The Uk Rap Up With Tobz
2011 will go down as the year that UK rap finally became a legitimate facet of the UK music scene. In January, I foresaw the potential and promise of this music and, 12 months later, I’m proud to say that my predictions didn’t let me down...
With major label attention fixed upon the scene this year, it came as no surprise when Benny Banks and G FrSH got snapped up. 2012 promises to be a big one for the pair, as they prepare their debut albums for release. On the topic of albums, Wretch 32’s 'Black and White' and Fem Fel’s 'Eye’s Closed' stand out, namely for the progression from their earlier mixtapes – which isn’t an easy task for artists creating what is often mis-tagged as just "street music" – and this is a lead many are looking to follow in 2012, with heavy anticipation for albums from Blade Brown and K Koke.
2011 was also a year that many realised DVS' potential. Much maligned for his lack of presence in the scene over the years, the PDC rapper returned rejuvenated and focused, dropping one of the biggest mixtapes of the year, 'One In A Billion'. Similarly, the profile of English Frank went under the same renaissance this year, and he emerged to a new audience as one of the most controversial, but undoubtedly talented, rappers that this country possesses.
My favourite breakthrough underground artist of the last year would definitely have to be Fekky. The south-east Londoner only dropped his debut mixtape, 'This One’s On Me', in July but his buzz has risen and people are genuinely buying into his authenticity and original approach to rap. Also, Ratlin from west London deserves a mention for the same reason, as his work rate and originality has made him a rated and respected artist within the scene in an impressive twelve-month grind. Genuine newcomers breaking into the scene with very little help or a bring in from other established rappers is always a promising sign that, above all, it’s the music that matters in this scene.
With all that said, there’s nothing left to do but to look forward to 2012. The last twelve months have met the expectations, but it all needs to be exceeded in the year to come. I, for one, would like to see the emergence of more producers, as this will help expand the scene. I’d also like see more work to aid the development of artists, as well as more events to truly showcase this music on a live stage. Here's to the year ahead, UK rap.
Words: Tobi Oke (@TeflonTobz)
Online editing: Joseph 'JP' Patterson (@Jpizzledizzle)