The top 15 British rappers that are making it big in the new age hip hop scene
Hip-hop is a popular musical style that originated in New York City, USA, in the 1970s. Hip-hop music's popularity grew throughout the 1970s and 1980s, crossing international borders to enter Europe and the United Kingdom. Like in the United States, British hip-hop evolved as a scene, with supporters primarily listening to and being influenced by American hip-hop. Over time, British rappers emerged with their distinct styles and dominated the genre in various ways.
British rappers are some of the most followed celebrities in the UK. These stars have produced some of the best bangers that have dominated the airwaves for a long time, even influencing the hip-hop scene in America with the drill genre. From Central Cee to Stormzy, these rappers have become synonymous with the UK rap scene and have introduced the world to a niche previously known only in the US.
Top 15 British rappers
What are British rappers called? British rappers are known as Brit-hop or grime rappers. They derived their title from grime music, an eclectic form of British rap that arose in the early 2000s in London. Grime evolved from the UK garage music scene of the 1990s in London and combined hip-hop, rap, and hardcore techno influences.
The top British rappers making it big in the new hip-hop age include names you might have never heard before. So, who are these new-age rappers? If you like drill beats and road rap, you might enjoy the names on this list. Note that this list is not arranged in no particular order.
Harrison James Armstrong, better known as Aitch, is a white British rapper. Aitch has dominated the UK rap scene with 17 singles that have topped the UK 40 charts. His songs have topped charts in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, in addition to the United Kingdom.
Aitch's style is primarily Hip Hop, and he stays true to the culture by performing freestyles. Aitch was born on 9 December 1999 in Moston, Manchester, and will be 24 years old in December 2023.
2. AJ Tracey
Ché Wolton Grant, better known as AJ Tracey, is a top British drill rapper. Tracey began his career in 2009 but made his breakthrough in 2011 as Loony and Loonz. In 2017, his first mainstream EP debuted at number thirteen on the UK albums chart.
Tracey's self-titled album, released in 2019, received critical acclaim and peaked at number three on the UK album charts.
AJ's style is hip-hop, specifically grime, UK garage, UK drill, trap, dancehall, and pop. He works as a singer, rapper, songwriter, dancer, and record producer. Aj is a massive Tottenham Hotspur fan from Ladbroke Grove in West London.
3. Bugz Malone
Aaron Davies, better known by his stage name Bugzy Malone, is among the new age top British black rappers. Bugzy is among the key instigators of the grime revival in the UK.
Bugzy has released two studio albums, five mixtapes and three EPs. His 2017 EP King of the North peaked at number 4 on the UK albums chart. Fans have known the rapper to keep it accurate, becoming the first successful Manchester grime underground rapper recognised commercially.
4. Central Cee
Oakley Neil H. T. Caesar-Su, known professionally as Central Cee, is among the upcoming famous UK rappers. He rose to prominence in 2020 with the release of three singles, Day in the Life, Molly and Loading. His mixtape, Wild West, released in 2021, cemented his status among the top stars after it debuted at number two on the UK albums chart and number one on the UK RnB albums chart.
Central Cee hails from Shepherds Bush, London. He also dabbles as a model, appearing in Drake's Nike X Nocta collection on 6 April 2021 and Jaquemus' Neve World campaign in November 2022.
Who is the most streamed UK rapper? David Orobosa Omoregie, also known as Santan Dave or just Dave, is among the most streamed British rappers. Dave has enjoyed commercial success, releasing two studio albums and two EPs. His single Thiago Silva in 2016 was among the decade's most famous songs, ranking tenth on Complex's list of grime's most impactful songs of the 2010s.
Santan Dave hails from Angell Town, in the Brixton area of South London and is of Nigerian heritage. His music style is British hip-hop, poetry, conscious hip hop and UK drill.
6. Digga D
Rhys Angelo Emile Herbert, known as Digga D, is among the top British drill rappers. He rose to prominence in 2017 with his UK drill Collective 1011. His mixtapes Made In The Pyrex and Double Tap Diaries were charted on the UK Albums Chart at Nos. 11 and 3, respectively. Naughty By Nature, his third mixtape, was released on 15 April 2022 and debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart.
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Digga D is the founder of the record label Black Money Records (BMR) and is one of the pioneers of the UK drill scene.
Stephan Fabulous Allen, better known by his stage name Dutchavelli, is among the famous British rappers who grew up outside the UK. The rapper relocated to Rotterdam, Netherlands, when he was one year old, returning to the UK when he was ten. His childhood in the Netherlands influenced him to choose the moniker Dutchavelli.
