If Hip Hop Should Die Before I Wake

This morning, I read an interesting piece on The Rap Up which included a video featuring Seun Kuti, a Nigerian musician and son of Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti, where he basically says what we’ve all been thinking – hip-hop just aint what it used to be.

The Egypt 80 front man says these days its hard to distinguish between hip-hop and pop, and compares rap music today to the music of Celine Dion. Now while I don’t quite agree with everything he says, he does have a valid point; the most popular rappers we have our either sensitive and whiny (Drake), previously worked for the law and are now ‘gangster’ (Rozay) or look like a heavily tattooed hobbit (draw your own conclusions for that one). Where are the serious rap beefs, with equally brilliant diss songs? The poetic lyricism? I fell in love with rap when Nas was ‘half man, half amazing’, when Mobb Deep wanted a Getaway and DMX was releasing three great albums in one year. As the years went on, I began to appreciate rap from earlier years and even now i like some artists, but for every Kendrick Lamar there are 3 Souljaboy Tell’em’s , a Tyler The Creator for every J Cole.

And yet, there is still one place where hip-hop is getting better and better. Over here in the UK, the quality of rap music has grown in leaps and bounds in the last few years with credible, well-thought out artists drowning out all those hyped-up rappers who only have fans ‘on the ends’. There’s a saying that the UK  follows everything that happens in America, only 20 years later, and if that is accurate, we are about to experience a brilliant era of rap history here in good old Britannia.  So here’s where I need your help; we are going to compile a top ten, of new hip-hop from the UK that just HAS to be heard. We want to cover the best from all over the UK and show all the different faces of what constitutes the great music we are producing at the moment. This isn’t going to be based on success or relevance to the industry thus far, but about the new rappers, coming through, and we don’t want to cause any ‘who’s on the panel‘ controversy – this is strictly a positive celebration of all the talent that has yet to receive the exposure they deserve.

We want to find the next Lowkey, the next Chipmunk, Tinie, Ghetto, Professor Green and even the next great UK rapper that will break the mould and be completely different to anything we’ve heard before. Please comment on today’s post with your suggestions, or alternatively if you are an artist, email me on monica@peppergrain.com with some of your work, and watch this space, Peppergrains’ Top Ten UK Rap is on its way, soon.


Monica Rahman