Hip hop in The UK has its fair share of heroes. From Rodney P to Skinny Man, from Sway to Wiley. Each of these artists has helped Britain find its feet with regard to hip hop, and on his 50th birthday, we’re going to take a look at the impact of the legend that is Roots Manuva.
In the mid to late 1990s, while US hip-hop was thriving, Britain was undoubtedly struggling to find where it fitted into hip hop culture. With acts such as Big Brovaz rapping in American accents, there was en masse confusion.
The Black British youth were primarily influenced by what their parents played. For the children of first-generation Windrush immigrants, this would have been genres such as reggae and calypso. Yet, with American hip hop being such as dominant force in Western popular culture, they were yet to see someone like themselves doing it.
The UK has seen many hip-hop-orientated genres emerge over the years, each with a slightly different sonic bringing a healthy mixture of aesthetics and sounds. While, of course, the lines remain extremely blurred as to what is hip hop, what is grime, what is trap and what is drill etc. it’s impossible to say that the UK doesn’t have talented rap artists.
Below we have compiled 25 of the most essential UK hip hop tracks from across the years to give you a comprehensive understanding of UK hip hop.
The 25 best UK hip hop tracks:
- ‘Flo Fashion’ – Sway
- ‘Witness’ – Roots Manuva
- ‘Fix Up Look Sharp’ – Dizzee Rascal
- ‘P’s & Q’s’ – Kano
- ‘Get Out My House’ (remix) – The Streets
- ‘Gangsters’ – Wiley
- ‘Shakespeare’ – Akala
- ‘London City’ – Devlin
- ‘Who’s The Daddy’ – Benny Banks
- ‘Ina Di Ghetto’ – Wretch 32 ft Ghetts & Badness
- ‘Play’ – CASISDEAD
- ‘Pass Out’ – Tinie Tempah
- ‘Frisky’ – Tinie Tempah
- ‘Skillzone’ – Wiley ft Ghetts, Griminal, Manga, Frisco, Double S, Scratchy & Big Shizz
- ‘Gas Mark 9’ – Ghetts
- ‘Ain’t On Nuttin’ – Yungen ft Sneakbo
- ‘Know Me From’ – Stormzy
- ‘Konnichiwa’ – Skepta
- ‘Defeat Us’ – The Square
- ‘Space’ – Dizzee Rascal
- ‘Aitch’ – Taste
- ‘Keisha & Becky’ (remix) – Russ Millions ft Tion Wayne
- ‘Rumours’ – Ivorian Doll
- ‘Clash’ – Dave & Stormzy
- ”Stuttering’ – P Money ft Chip, Dizzee Rascal & D Double E