Aitch has been a prominent figure in UK music since his emergence in 2018. Aside from Bugzy Malone, the ‘Taste’ emcee has been one of the only acts from Manchester to impact the UK rap scene significantly. Beginning his music career in 2016 as a grime artist during the genre’s resurgence, as the country pivoted towards drill, Aitch (real name (Harrison Armstrong) began to gain traction making such music.
Armstrong’s first mainstream appearance came with his track ‘Straight Rhymez 1’. The song accrued over a million views in less than a week and continued to grow from there. Aitch is arguably the first white hip-hop artist from the UK to get accepted in the mainstream.
Although many came before him, such as Devlin, Benny Banks, and Harry Shotta, his less aggressive, less intimidating and more laidback delivery made his music more palatable. Furthermore, he is the first white emcee to arrive since the UK’s decline in interest in US hip-hop.
Timing played a big part in Armstrong’s rise. The 2014 resurgence of grime saw a massive influx of artists uploading freestyles and music videos to the internet and with songs such as ‘Ain’t On Nutten’ having over four remixes, the nation’s scene was crowded and highly saturated.
However, the tail end of this era saw the youth begin to focus wholly on drill, and Armstrong, as a figure not from the Capital, entered the scene London-centered scene reasonably early. In an interview with The Telegraph about the beginnings of his career, Armstrong explained how he felt entering the culture, stating, “I was like the odd one out, but maybe that was a bonus,”
Since his arrival, other white MCs have arrived in the mainstream, one of the most notable being Arrdee, who recently released his track ‘One Direction’ alongside Bugzy Malone. Arddee’s rise to fame arguably resulted from a feud between Russ Millions and Aitch that saw the former include Arrdee on a remix in place of Aitch to show his replaceability. However, instead of fight the pair collaborated on a track entitled ‘War’.
In a recent interview on VLADTV while in LA, Aitch was asked about the current state of the UK scene and to name his five favourite UK rappers. You can see who he picked below.
Aitch’s five favourite UK MCs: