Intro to UK Music


In 2019 Top Boy (series 3) came out on Netflix after a six-year hiatus, and the world binged.  I was one of those bingers. Pretty sure for a month, I ended every sentence with ‘bruv,’ and I don’t regret it. While multiple things about the show were dope, the music was as great as the storyline. I have always been a fan of UK artists, and I would argue that some of the best music currently comes out of the UK. While I tend to have more knowledge on R&B and Afrobeats coming out of that region, I asked blkcory (our resident music guru) to make me a UK playlist (back in 2019). The playlist was to introduce me to other genres of UK music, predominately UK Hip Hop.

The playlist below is a playlist from 2019, the era of Top Boy releasing and the music around then. I would like to call it an Introductory to UK Music By Someone Severely Underqualified

But first we start with a few of my favorite UK Hip Hop artists:

“I’m a top like Sonny but darker”

Dave is a rapper, producer, singer, songwriter, and actor. Funny enough, he was in Top Boy and played the antagonist, which maybe I’m biased, but that seemed incredibly unfair. I truly believe his character was misunderstood. Dave has worked with some heavy hitters. I believe he is an excellent introduction to UK music (as non-UK listeners) as his flow is more articulated, slow compared to others, and you can catch the UK slang quicker. For a young artist, he has made a pretty big name for himself annnnnnnnnnd I’m in love with him. I usually don’t like younger guys, but.. alas, I like Dave a lot. In an alternate universe where Dave reads this, marry me?

What song you might know: Location ft Burna Boy

My Favourite: Professor X

“Fuck the government and fuck Boris”

Stormzy is a beautiful velvety-skinned man who I would like in my life. I keep forgetting this is a music piece and not my journal, so let me digress (maybe this is why blkcory usually does the music reviews?) Stormzy might be the biggest grime rapper currently that I (ME NOT YOU) know of in the industry. As a public figure, he is big on giving back and has a Cambridge scholarship program for Black UK students. I also respect him wholeheartedly as he is a vocal political activist in his country. Stormzy was also the first-ever UK rapper to headline Glastonbury which clearly shows he’s a big deal.

What song you might know: Vossi Bop 

My favourite: Rachael’s Little Brother

Headie One
“Spend this bread on jewels or spend it on smoke, man spend it on both”

Headie One is a UK hip hop and drill artist (drill artists tend to rap heavily on the subject of violent and criminal lifestyles). While Headie One has a rich criminal background with many violent past traumas, he takes those moments in life and transforms them into music consumers can relate to. Headie One has also collaborated with some big names like Drake and UK’s Stormzy and has a long road ahead.

What song you might know: 18Hunna feat Dave

My Favourite: Both

J Hus
“You laugh with the opps, you smile with the opps
You gon’ cry with the opps, make him fly with the opps
You’re filthy, guilty by association”

J Hus is known as one of the pioneers of ‘afroswing’, a mix of trap, hip hop, afro-beats, and dancehall music. J Hus took his Gambian roots and his UK upbringing and mixed them to create his sound ..and what a sound. Still, relatively young J Hus hasn’t even mastered the genre of music he has pioneered, and I am excited for his journey to excellence.

What you might know: Did You See

My Favourite: Must Be

Now here is the playlist you’ve been waiting for

(OH and before I forget, bchee made the playlist cover photo….. yes it is my face photoshopped onto Skepta’s body…)

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