British hip hop
|British hip hop|
|Cultural origins||Early 1980s, United Kingdom|
|Derivative forms||Trip hop|
British hip hop, also known as UK rap, is a genre of music, and a culture that covers a variety of styles of hip hop music made in the United Kingdom. It is generally classified as one of a number of styles of urban music. British hip hop can also be referred to as Brit-hop, a term coined and popularised mainly by British Vogue magazine and the BBC. British hip hop was originally influenced by the dub/toasting introduced to the United Kingdom by Jamaican migrants in the 1950s–70s, who eventually developed uniquely influenced rapping (or speed-toasting) in order to match the rhythm of the ever-increasing pace and aggression of Jamaican-influenced dub in the UK. Toasting and soundsystem culture was also influential in genres outside of hip hop that still included rapping – such as grime, jungle, and UK garage.
In 2003, The Times described British hip hop's broad-ranging approach:
..."UK rap" is a broad sonic church, encompassing anything made in Britain by musicians informed or inspired by hip-hop's possibilities, whose music is a response to the same stimuli that gave birth to rap in New York in the mid-Seventies.
As in the US, British hip hop emerged as a scene from graffiti and breakdancing, and then through to DJing and rapping live at parties and club nights, with its supporters predominantly listening to and influenced by American hip hop. Unlike in the US, the British hip hop scene was cross-racial from the beginning, as various ethnic groups in Britain tend not to live in segregated areas, even in areas with a high percentage of non-white individuals. Such places allow youth to share culture with one another, including musical genres such as hip hop.
Cross pollination through migrating West Indians helped develop a community interested in the music. The integration of sound systems represent a distinct British Caribbean influence. Sound systems allowed for powerful syncopated bass runs and the ability to bring this sound to different venues creating a club culture. There were, however, British tunes starting to appear. The first ever British hip hop tune released on record was "Christmas Rapping" by Dizzy Heights (Polydor, 1982) and not (contrary to popular belief) "London Bridge" by Newtrament (Jive Records, 1983);.
There were earlier pop records which dabbled with rap – such as Adam and the Ants' "Ant Rap" (CBS, 1981) and Wham!'s "Wham Rap! (Enjoy What You Do)" (Inner Vision, 1982) — but these are often considered pop appropriations of US rap. Punk band the Clash had earlier dabbled with rap on the single "The Magnificent Seven" from their album Sandinista! (CBS, 1980), and a later single "This is Radio Clash" (1981).
Then Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren's "Buffalo Gals" (Charisma, 1982), featuring the New York hip hop group World's Famous Supreme Team, was the breakthrough hit that introduced the genre to the United Kingdom — McLaren's Duck Rock album as a whole experimented with many musical styles from around the world. "Buffalo Gals" and another track from the album, "World's Famous" which also featured the group, used techniques which have been established in hip hop in the United States, such as sampling and scratching. McLaren even included a song referencing the 'Double Dutch' dance that was popular among breakdancing crews in New York at the time.
Over the next few years, more UK hip hop and electro music was released: Street Sounds Electro UK (Street Sounds, 1984), which was produced by Greg Wilson and featured an early appearance from MC Kermit, who later went on to form the Wilson produced Ruthless Rap Assassins; The Rapologists' "Kids Rap/Party Rap" (Billy Boy, 1984) and Grandmaster Richie Rich's "Don't Be Flash" (Spin Offs, 1985). Releases were still few and far between, and the scene remained predominantly underground.
Although record labels began to take note of the underground scene throughout the 1980s and 1990s, radio play and publicity were still a difficulty in helping the fledgling scene to grow, and the scene only managed to survive through word of mouth and the patronage of pirate radio stations around the country. Mainstream radio did play British hip hop on occasion, supported by such well-known DJs as Dave Pearce, Tim Westwood, and John Peel.
British hip hop in the 1980s was not just confined to music and break-dancing, but also involved the spread of New York City-style graffiti – another integral element of American hip hop culture — to London and other UK inner-city areas, both on walls and trains. The most direct influence was, however, on graffiti painted in London Underground trains. Teenagers from inner London and other European cities who were into electro-hip hop and had family and other links to New York City had by the mid-1980s taken up some of the traditions of subway graffiti and exported them home, although legendary New York writers like Brim, Bio, and Futura had themselves played a significant role in establishing such links when they visited London in the early-to-mid-'80s and 'put up pieces' on or near the west London end of the Metropolitan Line. Almost as significantly, just when subway graffiti was on the decline in New York City, some British teenagers who had spent time with family in Queens and the Bronx returned to London with a "mission" to Americanize the London Underground through painting New York City-style graffiti on trains. These small groups of London 'train writers' adopted many of the styles and lifestyles of their New York City forebears, painting graffiti train pieces and in general 'bombing' the system, but favoring only a few selected underground lines seen as most suitable for train graffiti. Although on a substantially smaller scale than what had existed in New York City, graffiti on London Underground trains became seen as enough of a problem by the mid-1980s to provoke the British Transport Police to establish its own graffiti squad modeled directly on and in consultation with that of the New York City MTA. At the same time, graffiti art on London Underground trains generated some interest in the media and arts, leading to several art galleries putting on exhibitions of some of the art work (on canvass) of a few London train writers as well as TV documentaries on London hip hop culture like the BBC's Bad Meaning Good, which included a section featuring interviews with London train writers and a few examples of their pieces.
While many early rappers from the UK, such as Derek B, imitated the styles and accents of their US heroes, there were many who realised that to merely transpose US forms would rob UK hip-hop of the ability to speak for a disenfranchised British constituency in the way that US hip-hop so successfully spoke to, and for, its audience. Attempts were made by UK rappers to develop styles more obviously rooted in British linguistic practices — Rodney P of the London Posse deliberately chose a London accent – although many succeeded only in adopting a slurred hybrid that located the rap "somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean".
Development: Late '80s–early '90s
The first UK record label devoted to releasing UK hip hop acts was founded in 1986. Simon Harris' Music of Life label was home to rapper Derek B, the first UK rapper to achieve chart success. He even collaborated with Public Enemy on his album Bullet from a Gun and was the first British rapper to appear on Top of the Pops.
Building on Derek B's success, Music of Life went on to sign groups such as Hijack, the Demon Boyz, Hardnoise (later Son of Noise) and MC Duke. Their Hard as Hell series mixed homegrown talent like Thrashpack and the She Rockers with US artists such as Professor Griff. Music of Life was swiftly followed by other labels such as Mango Records and Kold Sweat. Another successful British hip-hop artist that emerged from Music of Life was Asher D, whose Jamaican origins showed through in his vocal style.
Moving away from its US roots, British hip hop started to develop its own sounds: acts like Hijack, II Tone Committee, Hardnoise, and Silver Bullet developed a fast and hardcore style, while many other acts took influences from elsewhere. Caveman and Outlaw Posse developed a jazz influenced style, whilst MC Mell'O' mixed jazz and hardcore. London Posse, Black Radical Mk II and DJ Ruf Cut And Tuf C were more influenced by reggae and disco whilst the Wee Papa Girl Rappers, Cookie Crew and Monie Love achieved chart success with more radio friendly hip hop. However, despite the chart success of some British-born hip hop artists – for example Monie Love, Slick Rick, Young MC and MF Doom, who all moved to the US – the majority of the scene was still underground and small scale.
Kinetic Effect joined the scene in the early 1980s and was part of rap outfit 2 the Top as D-Koy; later, in 1991, he teamed with Insane Macbeth to record "Borderin' Insanity" (released in 1993) and in 1995, he recorded "Man Bites Dog"/"The Effect of Fear" Their song "The Rhythm I Give 'Em" made the UK Top 10 Hip Hop chart.
