British Hip Hop

British Hip-Hop & Rap

Also known as UK hip hop or UK rap, British Hip Hop music was curated in the United Kingdom and covers a variety of urban and cultural styles of hip hop. UK rap is rooted with the sounds of afrobats, trap, and drill. It is composed of black British-led sounds that reflect the evolution of Black Britains and their culture. 

History of British Hip-Hop & Rap

The genre of British Rap originated in the 1980s. Between 1948 and 1970, nearly half a million people migrated from the Caribbean to Britain. Now known as the Windrush generation, these individuals are who lead the upbringing of British Hip-Hop & Rap. Artists such as the Ragga Twins and Smiley Culture utilized electronic methods to create the sounds for their music. However, this electronic style then transitioned to a rap style that utilized garage, drum, bass, and grime within its music.

Before the 1990s, UK rappers would attempt to adopt an American accent in hopes of building their profiles. Derek B is one of the first UK rappers to achieve high chart success through his songs “Goodgroves” and “Bad Young Brother”. Fast forward to present day, UK rap has gone mainstream and gained an immense amount of recognition through the help of exposure and social media phenomenons. 

Breakdown of the Sounds

UK Rap & Hip is a genre that has many variations of sounds. With a tempo of around 140 BPM, it is normally a double-time rhythm that is constructed from string and electronic sounds. Similar to American trap music, UK rap is performed with a fairly aggressive tone of voice while the lyrics promote the narrative of violence and drugs. Originating in Chicago, drill is a large component of UK Rap and Hip-Hop. Other genres such as afrobeats, trap, and grime also make up UK Rap and its distinct sound. UK Rap consists of a grungy melody.

Skengdo x AM & Chief Keef, “Pitbulls”, 2018

Section Boyz, “Lock Arff”, 2018

K-Trap, “Warm”, 2021

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