Here’s How These Artists Are Redefining UK Hip Hop

slowthai: Bringing Punk to Grime

Wrapped up in a grimy, unruly kind of energy, Northampton-born slowthai first officially made a name for himself back in 2017 with his debut EP I WISH I KNEW. Showcasing a venomous spit, scribbled tattoos all over his chest and a schoolboy attitude, the rapper stepped onto the hip hop scene and instantly turned heads. But slowthai’s sound was not a familiar one. Despite harking back to the roots of the genre, slowthai brought in spooky and punkish elements to shift the narrative of grime and make it more experimental.

Aitch: Bringing Pop to UK Hip Hop

The youngest of the three, the now 21-year-old Manchester native Aitch was busy making his rounds in the underground UK hip hop world when his 2019 hit ‘Taste (Make It Shake)’ blew up and landed him a spot at number 2 on the UK Singles Chart. From there, he’s propelled into the mainstream. How mainstream? He’s jumped on an Ed Sheeran remix.

Loyle Carner: Bringing Sensitivity to UK Hip Hop

For South London’s Loyle Carner, it was his struggle with ADHD as a kid that made the rapper intricately entwine emotion and soul into hip hop. That, he believes, and being raised entirely by women. With a soft touch that acts more like spoken word poetry, Carner brings a whole new layer of honesty to UK hip hop and isn’t afraid to get too vulnerable. He lets his mum recite a poem on both his 2017 debut Yesterday’s Gone and his 2019 follow-up Not Waving, but Drowning (and publicly call him ‘my scribble boy’), features instrumentals from his late stepfather and opens up about isolation, adolescence, family and racism.



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