In 1987, Positive Beat Records came out of the hotbed of early UK hip hop, Ladbroke Grove in London with two releases. The label followed up the single "It's Getting Rough" by Rocky X and D-D Dance with the Various Artists Known 2 Be Down album. This featured Sir Drew (of KREW and Newtrament), MC Flex, She Rockers, Rapski and more of West London's finest rap talents.
Other notable labels at the time included Liberty Grooves in Tooting, South London. The label itself started in late 1989 with the first release in 1990 by Whirlwind D & Johnny F of Solid n Mind. Other artists included Gutter Snypes, True Style and DJ Noize. Liberty Grooves was also a shop and many notable artists such as MC Mell O and Braintax would perform there.
In 1988, Rapski released "The Connection" on 12". The track was taken from Known 2 Be Down and was an early example of mixing hip hop and reggae in a (London) style. More was to come in the early 1990s in the form of MC Reason (a.k.a. Voice of Reason) with "Symbolise"/"HouseQuake" and Jonie D with "Which Base"/"Ride On" which was performed live on ITV in 1991.
A mindset began to develop – typified by the Gunshot tune "No Sell Out" (1991), or Son of Noise's "Poor But Hardcore" (1992) — that distrusted successful artists who did not utilise the hardcore style most associated with the scene. Silver Bullet's chart success was applauded due to an uncompromisingly rapid delivery, whereas Derek B and Rebel MC were scorned when their more pop influenced styles earned them success. Such artists were often branded "sell outs". As the scene grew, it became less common for British rappers to imitate US accents (those who did were often ridiculed) and British rap became more assured of its identity.
Hip Hop Connection — the first major British hip hop magazine – was founded in 1989 and by the early 1990s the British hip hop scene seemed to be thriving. Not only was there a firm base of rappers in London such as Blade, Black Radical Mk II, Overlord X and Bushkiller (including Sirus) — but many distinct scenes developed nationally.
Birmingham and the West Midlands gave rise to Credit to the Nation, whose MC Fusion would espouse conscious anti-racist, sexist and homophobic lyrics. The band would also find some brief mainstream success with their indie rock crossover sound. Leeds spawned Braintax and Breaking the Illusion (who together founded Low Life Records) as well as Nightmares on Wax. Greater Manchester gave birth to the Ruthless Rap Assassins, Krispy 3 (later Krispy), the Kaliphz, Jeep Beat Collective and MC Tunes.
Bristol's scene has a long history going right back to the early '80s where links were made with outfits from New York. The Fearless Four came over in 1984 along with graffiti legends the Tats Cru and Rock Steady Crew. Bristol (specifically the St. Pauls area) produced The Wild Bunch (later better known as Massive Attack), Nellee Hooper who went on to produce for Soul II Soul. The city later became the home of trip hop with artists like Tricky and Portishead.
Caveman signed to a major label — Profile Records, the label home of Run–D.M.C. — and Kold Sweat came into their own, discovering groups like SL Troopers, Dynametrix, Unanimous Decision and Katch 22, whose "Diary of a Blackman" was banned by Radio 1 for using a sound clip from the National Front.
In 1991, Hijack released The Horns of Jericho (Rhyme Syndicate Records, 1991) on Ice-T's recently formed Rhyme Syndicate label. The first single, "The Badman Is Robbin'", was a top 40 hit and they went on sell more than 30,000 albums.
British hip hop was affected by the record industry clamping down on sampling, beginning to charge for the use of samples and prosecuting those who used them without permission. Larger US acts could afford to license samples and still turn a profit for their labels, a luxury not available to many smaller UK artists. One such victim of this was Milton Keynes group the Criminal Minds. Their first two releases, the 1990 mini-album Guilty as Charged and a 1991 EP Tales from the Wasteland were bogged down by potential sample clearance problems and thus were only ever made available in small numbers, yet rate amongst some of the finest pieces of UK hip hop recorded. As breakbeat hardcore music started to become very popular in the UK in the early 1990s, the Criminal Minds turned their attention to making this type of music instead.
The UK hip hop boom never achieved its predicted commercial success. Hijack's The Horns of Jericho was never released in the US, while record companies dropped artists, citing poor sales and lack of interest. Mango Records closed down, and the British public began to turn their affections to jungle, a fusion of breakbeat hardcore, hip hop and reggae. Other acts and styles developed from the hip hop scene, resulting in new genres to describe them – for example Massive Attack with trip hop, or Galliano, Us3 and Urban Species with acid jazz.
In the period between 1992 and 1995, the only groups to make much impact were Gunshot amd the Brotherhood. Gunshot's 1992 album Patriot Games was a landmark with tracks such as "Mind of a Razor" and "World War 3" becoming British hardcore classics. Formed in the '80s, the Brotherhood released their first record, simply called Brotherhood EP, as a white label in 1991. They went on to release Wayz of the Wize in 1992, then Untitled 93 and XXIII in 1993, and Hip Hop N' Rap in 1994, all on the Bite It! label. None of the records sold in huge numbers but they managed to gain airplay on the Tim Westwood show and DJ 279's show on Choice FM, gaining them a solid following across the UK. Bite It! also released tracks from artists such as Pauly Ryan and the Scientists of Sound.
New generation: Late '90s–early '00s
Following an initial flurry of interest from major record labels in the 1980s, by the early 1990s the scene had moved underground after record companies pulled back. In the mid-1990s hip hop in the UK started to experiment and diversify – often mutating into different genres entirely, such as trip hop and began making inroads into the US market.
As the old rappers left the scene, a new generation, raised on hip hop and electronica, was coming of age: The Herbaliser released Remedies (Ninja Tune, 1995), Mr. Scruff released the "Frolic EP Pt 1" (Pleasure Music, 1995), Mark B released "Any More Questions?" (Jazz Fudge, 1995) and DJ Skitz released "Where My Mind Is At/Blessed Be The Manor" (Ronin Records, 1996) featuring a young rapper called Roots Manuva on guest vocals who had previously released the single "Next Type of Motion" (Sound of Money, 1995).
Record labels that attempted to merge British hip hop style and sensibilities with modern dance music began to emerge, like Mark Rae's Grand Central (home to Aim, Rae & Christian, and Fingathing, among others) or DJ Vadim's Jazz Fudge. Increasingly, these artists managed to avoid the issues surrounding sampling by making music themselves (bands such as the Stereo MCs began playing instruments and sampling their own tunes) or searching out more obscure records where a most cost effective licensing deal could be arranged.
British hip hop began to go through a renaissance, its style shifting from the hardcore template of its youth and moving into more melodic territory.
The Brotherhood managed to broker a major deal with Virgin Records in 1995. Continuing their relationship with Trevor Jackson as their producer, they released 3 singles 'Alphabetical Response', 'One Shot', 'Punk Funk' and their album Elementalz, all in 1996. Their work was met with critical acclaim and they toured solidly with American artists including Cypress Hill, The Roots and WuTang, but big record sales seemed to be very elusive and they parted ways with Virgin in 1998.
In late 1996 Will Ashon started up his new Ninja Tune backed label Big Dada and planned a roster of performers. Bandit of Birmingham's MSI/Asylum crew informed Will of Juice Aleem that he was contemplating who could truly represent the ethos of the new label. Ashon was impressed with the demo and agreed to have Aleem on board. The results of this were the first release of the now famous record label: in 1997 Juice featured on Big Dada record label's first ever release, "Misanthropic", under the pseudonym "Alpha Prhyme", a collaboration between himself and Luke Vibert.
