Hailing from London, Hawkins released his first album earlier this year, showcasing his lo-fi, trippy trap to the world. This month though, he dropped an exhilarating 2 song EP that has caught the attention of Trench magazine and a whole host of other blogs. His music videos are some of the best I have seen too, taking on editing styles from A$AP Rocky’s AWGE collective to create a disorientating feel, much like the music he creates. Click below to watch his vid for Demons.
At the unbelievably young age of 16, V7 has been releasing his UK drill and American trap infused tracks for around three months now. Receiving praise from other up and coming English rappers like Master Peace, he is channelling a tongue and cheek charisma into the creation of some banging tunes. Whether he is doing impressions of scousers on tracks like ‘UPLIKEANINSOMNIAC’ or comparing crusty lips to walkers crisps on his stand out tune ‘7’, the comic lyricism suits his playful production, which could be likened to Swedish artist Yung Lean, or Playboi Carti. He has to be one to look out for this year if he stays prolific in his releases... and passes his GCSEs.
In short, Funmi Ohio is the best female rapper I have found in a while. Of Nigerian descent, Flohio fell in love with the sound of UK rap when she migrated as a child and channelled her ‘introverted’ personality into making music on her own. Her live performances, and intensely hard-hitting and quickly delivered bars show a different side to her personality though. Her sheer aggression and passion really shines through on tracks like ‘Watchout’, which would send any venue into madness.
House Of Pharaohs
As the most established rap collective on the list, House Of Pharaohs are not only a group of urban artists but creative designers and photographers too. Structurally, they could be likened to over-seas counterparts BROCKHAMPTON, A$AP Mob and Odd Future, however, the music they create is very London, mixing sounds of Afro-Trap, road-rap and drill to create a unique sound. This versatility made their first album, ‘Real Faces’, one of the most intriguing of 2017, and they have only got more innovative and intense on their 2018 EP ‘The Fix’.
Moving away from London, but only as far as Northampton, Slowthai is, in my opinion, the most exciting rapper to break out of the underground UK scene this year. Supporting Rejjie Snow on his UK tour and causing chaos at last years BBK takeover, (real name) Tyron Frampton is the artist on the tip of every producer's tongue. His playful, stylistic flow makes him seem like a cartoon character, but his lyrics are as real as you can get. Photoed in the studio with punk duo Slaves last week, this artist possesses an electrifying energy that he channels into tracks like ’T N Biscuits’ and ‘IDGAF’, as well as his vicious live sets.
Jesse James Solomon
Friends with Skepta, Suspect and King Krule, as well as countless other big time artists, it is only a matter of time before Solomon starts to steal the limelight. One of the more intelligent and profound sounds on the list, his blend of trip-hop, jazz and acoustic instrumentation makes for a relaxing and hazy listen. Featuring on Rejjie Snow’s cult-followed first EP ‘Rejovich’, Solomon’s tone gives any track that extra layer of beauty. ‘Under the Sun’ and ‘Barriers’ are two unbelievable tunes and deserve way more attention than they have had this year.
Described as ‘if Stormzy and Tyler, the Creator had a kid’, Stephan’s rambunctious rhythms and flamboyant style make him an enticing character. Manipulating classic grime beats to fit his bouncy, lively flow, the Hackney born rapper is destined to break out sometime soon. ’Spin Man Off’ and ‘Gummy Riddim’ are the best representations of his style, as well as his ‘colors’ episode on YouTube. Watch it below