Dutch has worked with Stormzy, Gzuz and Tion Wayne and has achieved Top 40 hits with the songs Burning, I Dunno, and 808, the former peaking at number 7 in the charts. He originates from Clapton in Hackney, East London and specialises in British hip-hop and UK drill.
Nathaniel Thompson, better known professionally as Giggs, is among the British rappers who have sold the most records. He started pursuing music in 2005 after being released from prison on gun-related charges.
Giggs and his SN1 crew started their career by releasing numerous mixtapes. They include Ard Bodied, Hollowman Meets Blade, Best of Giggs 1 and 2 and 3 and Welcome to Boomzville.
Giggs released the street anthem Talkin the Hardest in 2008, which helped his growing buzz. Afterwards, he released his debut independent album, Walk in da Park, on 4 August 2008, which sold out in most HMVs (His Master's Voice) in the first two days of release.
9. Headie One
Irving Ampofo Adjei, known professionally as Headie One, is a British rapper and singer of Ghanaian origin. Adjei began releasing music in the early 2010s under the name Headz as part of a Star Gang group. In 2014, he released his only mixtape under that alias, Headz or Tails.
In 2018 he released his second solo mixtape, titled The One, which included the single Know Better featuring rapper RV. Headie One is a member of the UK drill group OFB and is considered a pioneering innovator of the UK drill scene.
10. Little Simz
Simbiatu "Simbi" Abisola Abiola Ajikawo, better known as Little Simz, is a top female British rapper. She rose to prominence after releasing her first three albums independently. Her fourth studio album, Sometimes I Might Be An Introvert, received widespread acclaim.
Simz won the Mercury Prize in 2022 for her song Sometimes I Might Be Introvert, the Brit Award for Best New Artist and the Libera Award for Best Hip-Hop/Rap Record.
Dorai Harrison, better known as M24, is a rising British rapper. M24 began his musical career in 2016, releasing his debut mixtape, Drip N Drill, in 2020. The mixtape, which featured rappers Pop Smoke and Sneakbo, peaked at number 81 on the UK Albums Chart.
M24 released Knock Knock with Tion Wayne in 2022, which peaked at number 21. In March, HAZEY, Sneakbo, MIST, Jordan, and Trillz CB collaborated on a remix of the song.
12. Russ Millions
Shylo Batchelor Ashby Milwood, professionally known as Russ Millions, is a well-known UK rapper. In December 2018, he released the single Gun Lean on V*rgin Records, which peaked at number 9 on the UK Singles Chart. Russ Millions has worked with Buni, Taze, Tion Wayne, Digga D, Pressa, LD, and Dappy.
Skepta is a British-Nigerian grime MC, rapper, and record producer. He released his debut studio album, Greatest Hits, in 2007 and his second album, Microphone Champion, in 2009, both independently. However, his third studio album Doin' It Again, was released by AATW in 2011.
Skepta released his fourth studio album, Konnichiwa, in 2016. The album received critical acclaim winning the Mercury Prize the same year. Skepta is among the best UK rappers receiving nominations for three Brit Awards.
Tyron Kaymone Frampton, better known as Slowthai, is an upcoming British rapper. He rose to prominence in 2019 due to his gritty, rough instrumentals and raw, politically charged lyrics. Slowthai finished fourth in the BBC Sound of 2019 and released his debut studio album, Nothing Great About Britain, the following year.
Who is the most famous British rapper? Stormzy is among the most famous British rappers. Born Michael Ebenezer Kwadjo Omari Owuo Jr, the rapper has risen to prominence thanks to his unique lyrism and style.
His song Shut Up became popular and peaked at number eight on the UK Singles Chart. Stormzy was named Best Grime Act at the MOBO Awards in 2014 and 2015. His 2017 debut album, Gang Signs & Prayer, became the first grime album to top the UK Albums Chart. The album was named the British Album of the Year at the 2018 Brit Awards.
British rappers are, without a doubt, among the best in the world. These musicians dominated the local and international hip-hop scene for a long time, producing some of the genre's best rappers. Because of their close ties to the American rap culture, the UK was the other place outside of America where hip-hop developed in the early 1980s.
Yen.com.gh published an interesting article about the 20 best female rappers. Rap queens have long reigned supreme in both underground and mainstream hip-hop circles. Since the beginning of rap, there has been a steady rise in female emcees taking over the industry. These female rappers undeniably deserve a place among the industry's all-time greats.
The industry has seen great names such as Queen Latifa and Eve. If you like rap music, this list of the best female rappers of all time may interest you.