In 1998 Mark B and Blade released "Hitmen for Hire EP", which featured guest appearances from Lewis Parker and Mr Thing (of the Scratch Perverts). The EP was a success, and led to the successful 2001 album The Unknown, which despite never charting in the UK top 75, was still a top 100 success and an even bigger success within its genre. Also, the album spawned the 2001 top 40 single "Ya Don't See the Signs", which was a remix by Feeder frontman Grant Nicholas, after the title track was a top 75 hit and Blade with Mark B supported Feeder. The same year, Bristol's Hombré label released the "2012 EP" from Aspects, a benchmark release within the movement. Roots Manuva, Blak Twang, Mud Family, Ti2bs, Task Force, Phi Life Cypher, MSI & Asylum, Jeep Beat Collective and Ty all came to the public's attention, while veteran acts Rodney P, Mike J, and MC Mell'O' returned to the scene. In 1999, MF Doom released his debut studio album Operation: Doomsday which has since been ranked as one of the greatest hip hop albums of all time.
Underground to mainstream: '00s to 2010s
A new generation of artists emerged following the turn of the century, including Jehst, Skinnyman, Nicky Spesh, Foreign Beggars and Usmaan. At the same time, a new style of electronic music emerged in the early 2000s, derivative of UK garage and jungle, with influences from dancehall, drum and bass and hip hop; this new genre was dubbed "grime" (sometimes called eskibeat or sublow) and effectively superseded UK hip hop in both popularity and the mainstream conscious. Grime is generally considered to be distinct from hip-hop due to its roots primarily being genres such as UK garage and jungle. In 2001, Roots Manuva claimed that British hip hop "is more healthy" than American hip-hop, and is about making the music than is it about exploiting wealth or hitting it rich.
Success followed The Streets' 2002 album Original Pirate Material, and he became one of the first of the new breed of British hip hop artists to gain respectable sales, though his verbal style resulted in him being shunned by many artists in the scene. Such success has caused a surge in media exposure of other British hip hop acts. Welsh rap group Goldie Lookin Chain also achieved chart success with their tongue-in-cheek take on hip-hop. Key records such as Skinnyman's Council Estate of Mind, and Klashnekoff's The Sagas Of... were released, cementing the reputations of the artists and opening up the floor for new artists to emerge. Labels Low Life Records, run by prominent political rapper Braintax, and Young N' Restless started and became the starting point for many. At the same time, just as Garage was losing momentum, grime was creating interest. Wiley's Treddin' on Thin Ice was a cornerstone of the genre, and one-time friend Dizzee Rascal won a Mercury Music Prize for his debut Boy in da Corner. From then on, grime artists were the only MC's for interested record labels, and UK Hip-Hop's momentum dried up.
A new generation of young socially conscious hip-hop musicians emerged as a counter to the grime scene that many in the UK Hip Hop scene perceived as commercial. These rappers strived to bring attention to both positivity and lyricism as well as the injustices of war, gentrification and racism, following in the tradition of conscious rappers such as Nas, Mos Def and Talib Kweli. Amongst this new generation included artists such as Klashnekoff, Akala, Lowkey and the Poisonous Poets.
The mid-2000s saw the emergence of road rap, a genre that took influences from American gangsta rap and focused on crime, gang, or violent themes. Road rap was pioneered by artists such as PDC and Giggs' SN1 crew.
By the late 2000s, grime music had entered into a period of stagnation. This led to an emergence of acts that, while influenced by or initially started out making grime, were moving into a more commercialised, hip-hop influenced form of music. Artists from this new wave included N-Dubz, Tinchy Stryder, Tinie Tempah, and Chipmunk (later known as Chip) who emerged in the late 2000s to great commercial success. Tinchy Stryder scored two number ones with songs Number 1 and Never Leave You and became the best-selling British solo artist of 2009. The following year continued the success of the previous, with acts like Professor Green and Tinie Tempah breaking through to even bigger commercial success and also critical appreciation. The debut album from Tinie Tempah called Disc-Overy went to number one in the UK album chart and was certified platinum on 1 March 2011. He also won a Brit Award for his number one single "Pass Out". Rapper Plan B found success with his 2010 Hip Hop and Soul fusion album The Defamation of Strickland Banks, followed by the soundtrack album Ill Manors in 2012, both of which peaked at number 1 in the UK Albums Chart. In 2014, Scottish alternative hip-hop trio Young Fathers won the Mercury Music Prize for their album Dead. The album entered the UK chart at 35 after they won the award. Riz Ahmed, also known as Riz MC, was featured in the song "Immigrants (We Get the Job Done)" in The Hamilton Mixtape, which topped the Billboard 200 chart in 2016. At the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs), "Immigrants" won the award for Best Fight Against the System.
2010 and onwards
The early 2010s saw the emergence of UK afrobeats, led by artists such as Mista Silva, Kwamz, Fuse ODG, and Timbo. Around the same time, artists such as Sneakbo and Timbo were incorporating melodic rap and Caribbean influences into their music. The foundation set by these artists would later be a major influence on Afroswing, a genre that emerged around 2014 derivative of UK afrobeats while carrying influences from grime, dancehall, hip hop, and R&B.
The early 2010s also saw the emergence of an underground UK hip hop scene emulating the earlier wave of 2000s rappers such as Jehst, Task Force, King Kashmere, MysDiggi and Skinnyman. With complex lyrics and rhyme schemes and '90s New York boom bap influenced production, High Focus Records was instrumental in bringing this sound to a wider audience. The label was founded in 2010 by London rapper Fliptrix and key members of the larger High Focus crew have included The Four Owls, Dirty Dike, Ocean Wisdom, Jam Baxter and Dabbla.
Artists from the label have managed to build a sizeable following despite remaining underground, having performed to crowds of 25,000+ across Europe, played the famous Reading and Leeds festivals in the UK and seen many tracks reaching multiple millions of views on YouTube. In 2015, The Four Owls collaborated with highly respected US producer DJ Premier for their track Think Twice . BRIT Award winning singer-songwriter Rag'n'Bone Man also released two albums on the label in 2011 and 2014 – "Put That Soul on Me" (a collaboration with Dirty Dike) and "Dog n Bone" with Four Owls member and rapper/producer Leaf Dog. These albums are what eventually led to his signing with major label Columbia Records, however Rag'n'Bone Man has continued to feature on High Focus records releases such as the track "Mask" from Jam Baxter's album Touching Scenes in 2019.
By 2014, grime music was also experiencing a resurgence. While hip hop did not immediately benefit from this, the rise of grime has been credited for re-opening the doors for competing genres such as hip hop and afroswing that were also on the rise. Acts that would rise within the hip hop scene within the following years include Dave, Kojey Radical, Slowthai, Little Simz, and Loyle Carner. Dave released a "Blackbox freestyle" in 2015 which helped him rise to prominence. The following year, Dave was noticed by Canadian rapper Drake, who later featured on a remix of his song "Wanna Know".
Stormzy, an artist that came up out of the grime scene, released his debut album, Gang Signs & Prayer, on 24 February 2017. The album was a mixture of grime, hip-hop, and R&B, and was the first 'grime' album to reach number one on the UK Albums Chart. In February 2018, Gang Signs & Prayer won British Album of the Year at the 2018 Brit Awards. He has reached number one on the UK Singles Chart a total of two times; firstly as part of "Artists for Grenfell" on 23 June 2017 with song "Bridge Over Troubled Water", and secondly with his own solo single "Vossi Bop", which debuted at number-one upon its entry, ahead of "Me!" by Taylor Swift featuring Brendon Urie by some 500 combined sales.
