Top 10 UK Rappers To Watch In 2020
The popularity of hip hop and rap has skyrocketed in recent years, surpassing rock to become the most popular music genre for the first time in history. The UK rap scene has blown up over the last couple of years too, with artists like Stormzy, Lady Leshur, Fredo, Aitch and AJ Tracey generating hundreds of millions of streams and performing headline shows around the globe.
But it’s not just the UK’s household names that are seeing success. The underground rap scene is thriving more than ever before, with new artists going from unknown to receiving millions of views in the space of months.
In this blog post, we take a look at some of the top UK rappers to watch in 2020.
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Born in Rusholme, Manchester, Mastermind is one of the most highly-anticipated artists right now. He’s been making music for several years but rose to prominence with the release of “Wavetime” in April 2019, which has been viewed over four million times on YouTube. This was then remixed by two of the biggest names in UK rap, Chip & Nafe Smallz, which brought even more attention to him. Mastermind recently signed to Columbia Records and has previewed various upcoming videos and songs on his Instagram over the last few months. There are even rumours that an album could be on the way, so a lot of people will be watching him going into the new year.
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Arguably Leeds’ biggest artist in recent years, 2019 was huge for Graft with the release of an EP called “Hat Trick Hero”, tracks appearing on major Spotify playlists such as “UK Rap” and “Grime Shutdown”, and several appearances on BBC 1xtra. He even won three different awards including the acclaimed “MOBO Unsung Award”, which led to various opportunities such as support from PRS for Music and a songwriting session with Craig David. Because Graft is well known for his diverse sound, spanning across genres such as grime, hip hop, rap, dancehall and more, we think he’s poised for a promising 2020.
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Born in Chorlton, Manchester, Tunde started recording in summer 2018 to honour a close friend who also made music before his passing. In just over a year he’s already racked up more than 15 million views on YouTube, created tracks with well-known West Coast US rappers, and been called up for popular freestyle platforms such as Charlie Sloth’s “Fire In The Booth” and Kenny Allstar’s “Voice Of The Streets”. If you’re a fan of bouncy hip hop beats and deep lyrical content, you’ll want to keep a close eye on Tunde in 2020.
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Birmingham artist SmuggzyAce started the year with the release of his “Season Freestyle” and hasn’t slowed down since, releasing five new videos including his debut on Mixtape Madness’ “Mad About Bars”. You can’t help but bop your head to his heavy drill beats and raw samples, with a sound like no one else in the UK music scene. His last mixtape, “Shhmokey”, dropped over two years ago, so we’re hoping for a new one next year, too.
Alz x 38
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Alz and 38 only released their first song six months ago, but they have already amassed nearly 10 million views across four videos. Their sound is reminiscent of the likes of D Block Europe or Nafe Smallz but with more of a raw, gritty feel to their lyrics, likely drawing inspiration from their environment. Their latest release on Pacman TV has already surpassed one million views in just two weeks, but it looks like this is only the very beginning for the London-based rap duo.
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Hailing from Leicester, JB Scofield has been a popular name in the Midlands scene for several years now, but this has undoubtedly been his biggest yet. His summer release “Stretch It” was one of the biggest tracks of 2019, racking up three million streams on Spotify to date, one million views on YouTube and even going on to be included in the FIFA 20 soundtrack. Following the response to his latest visuals, “OK OK”, which gained one million views in less than 4 weeks, it looks like 2020 is set to be even bigger for JB Scofield.
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Born in Islington, North London, Kiico was the winner of the first season of Krept & Konan’s BBC series “The Rap Game”, described as UK rap’s answer to “The X Factor”. He is now signed to Krept & Konan’s record label, “Play Dirty”, recently releasing his debut mixtape, “Time At Last”. Kiico is best known for his raw hip hop/trap sound, but he has also demonstrated his ability to mix it up with melodic hooks and smart punchlines. With two of the biggest UK artists as his mentors, 2020 will surely be a huge year for Kiico.
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Manchester artist Just Banco broke onto the UK scene back in 2017 with the release of “Can’t Stay”, which went on to receive nearly 150,000 views on YouTube. Since then, he’s only continued to make headlines; signing to record label Dirty Hit, known for bands such as The 1975 and Wolf Alice, and releasing his debut album “The Last Train From Trapan”. 2019 has been another strong year for Just Banco, but there’s no doubt he will want to take it to new heights in 2020.
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London artist GeeYou has only been on the UK scene for a few months but has already generated more than eight million views on YouTube and collaborated with one of the UK’s biggest artists, Young Adz. If you’re a fan of melodic trap beats with heavy bass and wavey vocals then GeeYou is definitely one to watch. And at just 18 years old, the future looks very bright for him.
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“Money” Mitch has been one of the most popular artists in Birmingham for several years now. It’s no surprise that he’s had 12 million YouTube views throughout 2019, featured on major freestyle platforms such as “Mad About Bars”, GRM Daily’s “Daily Duppy”, and collaborated with popular artists such as Mastermind. But arguably the biggest moment of his year was his rap beef with fellow Birmingham artist Stardom; even though neither artist made an official release, their leaked tracks received a total of 750,000+ views on YouTube in the space of several weeks. He’s also been known to wear some pretty impressive jewellery, including heavy gold chains, rings and iced out cuban link bracelets.
So, there you have it – our top UK rappers to keep an eye on in 2020. Are there any other artists that deserve to be on this list? Why not let us know on Facebook or Instagram?