROCO – AUTOMATIC (2015)

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When it comes to music, one of the things I appreciate most is when an artist or band strays from the crowd and strives to create something completely original, or at least infuse their own style into a genre. This is something you will see is especially the case with my top two favourite albums.

Don Broco hit the UK music scene with a pretty standard hard rock album ‘Priorities’ in 2012, quickly becoming, somewhat, the sweethearts of British rock. Although an impressive debut album, what followed completely changed my thoughts on the four piece.

‘Automatic’ which was released in the summer of 2015 is exactly the rock album I had been waiting to stumble upon for years. It is the perfect fusion of pop and rock with an unexpected but much appreciated hint of funk that is bound to leave you mind-blown.

Album opener ‘Superlove’ braces the listener for the quirky, pop riddled anthems scattered throughout, while self-titled track ‘Automatic’ follows which is the closest thing to the ‘sound of summer’ that I have ever heard. There are also unexpected heartfelt ballads such as ‘What You Do To Me’ and ‘Nerve’ which are just as infectious and euphoric as the more upbeat numbers.

After what feels like the longest wait, Don Broco are finally unveiling their third studio album ‘Technology’ in February 2018, so if you like what you’ve read so far, the best is yet to come.

RECOMMENDED TRACKS

‘What You Do To Me’

‘Superlove’

‘Nerve’

Want to get involved? Comment below your favourite albums of all time!

3. BRUNO MARS – 24K MAGIC (2016)

Image result for bruno mars 24k magic

If 24 karat gold is the purest form of gold then the same can be said of Bruno Mars and his 2016 release ’24k Magic’. He is of the purest form of modern musicians currently in the mainstream limelight and his music is nothing less than just right.

What differs this album to his previous releases ‘Orthodox Jukebox’ and ‘Doo-Wops and Hooligans’ is its clear homage to R’n’B throughout the ages and what is most impressive is that he manages to make it appeal to a younger audience that may not have been interested in this music otherwise.

Personally, I grew up around lots of R’n’B and Soul music of the mid 80’s to early 90’s such as New Edition and Boyz II Men so this release was like a refreshing hit of nostalgia from my childhood, except with the addition of the glitzy, luxurious and sexy finish that Mars is known for.

He has successfully encapsulated the ‘old school’ retro vibes throughout this stunning album, from the upbeat party tracks like self-titled track ’24k Magic’ and ‘That’s What I Like’ to the more thoughtful and typical ‘school dance’ slow songs like ‘Versace On The Floor’ and ‘Calling All My Lovelies’. Since the album’s release, Mars has been the subject of much speculation due to recreating a sound that was once so popular, but what’s to criticise about an artists passion towards their favourite music?

RECOMMENDED TRACKS

‘Finesse’

‘That’s What I Like’

‘Straight Up and Down’

Want to get involved? Comment below your favourite albums of all time!

4. ASTROID BOYS – BACON DREAM EP (2016)

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If you haven’t already jumped on the Astroid Boys hype then fear not, their exciting journey has really only really just begun.

A boyish five piece outfit from Cardiff, South Wales, Astroid Boys are one of the handful of bands that I have had the pleasure of watching grow into something extremely promising. Their fusion of hardcore and grime influences create a sound unlike anything currently in the UK music scene, more effective than any fusion of metal and rap that I have ever stumbled across previously.

‘Bacon Dream’ is a collection of songs that differ so much in contrast but manage to compliment each other perfectly at the same time. There are grime influenced electronic songs like ‘Rinsa’ and ‘Tayluh Swift’, hardcore influenced songs like ‘Dusted’ and ‘Mingin’ and just when you thought they couldn’t do any more, they even included some experimental downbeat hip hop influenced tracks like ‘Giggs’ and ‘Hungerstrikes’.

Despite the fact that they are doing something completely different, what I find most attractive about this act is the energy and attitude displayed in their music. It’s raw, loyal to it’s roots, all mixed with a cheekiness and cocky certainty that any aspiring band should have.

So, if you haven’t already, I highly recommend you give this EP a listen.

RECOMMENDED TRACKS

‘Rinsa’

‘Tayluh Swift’

‘Dusted’

Want to get involved? Comment below your favourite albums of all time!

5. DRAKE – IF YOU’RE READING THIS ITS TOO LATE (2015)

Image result for drake if you're reading this it's too late

There is absolutely no need for me to introduce this artist. Drake has some of the biggest modern party hits under his belt, you’ve undoubtedly heard them whether you like him or you don’t – but believe it or not, these are nowhere near the best of his work.

If you like gloomy and moody R’n’B then this one is for you.

‘If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late’ appeared completely out of nowhere in the middle of the night. Its marketing strategy was to not involve any marketing at all, to simply let the music promote itself which is a very clever concept for someone as prominent in the genre as Drake.

One of the most intriguing aspects of this mixtape is the allusion to the subject of suicide. The album art itself is scrawled out messily looking much like what you would expect a suicide note to look like.

As well as this, the entire tone throughout this mixtape seems to be the many troubled voices battling each other in the artists’ head. The lyrics are irrational but self certain, filled with an inflated ego but anxious, hopeful but hopeless. This clear conflict in the lyrics makes for an extremely interesting and relatable listen as Drake takes you on a journey through troubles which tick in almost everyone’s mind at some point or another.

RECOMMENDED TRACKS

‘Energy’

‘Know Yourself’

‘Used To (feat. Lil Wayne)’

Want to get involved? Comment below your favourite albums of all time!