Skepta, who also emerged from the grime scene, began collaborating with American hip hop group ASAP Mob. He featured with ASAP Rocky on the song "Praise the Lord (Da Shine)", the second single from his third studio album Testing on 26 June 2018. It was the third collaboration between both artists, following Skepta's appearance on Cozy Tapes Vol. 1: Friends and ASAP Rocky's appearance on Skepta's Vicious EP in 2017, which also featured ASAP Nast, Lil B, and Section Boys. The song was successful in a number of countries, peaking at number 45 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 18 on the UK Singles Chart. It was later certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and gold by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI). Skepta also collaborated with American rapper Playboi Carti on the single "Lean 4 Real" from his debut studio album Die Lit, also released in 2018.
In 2017, Dave did a freestyle on American radio station Power 106 Los Angeles which has accumulated over 1,000,000 views on YouTube. In 2018, Dave achieved his first UK number-one hit with "Funky Friday" which featured British rapper Fredo. Dave's debut album, Psychodrama (2019), debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart and became the most-streamed first-week British rap album in the UK with a total of 23.6 million streams. The album was highly acclaimed and won Dave a Mercury Prize.
Slowthai released his debut studio album, Nothing Great About Britain, in 2019. The album was nominated for the Mercury Prize. He performed at the 2019 Mercury Prize ceremony, where he controversially held a fake severed head of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on stage. Little Simz also released Grey Area in 2019 to much acclaim.
Road rap (also known as British gangsta rap or simply UK rap) is a genre of music pioneered in South London, primarily in Brixton and Peckham. The genre was pioneered by groups such as PDC, SMS (South Muslim Soldiers), Northstar and artists such as Giggs and K Koke. The genre came to the fore as a backlash against the perceived commercialisation of grime in the mid-late 2000s in London. The genre came to prominence around 2007 with the rise of Giggs. Road rap retained the explicit depictions of violence and British gang culture found in some early grime music and combines it with a musical style more similar to American gangsta rap than the sound system influenced music of grime, dubstep, UK garage, jungle, reggae and dub.
Gangs played a large part in the genre, with gangs such as Mashtown based in Hackney, Star Gang (formed by Tottenham Mandem members), the Peckham Boys based in Peckham (with its various subsets such as SN1, PYG, and OPB) and GAS Gang, based in Brixton, becoming notable in the road rap scene during the 2000s.
The road rap scene centres around mixtape releases and YouTube videos with some of the genres more popular acts getting mainstream recognition. The genre has been criticised for the relentless nihilism and violence in its lyrics as well as its links to gangs and gun crime with many rappers serving prison sentences. In keeping with grime, road rap has suffered from preemptive policing with Giggs claiming that the Metropolitan Police have set out to deny him the opportunity to make a living from music having banned him from touring. In 2011, Stigs was served the first ever gang injunction that banned him from rapping about anything that may encourage violence.
In the early 2010s, the American genre drill began to emerge in the UK, pushed by artists such as 150, 67, and Section Boyz. UK drill has been referred to as subgenre of road rap due to the influence it's had on the genre. Road rap also went on to influence afroswing, which emerged in the mid-2010s.
Borrowing heavily from the style of Chicago drill music, UK drill artists often rap about violent and hedonistic criminal lifestyles. Typically, those who create this style of music are affiliated with gangs or come from socioeconomically-deprived neighborhoods where crime is a way of life for many. UK drill music is closely related to road rap, a British style of gangsta rap that became popular in the years prior to the existence of drill. Musically, UK drill often exhibits violent language and provocative lyrics.
There is common debate about which Brixton and surrounding area group initially pioneered the UK drill sound. Those associated with gangs 150 and Uptop and a majority of fans of the genre believe that Angell Town Estate, Brixton, is the true birthplace of UK drill, particularly rappers Stizzy Stickz, Grizzy, M Dargg & Perm being dedicated exponents of the early style, along with and mentored by former members of PDC -(Peel Dem Crew / Poverty Driven Children). However, on the flip side, it is argued that group 67 of the New Park Road area and surroundings furthered the sound enough to make UK drill an exclusively British export, and finally distance it from the initial Chicago sound it seemed to heavily draw inspiration from in its early days and foundation. Producers Carns Hill (who crafted instrumentals for many of 67's early songs), and QUIETPVCK (who worked closely by 150, 410 & Uptop members in their early era) are widely considered to be two of the main pioneering producers of the genre with their unique and innovative alternatives to the Chicago Drill sound.
UK drill has developed a different production style than Chicago drill, taking influence from earlier British genres such as grime and UK garage, so much so that it has been called "the New Grime" and drill producer Carns Hill has commented that it needs a new name. However, Mazza, a UK drill producer, disagreed with the "new grime" label, maintaining that although drill and grime share the same energy, rawness, and originated in a similar fashion, the two genres are distinct in their own ways. UK drill is generally more fast-paced compared to its Chicago counterpart. Instrumentals often also have a sliding bass, hard hitting kicks, and dark melodies. AXL Beats explained that the 808's and fast-tempo snares are derivative of grime music. Both genres typically utilise a tempo of approximately 140 bpm.
Autotune, unlike American drill, is largely absent within UK drill, with British drill artists utilising a much harsher, stripped-back delivery indebted to grime and earlier road rap. UK drill rappers have also taken on a more allusive, ironic lyrical style; taken on mainly because of the attention attracted from the mainstream media, and also the police; due to its previously much more brazen and direct nature.
Though a majority of UK drill artists hail from the capital (which can be attributed in part due to the much larger population of London, in comparison to other British cities), it is not restricted to London alone as the genres sole production hub in terms of emerging talents and dissemination of the sound. Artists around the country have appeared and become prominent creators within the scene, such as SmuggzyAce and S.White of Birmingham group "23 Drillas".
A notable activity popularized among UK drill fans is speculating on social media about which drill artist has been sent to prison or what information can be gathered about which "GM" (gang member) has been violated (disrespected / degraded) by whom, adding to what is known as the "scoreboard" (how many people a particular group have collectively stabbed/killed). The commonly used terms "3 The Mandem" and also "Fresh out the can" are observably used by UK drill rappers, the first one meaning to "Free those in prison" and the latter referring to people "Recently out of / released from prison".
UK drill groups often engage in disputes with each other, sometimes violent, often releasing multiple disrespectful tracks. Notable disputes include Zone 2 versus Moscow 17, 150 versus 67, OFB/NPK versus WG/N9 and SMG versus 814 (a member of 814, Showkey, was stabbed to death in 2016 in an unrelated incident).
UK drill received widespread attention outside of Britain in 2017 when comedian Michael Dapaah released the novelty song "Man's Not Hot". The track samples a beat made by UK drill producers GottiOnEm and Mazza; it was first used by drill group 86 on its song "Lurk", and later 67 with "Let's Lurk" featuring Giggs.
Controversy and legal issues
The genre's violent lyrics have been cited by police, MPs, journalists and others in positions of potentially significant influence as the reason for a climb in the rate of knife crimes in London. In one instance, then 17-year-old rapper Junior Simpson, better known as M-Trap, who had written lyrics about knife attacks, was part of a four-person group that stabbed a 15-year-old boy to death, for which he received a life sentence. Judge Anthony Leonard QC told Simpson, "You suggested [the lyrics] were just for show but I do not believe that, and I suspect you were waiting for the right opportunity for an attack."
In May 2018, YouTube reported that it had deleted more than half of the "violent" music videos identified by senior police officers as problematic. Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick blamed some videos for fuelling a surge in murders and violent crime in London, singling out drill music. YouTube said that more than 30 clips had been removed. The cause of the deletion of UK drill videos drive from a stop and search done on the West London gang 1011 (today known as CGM), where they were reported to be on a ride out to retaliate against the opposition. Banning drill caused outrage in the community and caused a slight lull in production of the music.
In 2018, FACT magazine stated in an article on UK drill producers M1OnTheBeat & MKThePlug:
..."Drill is this generation's furious response against the Conservative government's decimation of state support for the most vulnerable communities under austerity".
In late 2018, South London-born drill MC and aspiring Mayor of London Drillminister created a track called "Political Drillin" which was broadcast on Channel 4 News and used comments made by UK MPs attempting to highlight their own hypocrisy in using violent language.
UK drill has spread outside of the United Kingdom, with artists and groups in other countries rapping in styles and using slang terms heavily influenced by UK drill music, and using UK drill instrumentals produced by British producers. Ireland, the Netherlands, and Australia in particular have developed drill scenes that are heavily indebted to UK drill music, with artists such as OneFour in Australia, Chuks & J.B2 from Dublin, Ireland, and 73 De Pijp from The Netherlands. New York drill music began rising to prominence in the late 2010s. New York drill, primarily based in Brooklyn, has taken influence from UK drill with artists such as Pop Smoke, Sheff G, and 22Gz collaborating with UK drill producers such as AXL Beats, Yoz Beats, Ghosty, and 808Melo. 808Melo produced "Welcome to the Party" for Pop Smoke, which received a considerable amount of attention. Pop Smoke created a 9 track project produced entirely by 808 Melo and Trap House Mob (a team of UK based producers). Artists in Spain making drill music have also taken on influence by its British counterpart, with various references and similar production to UK drill.
Canadian musician Drake did a "Behind Barz" freestyle for Link Up TV in 2018 where he rapped over a UK drill beat. Drake also credited UK drill artist Loski as an influence for his 2018 album, Scorpion. In 2019, Drake released "War". The song used UK drill's production style and was produced by British producer AXL Beats. Drake's flow in both instances was reminiscent of UK drill artists.
Chart success and transition into mainstream
Unknown T's song "Homerton B" charted after its August 2018 release; and in doing so, became technically the first ever UK drill single to officially enter the charts. The song entered at number 83 on the Official Singles Chart Top 100 on 28 August 2018, then peaked at 48 in September 2018; putting him in the running with the likes of Drake, Travis $cott, Nicki Minaj & Eminem; world-renowned artists who also charted closely in this period, which was unheard of for a UK drill song at the time.
UK drill group 67 had two entries into the official charts, however unlike the Unknown T entry, this was the albums chart and not the singles chart. They reached number 66 in the Official Albums Chart with the mixtape Let's Lurk and number 71 with the mixtape The Glorious Twelfth. Although considered a predominantly trap based album which implements some drill features and elements, Section Boyz mixtape Don't Panic reached number 37 in the UK Albums Chart, later peaking at number 36 in 2015.
The above entries set off a snowball effect of UK drill song entries into the Official Singles Charts, and artists being propelled closer to the British mainstream. As the songs entered the charts, more people began to find out and talk about UK drill again, thus attracting new fans to the genre, and attracting both positive and negative media attention for various reasons, keeping the genre in the limelight, and bursting the bubble the genre was confined within. This also opened up drill to UK artists of other genres more, to begin rapping over drill style instrumentals and experimenting with sounds inside of the genre, as opposed to their usual styles.
Notable UK drill singles & albums charting in the Top 100 (between 2015–2020):
|Section Boyz||Don't Panic||36||Album||1 October 2015|
|67||Let's Lurk||66||Album||22 September 2016|
|67||Glorious Twelfth||71||Album||27 July 2017|
|Loski||Call Me Loose||44||Album||26 April 2018|
|Headie One||The One Two||32||Album||5 July 2018|
|Unknown T||"Homerton B"||48||Single||6 September 2018|
|DigDat||"Air Force"||20||Single||27 September 2018|
|Smoke Boys||Don't Panic II||60||Album||1 November 2018|
|Russ Millions||"Gun Lean"||09||Single||3 January 2019|
|DigDat & Loski||"No Cap"||51||Single||28 February 2019|
|Loski||Mad Move||41||Album||14 March 2019|
|Russ Millions & Tion Wayne||"Keisha & Becky"||07||Single||4 April 2019|
|RV & Headie One||Drillers & Trappers 2||21||Album||4 April 2019|
|RV & Headie One||"Match Day"||86||Single||4 April 2019|
|Digga D||"No Diet"||20||Single||2 May 2019|
|Hardy Caprio & DigDat||"Guten Tag"||18||Single||16 May 2019|
|Digga D||Double Tap Diaries||11||Album||30 May 2019|
|Digga D||"P4DP"||54||Single||30 May 2019|
|Digga D & Russ Millions||"Mr Sheeen"||63||Single||4 July 2019|
|Kenny Allstar||"Friday" (ft. DigDat)||62||Single||18 July 2019|
|Krept & Konan||"I Spy" (ft. Headie One & K-Trap)||18||Single||25 July 2019|
|Headie One||Music x Road||05||Album||5 September 2019|
|Headie One||"Hard to Believe"||79||Single||26 September 2019|
|Poundz||"Opp Thot"||33||Single||24 October 2019|
|Dave||"Paper Cuts"||15||Single||21 November 2019|
|Tion Wayne, Dutchavelli
|"I Dunno"||07||Single||11 June 2020|
|M Huncho & Dutchavelli||Burning||13||Single||02 July 2020|
|Digga D||"Woi"||24||Single||16 July 2020|
UK trap scene
In several interviews, M Huncho has described his more tone-down, melodic style and moderately humbler approach when it comes to lyrics as his own derivative take on UK trap music, in a genre he has personally dubbed as "trapwave". Wolverhampton artist Scarlxrd implements an energetic aesthetic and tone with explosively brazen screaming vocals, and dark yet reflectively intense and meaningful lyricism in an essentially self-pioneered style known as "trap-metal" or "ragecore"; a fusion of trap music and screaming vocals. Scarlxrd has cited some of his main inspirations and influences as including the likes of Eminem, Bring Me the Horizon, Limp Bizkit, DMX, Slipknot, Travi$ Scott and Linkin Park, among others.
Backlash against commercialisation
Since grime's post-millennial boom period coincided with UK hip-hop's, the eagerly anticipated commercial breakout of the latter did not happen. Instead, acts such as Tinchy Stryder, Tinie Tempah, N-Dubz and Chip were signed to major labels and their traditional sound tweaked to fit a pop sensibility. However the lineage of these, and many UK rappers, is unquestionably grime rather than UK hip-hop.
There is a common belief within the underground hip hop community that true hip hop is music relevant primarily to the disenfranchised listeners, rather than the mass market. Because of the belief that mainstream acts are paid large sums of money by the major labels to make music tailored to the current mass market, these artists often face a backlash and accusations of 'selling out' from the underground community.
The growth of British hip hop was given a boost when in 2002, the BBC launched a digital radio station 1Xtra devoted to "new black music" including hip hop, R&B, soul, UK garage, dancehall, grime and drum and bass, however 1Xtra does not play exclusively British hip hop. The cable and satellite channel, Channel AKA (formerly Channel U, now known as Now 70s) also had the profile of British hip hop and grime. YouTube was also a very important outlet for upcoming and significant artists. Channels include Link Up TV, GRM Daily, SB.TV, Pressplay Media and Mixtape Madness.
Women have contributed to hip hop's evolution in Britain from the beginning. Female British hip hop artists include Alesha Dixon, Baby Blue, Estelle, Lady Leshurr, Lady Sovereign, Little Simz, M.I.A., Monie Love, Nadia Rose, Shystie, No Lay, Stefflon Don, Mercury prize winners Ms. Dynamite and Speech Debelle and music producer Mizz Beats. Other British female rappers have included Cookie Crew, She Rockers, Wee Papa Girl Rappers, NoLay, C-Mone and Envy.
Neneh Cherry, born in Stockholm, moved to England when she was 14 years old, and contributed to early British hip hop. Raw Like Sushi (1989) was solely produced by English producers and was a massive hit in both the UK and US. Cherry continues to produce and release music today.
Women in hip hop often confront a large amount of sexist stereotyping; however some female British hip hop artists such as Lady Sovereign and M.I.A. have achieved success both in the UK and US. Artists such as Ms Dynamite, M.I.A. and Speech Debelle have also become known for political and social commentary in their music. Singer, songwriter and rapper Estelle said of the difficult position of female rappers: "I think they get a tough ride because some of them don't see themselves above and beyond the bullshit and no one's really given them that break."
- Gangsta rap
- Hip hop
- Music of the United Kingdom
- Scottish hip-hop
- UK garage
- Chester, Nick (2 June 2014). "The UK's Forgotten Rap Scene Deserves Your Attention". Archived from the original on 4 August 2019. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
- Youngs, Ian (21 November 2005). "BBC News website: Is UK on Verge of Brithop boom". Archived from the original on 27 August 2006. Retrieved 1 November 2006.
- Batey, Angus (26 July 2003). "Home grown – profile – British hip-hop – music". The Times.
- "BBC Website – Music: Urban". Archived from the original on 3 November 2006. Retrieved 1 November 2006.
- "Vogue Meets The Brit-Hop Generation – British Vogue". Archived from the original on 17 September 2017. Retrieved 15 September 2017.
- "Vogue Meets London's Rising Music Stars – British Vogue". Archived from the original on 23 October 2017. Retrieved 22 October 2017.
- "The Brithop Boom – BBC". 21 November 2005. Archived from the original on 3 April 2009. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
- "Sound systems". The British Library. Archived from the original on 20 April 2019. Retrieved 10 February 2020.
- Beaumont-Thomas, Ben (1 June 2018). "'You can't escape its inspiration': inside the true history of grime". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Archived from the original on 18 October 2018. Retrieved 11 February 2020.
- "Hear a documentary on black British music from jungle to dubstep". FACT Magazine. 6 July 2016. Archived from the original on 8 November 2019. Retrieved 11 February 2020.
- Hesmondhalgh, David. ""Urban Breakbeat Culture: Repercussions of Hip-Hop in the United Kingdom", pp. 86–101 in Global Noise: Rap and Hip Hop Outside of the USA, edited by Tony Mitchell. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press".
- Hesmondhalgh, DJ and Melville, C (2002) Urban Breakbeat Culture – Repercussions of Hip-Hop in the United Kingdom. In: Global Noise: Rap and Hip Hop Outside the USA. Wesleyan University Press.
- "Low Life/British hip hop, UK hip hop: the story find". Archived from the original on 10 October 2006.
- Ogg, Alex (2011). Paid in full? an introduction to brit-hop, grime and UK rap. Luton: Andrews UK Ltd. ISBN 978-1908354044. Archived from the original on 19 April 2019. Retrieved 9 August 2016.
- Movements, Antonino D’AmbrosioTopics (1 June 2003). "Monthly Review | 'Let Fury Have the Hour': The Passionate Politics of Joe Strummer". Monthly Review. Archived from the original on 6 January 2020. Retrieved 11 February 2020.
- "HomeGrown: the story of UK hip-hop". Manchester Confidential. Retrieved 11 February 2020.
- Schwartzberg, Lauren (31 March 2015). "Double Dutch's Forgotten Hip-Hop Origins". Vice. Archived from the original on 1 October 2019. Retrieved 11 February 2020.
- "The 10 records that helped British hip hop find its own voice". The Vinyl Factory. 17 September 2015. Archived from the original on 24 June 2018. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
- Montgomery, James. "John Peel, Legendary DJ And Champion of Acts From Bowie To Franz Ferdinand, Dies". MTV News. Archived from the original on 26 May 2019. Retrieved 11 February 2020.
- "Mixcloud". Mixcloud. Archived from the original on 24 December 2011. Retrieved 11 February 2020.
- Hesmondhalgh, David and Caspar Melville. "Urban Breakbeat Culture: Repercussions of Hip-Hop in the United Kingdom." In Global Noise: Rap and Hip-Hop Outside the USA, 86–110. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 2001.
- "Derek B: Rapper and producer who became the first UK hip-hop artist to". The Independent. 12 January 2010. Archived from the original on 6 January 2018. Retrieved 11 February 2020.
- Michaels, Sean (17 November 2009). "British rapper Derek B dies at 44". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Archived from the original on 28 February 2019. Retrieved 11 February 2020.
-  Archived 4 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine
- "Positive Beat Records – CDs and Vinyl at Discogs". discogs. Archived from the original on 28 October 2008. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
- "Italo Disco, Euro Disco, Muzyka, Ludzie, Radio, Forum, Klimat, Czat". TOP80.PL. Archived from the original on 30 April 2009. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
-  Archived 24 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
- Ear To The Ground Magazine, Issue 1 1993
- Rap Trade Magazine, June 1994 Issue 6, Publisher: Pure Impact
- "Italo Disco, Euro Disco, Muzyka, Ludzie, Radio, Forum, Klimat, Czat". TOP80.PL. Archived from the original on 30 April 2009. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
- "BBC News website, Massive Attack on the net". 29 March 1998. Archived from the original on 9 May 2004. Retrieved 2 November 2006.
- "Q101 Top 101 of 1997". Rocklists.com. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
- Rowntree, Barney (10 August 2001). "BBC News website: British hip hop renaissance". Retrieved 2 November 2006.
- "11 Rappers Who Should Be Added To Everyones Playlists". The Odyssey Online. 5 November 2018. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
- "Deeper Than Rap: Grime is Not a Subgenre of Hip-Hop". Complex. Archived from the original on 14 September 2019. Retrieved 14 September 2019.
- "Skepta, grime and urban British youth language: a guide". The Conversation. Archived from the original on 8 October 2019.
- "Grime is Approaching the Breakthrough Moment Hip-Hop Reached in the 90s". Vice. 21 December 2016. Archived from the original on 5 November 2019.
- "Grime time: What it is and where to find it". Standard. 13 May 2016. Archived from the original on 25 October 2019.
- "Hip-Hop Or Dancehall? Breaking Down The Grime Scene's Roots". Complex UK. Archived from the original on 6 February 2017. Retrieved 5 February 2017.
- "Roots Manuva: Hip hop gets back to its roots – Features, Music – The Independent". Archived from the original on 30 April 2009. Retrieved 9 August 2016.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
- Oliver, M. "London Hip-Hop's New York in '94: The 15-Year Anniversary". DJBooth. Archived from the original on 5 November 2019. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
- "Diddy shouts out Stormzy". GRM Daily – Grime, Rap music and Culture. Archived from the original on 10 May 2019. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
- "Grime / Dubstep". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on 24 April 2019. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
- AnotherMan. "A Brief History of Grime, as Told by DJ Target". AnotherMan. Archived from the original on 13 September 2019. Retrieved 13 September 2019.
- Hsu, Hua (24 September 2018). "The Surprising Survival of Grime". The New Yorker (Serial). ISSN 0028-792X. Archived from the original on 9 September 2019. Retrieved 13 September 2019.
- "Music – Review of Tinchy Stryder – Catch 22". BBC. 17 August 2009. Archived from the original on 9 January 2016. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
- "JumpOff.TV". Uk.jumpoff.tv. 5 February 2009. Retrieved 24 February 2014.[permanent dead link]
- "Rogue One star Riz Ahmed shares childhood Star Wars drawings: 'Keep your inner child alive'". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 21 December 2016. Retrieved 22 December 2016.
- "See the Complete MTV VMAs 2017 Winners List". People. Archived from the original on 21 September 2017. Retrieved 20 September 2017.
- McQuaid, Ian (24 March 2017). "why this is such an exciting time for the afrobeats scene in the uk". I-D. Archived from the original on 21 July 2019. Retrieved 21 July 2019.
- "J Hus Is The Sound of Diaspora's Boomerang". The FADER. Archived from the original on 8 November 2019. Retrieved 21 July 2019.
- Bassil, Ryan; Lewis, Jake (12 May 2017). "No One Is Like J Hus". Vice. Archived from the original on 22 July 2019. Retrieved 21 July 2019.
- "Saluting The Pioneers: A Brief History of Afro-Tinged Rap in the UK". Complex. Archived from the original on 27 May 2019. Retrieved 22 July 2019.
- "The Rise & Rise of High Focus Records". A Nation of Billions. Archived from the original on 19 June 2017. Retrieved 21 January 2020.
- "NSFW: Dirty Dike talks drugs, dream jobs and getting a reaction". gigwise.com. Retrieved 21 January 2020.
- "HighFocusTV". Archived from the original on 21 November 2019. Retrieved 21 January 2020 – via YouTube.
- "DJ Premier". redbullmusicacademy.com. Archived from the original on 9 November 2019. Retrieved 21 January 2020.
- Focus, High. "Rag'n'Bone Man". Official Website of High Focus Records. Archived from the original on 26 July 2019. Retrieved 21 January 2020.
- "Jam Baxter – Mask Feat. Rag'n'Bone Man & OG Rootz Prod. by Chemo". WORDPLAY. Retrieved 21 January 2020.
- "Grime is the now sound of British youth – and things are only beginning". The Independent. 24 November 2015. Archived from the original on 19 December 2019. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
- "Is grime dead? Or has it 'just gone back underground'? – BBC News". 9 May 2019. Archived from the original on 9 May 2019. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
- Dazed (18 October 2016). "Meet the artists shaping the UK hip hop scene". Dazed. Archived from the original on 19 December 2019. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
- "10 Rising UK Hip Hop Acts You Should Be Listening to Right Now". PAPER. 6 July 2015. Archived from the original on 19 December 2019. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
- "Dave wins the 2019 Mercury Prize with debut album 'Psychodrama'". DJMag.com. 19 September 2019. Archived from the original on 19 December 2019. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
- "Dave: the genre-splicing rapper talks meeting Drake and his debut album". NME Music News, Reviews, Videos, Galleries, Tickets and Blogs | NME.COM. 10 November 2017. Archived from the original on 24 July 2018. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
- Bradley, Brent. "Does the Drizzy Effect Exist?". DJBooth. Archived from the original on 19 December 2019. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
- Collins, Hattie (24 March 2017). "A rapper called Dave: the 'normal' Streatham boy who's on Drake's radar". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Archived from the original on 19 December 2019. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
- "Stormzy's debut album 'Gang Signs & Prayers' is released on 23rd February 2017". Capital Xtra. Archived from the original on 16 February 2018.
- Mokoena, Tshepo (30 April 2019). "Stream "Vossi Bop," Buy "Vossi Bop" and Get Stormzy to Number 1". Noisey. Archived from the original on 3 May 2019. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
- Bristout, Ralph (31 May 2018). "The story behind A$AP Rocky's "Praise the Lord (Da Shine)" is incredible". REVOLT. Archived from the original on 19 December 2019. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
- "A$AP Mob Drop 'Cozy Tapes Vol. 1' Featuring Skepta And More". Konbini – All Pop Everything! (in French). Archived from the original on 19 December 2019. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
- "Skepta drops surprise Vicious EP". The FADER. Archived from the original on 10 July 2019. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
- "Listen to Skepta and Playboi Carti's New Banger, "Lean 4 Real"". VERSUS. 11 May 2018. Archived from the original on 19 December 2019. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
- "Up-And-Coming UK Rapper Dave Kills LA Leakers Freestyle". HotNewHipHop. Archived from the original on 19 December 2019. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
- "Dave "speechless" as Funky Friday debuts at Number 1". officialcharts.com. Archived from the original on 7 January 2019. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
- Snapes, Laura (19 September 2019). "Mercury prize 2019: rapper Dave wins for 'exceptional' Psychodrama". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Archived from the original on 16 December 2019. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
- "Rapper slowthai holds up fake Boris Johnson head on stage at Mercury Prize ceremony". Sky News. Archived from the original on 6 December 2019. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
- "Little Simz – 'Grey Area' review". NME Music News, Reviews, Videos, Galleries, Tickets and Blogs | NME.COM. 25 February 2019. Archived from the original on 28 November 2019. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
- Bassil, Ryan; Garcia, Francisco (13 November 2018). "Tiny Boost Is Rapping for All the Streets and the People in Them". Vice. Archived from the original on 4 August 2019. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
- aidanbnsn (27 May 2015). "20 Essential Road Rap Tracks". FACT Magazine: Music News, New Music. Archived from the original on 4 August 2019. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
- "Grime / Dubstep". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on 24 April 2019. Retrieved 21 December 2019.
- "7 Mixtapes That Laid UK Rap's Foundations". Complex. Archived from the original on 21 December 2019. Retrieved 21 December 2019.
- "End of the road: the rise of road rap and the uncertain future of the hardcore continuum". Factmag.com. 27 April 2012. Archived from the original on 12 August 2014. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
- Dan Hancox. "Rap responds to the riots: 'They have to take us seriously'". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 26 December 2016. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
- "Peckham Boys (PB) - www.londonstreetgangs.com". archive.fo. 17 December 2012. Archived from the original on 17 December 2012. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
-  Archived 21 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine
- "Rapper Kyze jailed for shooting – Mirror Online". Daily Mirror. 18 April 2011. Archived from the original on 15 May 2018. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
- Sam Wolfson. "Giggs: prison, police harassment, cancelled tours – When Will It Stop". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 26 August 2016. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
- Hancox, Dan (22 June 2018). "The war against rap: censoring drill may seem radical but it's not new". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Archived from the original on 21 July 2019. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
- McQuaid, Ian (14 June 2017). "Don't Call It Road Rap: When Drill, UK Accents and Street Life Collide". Vice. Archived from the original on 18 July 2019. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
- "A guide to the many styles of hip-hop, from hyphy to horrorcore". Red Bull. Archived from the original on 4 August 2019. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
- "Police have banned a London rap group from making drill music". The Big Issue. 19 June 2018. Archived from the original on 4 August 2019. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
- "Subscribe to read". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 4 August 2019. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
- Dazed (25 April 2017). "Inside UK Drill, London's Hyper-Local DIY Sound". Dazed. Archived from the original on 9 March 2018. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
- "Get Familiar with UK Drill, the New Sound Exploding on the Streets of London". PigeonsandPlanes. Archived from the original on 19 March 2018. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
- "From Chicago to Brixton: The Surprising Rise of UK Drill". FACT Magazine: Music News, New Music. 27 April 2017. Archived from the original on 24 March 2018. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
- "67 Interview: 'This Is Not a Gang. This Is a Brand'". London Evening Standard. Archived from the original on 19 March 2018. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
- "Don't Call It Road Rap: When Drill, UK Accents and Street Life Collide". Noisey. 14 June 2017. Archived from the original on 19 March 2018. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
- "Angell Town: The ex-gang members who have turned their lives around and are inspiring others to do the same". London Evening Standard. Archived from the original on 15 August 2019. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
- "UK drill FAQ: History, facts & future of the rap genre". Red Bull. Archived from the original on 6 August 2019. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
- "According To UK Rap Producer Carns Hill, His 'Drill' Sound Happened Almost By Accident". Complex. 12 October 2017. Archived from the original on 15 August 2019. Retrieved 15 August 2019.
- "Meet Mazza : The Producer Taking Drill to a New Level". 25 July 2016. Archived from the original on 19 March 2018. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
- "UK Drill: Should the rap genre change its name?". Capital XTRA. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
- "How Drake Ended Up Rapping on a Drill Beat: An Interview With "War" Producer AXL Beats". Complex. Archived from the original on 26 December 2019. Retrieved 26 December 2019.
- "Get Familiar With UK Drill, the New Sound Exploding on the Streets of London". Complex. Archived from the original on 11 June 2019. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
- "From Chicago to Brixton: The Surprising Rise of UK Drill". FACT Magazine: Music News, New Music. 27 April 2017. Archived from the original on 24 March 2018. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
- "23 Drillas rappers taunt armed police after gangsters jailed". Birmingham Mail. 24 September 2018. Archived from the original on 27 April 2019. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 27 November 2019. Retrieved 17 December 2019.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Teenager arrested after 16-year-old stabbed to death". London Evening Standard. Archived from the original on 19 March 2018. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
- Scotsman, Author The Black (25 July 2016). "Meet Mazza : The Producer Taking Drill to a New Level". Archived from the original on 19 March 2018. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
- Bassil, Ryan; Mokoena, Tshepo (20 December 2018). "A Guide to Explaining UK Drill to Your Family Over the Holidays". Vice. Archived from the original on 7 August 2019. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
- McQuaid, Ian; Lanigan, Roisin (21 June 2019). "welcome to the golden age of drill". I-D. Archived from the original on 2 August 2019. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
- "Inside UK drill, the demonised rap representing a marginalised generation". The Independent. 15 April 2018. Archived from the original on 25 April 2018. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
- Andrew Gilligan, Shingi Mararike, Tom Harper and (8 April 2018). "Drill, the 'demonic' music linked to rise in youth murders". The Sunday Times. ISSN 0956-1382. Archived from the original on 25 April 2018. Retrieved 24 April 2018.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Beaumont-Thomas, Ben (9 April 2018). "Is UK drill music really behind London's wave of violent crime?". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 14 June 2018. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
- "YouTube deletes 'violent' music videos". BBC News. 29 May 2018. Archived from the original on 27 July 2018. Retrieved 21 July 2018.
- "Making the banned: MK The Plug and M1 on the Beat are UK drill's brightest hope". FACT. 12 August 2018. Archived from the original on 13 July 2019. Retrieved 15 August 2019.
- Daly, Rhian (23 October 2018). "A drill MC highlights hypocrisy against genre by using violent quotes from MPs in new track 'Political Drilling'". NME. Archived from the original on 2 February 2020. Retrieved 2 February 2020.
- Fazal, Mahmood; Butler, Gavin (1 August 2019). "Behind The Scenes With OneFour: Australia's First Drill Rappers". Vice. Archived from the original on 7 August 2019. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
- Dunn, Frankie; Gannon, Colin (21 November 2018). "could irish drill music be the next big thing?". I-D. Archived from the original on 15 July 2019. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
- Vugts, Paul (27 December 2019). "De opkomst van Amsterdamse drillrap: 'Er is een overlap met criminaliteit'". Het Parool (in Dutch). Retrieved 14 January 2020.
- "Sheff G Made Drill the Sound of Brooklyn". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on 7 August 2019. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
- "Pop Smoke Shouted Out The UK's Top Drill Producers in His Final Interview". UPROXX. 24 February 2020. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
- "These are the most exciting UK drill producers right now". DJMag.com. 1 April 2020. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
- "Nicki Minaj Remixes Pop Smoke's "Welcome to the Party" – HYPEBEAST". hypebeast.com. Archived from the original on 20 August 2019. Retrieved 17 August 2019.
- Bundy, Tee (30 July 2019). "Pop Smoke's Debut "Meet The Woo" Is An Introduction to a New Sound in New York City Hip-Hop". KAZI. MAGAZINE. Archived from the original on 7 August 2019. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
- "Drillers Without Borders". trenchtrenchtrench.com. Archived from the original on 7 August 2019. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
- Beaumont-Thomas, Ben (19 July 2018). "Why Drake fell in love with the UK (and vice versa)". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Archived from the original on 20 November 2019. Retrieved 25 December 2019.
- "Drake is officially a UK Citizen". Heartafact. 17 April 2019. Archived from the original on 25 December 2019. Retrieved 25 December 2019.
- "Drake Is Doing up UK Drill on New Freestyle Track "War"". VERSUS. 24 December 2019. Retrieved 25 December 2019.
- "5 Biggest Takeaways From Drake's New Song "War"". Complex. Archived from the original on 24 December 2019. Retrieved 25 December 2019.
- "Skengdo X AM – 'EU Drillas' review". NME Music News, Reviews, Videos, Galleries, Tickets and Blogs | NME.COM. 24 February 2020. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
- "UNKNOWN T – full Official Chart History – Official Charts Company". Official Charts Company (OCC). 11 July 2019. Archived from the original on 22 March 2019. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
- "67 – full Official Chart History – Official Charts Company". Official Charts Company (OCC). 11 July 2019. Archived from the original on 12 April 2019. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
- "SECTION BOYZ – full Official Chart History – Official Charts Company". Official Charts Company (OCC). 11 July 2019. Archived from the original on 2 June 2019. Retrieved 14 August 2019.
- Charts, Official (24 January 2020). "Big news for @DigDat8 – his new mixtape Ei8ht Mile scores the biggest opening week for a UK drill album". @officialcharts. Retrieved 25 January 2020.[non-primary source needed]
- "Official Charts – Home of the Official UK Top 40 Charts". Official Charts Company (OCC). Archived from the original on 6 August 2019. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
- "Welcome to the TrapWave: M Huncho". A Nation of Billions. 29 May 2018. Archived from the original on 4 June 2019. Retrieved 4 June 2019.
- "SCARLXRD: "BRING ME THE HORIZON'S LEGACY INSPIRES ME"". Kerrang. 27 February 2019. Archived from the original on 6 August 2019. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
- "Scarlxrd Ditches YouTuber Lifestyle and His Black Mask for Screamo Success". XXL. 25 May 2019. Archived from the original on 19 May 2019. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
- "SCARLXRD – interview: "My style is a mix of Eminem, Travis Scott and Slipknot" (05.2018) – YouTube". PopkillerTV. 12 July 2018.
- "British hip-hop heads out of the underground". The Independent. 30 April 2010. Archived from the original on 10 October 2016. Retrieved 10 October 2016.
- "BBC Website: 1xtra". Archived from the original on 4 November 2006. Retrieved 1 November 2006.
- Chang, Jeff. "Future Shock", "Future Shock", January 2004. Retrieved 14 March 2008.
- "Our work in arts". British Council. Archived from the original on 2 January 2008. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
- Adabra, Michelle. "Interview – Estelle". britishhiphop.co.uk. Archived from the original on 19 April 2019. Retrieved 10 October 2016.