Influences flow back and forth between continents. These are the top influences in American Hip Hop from the UK
40 Most Influential British Hip Hop Rappers in the UK
This list guide features the Top 40 Most Influential British Hip Hop Rappers in the UK. These are among some of the best hip hop artists to top the UK Charts and the underground hip hop world.
Most of them have had major breakthroughs in their music career while some of the underground artists have proven to have a loyal fanbase.
Most of all they’ve showcased their talent and creativity in a way that the world has taken notice of their lyrical efforts, artistic performance and influence over music fans.
Check out our best picks for the Top 40 Most Influential British Hip Hop Rappers in the UK 2019.
1. Stefflon Don
Stefflon Don is a dancehall/rap artist switching between dancehall patois, grime verses, and honeyed vocals with ease and confidence.
Her first two efforts gained traction when in 2015, she covered Wretch 32’s “Six Words” and Section Boyz’s “Lock Arff.”
Stormzy is a London-based grime MC of Ghanaian heritage. Late in 2013 he began uploading his “Wicked Skengman” series of freestyles over classic grime beats. In 2014, he made his official debut with the EP Dreamers Disease.
In 2017 Stormzy released Gang Signs & Prayer (#Merky Records), which featured the single “Big for Your Boots” and appearances by Kehlani, MNEK, and Ghetts.
Dave, is an English rapper who released his debut EP Six Paths in 2016, and the Game Over EP in 2017, with its lead single “No Words” charting within the top 20 on the UK Singles Chart. He later released “Funky Friday” in 2018, which became his first number-one single as a lead artist.
4. Ray Blk
Ray BLK, is a British singer and songwriter,rapper who was born in Nigeria, and grew up in Catford in London. She won the BBC’s Sound of 2017, and was the first unsigned artist to do so. On 28 October 2016, she released her debut mini-album, Durt, and in January 2018 signed to the UK branch of Island Records.
Fredo, is an English rapper, from London. He had a UK number-one single in 2018, with fellow rapper Dave, called “Funky Friday”.
In 2016 he released the single “They Ain’t 100” which gained attention, including a small co-sign when Drake featured the track in his 30th birthday mix on OVO Sound Radio.
6. Dizzee Rascal
Dizzee Rascal, is an English rapper, recording artist and record producer. He released his acclaimed debut album Boy in da Corner in 2003. It has since been considered a grime classic and earned him the 2003 Mercury Prize.
Follow-up albums Showtime, Maths + English, and Tongue n’ Cheek have been critically praised and certified platinum with number-one hits “Dance wiv Me”, “Bonkers”, “Holiday”, “Dirtee Disco”, “Shout”.
Skepta, is an English rapper, songwriter, record producer and music video director from Tottenham, North London. Skepta, alongside his brother Jme, joined Roll Deep for a short period of time before becoming founding members of Boy Better Know in 2006. Shortly after the formation, Skepta released a mixtapeentitled “Joseph Junior Adenuga“.
With Boy Better Known, Skepta clashed with fellow MC Devilman for the video release Lord of the Mics 2, in what is remembered as one of the biggest clashes in grime history. Skepta’s fourth studio album, Konnichiwa, was released on 6 May 2016 to critical acclaim, winning that year’s Mercury Prize.
8. AJ Tracey
AJ Tracey, is an English rapper, grime MC and record producer from Ladbroke Grove, West London. In May 2016, The Guardian listed him in a list of “best new acts to catch at festivals in 2016”.
His fifth EP, Secure the Bag!, entered the UK Albums Chart at number thirteen in October 2017.
9. Biq Shaq
Big Shaq is an English actor, rapper, who gained popularity when he appeared on Charlie Sloth’s BBC Radio 1Xtra show “Fire in the Booth”. His comedic rap “Man’s Not Hot” (whose backing track was sampled from 67 and Giggs’ 2016 track “Let’s Lurk”).
Wiley is an English MC, rapper, recording artist and record producer from Bow, East London. Wiley is considered a pioneer in the British underground music scene with a prolific work rate and a versatile music artist with many crossover hits.
South London grime artist Cadet in 2015 delivered freestyles for underground London-based music channel OSM Vision, and suddenly saw his profile skyrocket.
In 2016 Cadet dropped his first mixtape, The Commitment. The self-released album saw him teaming up with the likes of Donae’o and Tis Rome.
12. Headie One
In late 2010/early 2011 Headie One first made an appearance in the scene delivering solid verses on tunes such as ‘Youngers From Farm’, ‘Bang For My Set’ & ‘Wood Green Diss’.
13. Bugzy Malone
Manchester-based MC Bugzy Malone exploded on the indie grime scene in 2015, racking up 18 million views plus a MOBO nomination that year for Best New Artist.
14. Young T & Bugsey
Young T and Bugsey, the Nottingham duo whose fierce, eclectic hip-hop has turned them into ones-to-watch, championed by Stormzy, Tim Westwood and many more.
Their breakout singles ‘Glistenin’, ‘No Mickey Mouse Ting’, ‘Gangland’ feat Belly Squad and underground smash ‘4×4’ have further helped establish them as ones to watch.
Formed by two cousins and a neighborhood friend, West London trio WSTRN weave a lifetime of musical camaraderie into their R&B/pop-centric rap sound. Their first single “In2,” released in 2015, was such a viral success it drew interest from labels as well as the support of Drake.
Giggs is a British rapper who made his critically acclaimed solo album debut in 2008 with Walk in da Park. Giggs made his full-length solo debut in 2008 with the independently released album Walk in da Park. Later in the year, he won the 2008 BET Award for Best U.K. Act.
17. Deno Driz
Deno Driz rose to stardom when his impromptu cover of Geko’s song “Over and Under” went viral on Instagram in March 2016. He is a member of the music duo AJ x Deno. They released the song “Ride or Die” in 2017.
From acclaimed mixtapes to headline shows and record-breaking freestyles, Avelino’s rapid rise over the past two years is testament to both his tenacity and his natural talent.
On 10 February 2017 Avelino released a single titled “Energy” which features grime heavyweights, Skepta and Stormzy.
North London MC/vocalist Dappy was instrumental in the commercial breakthrough of his urban-pop trio N-Dubz.
They signed to Polydor Records in 2007, where they went on to score a number one single alongside Tinchy Stryder (“Number 1”), several MOBO Awards, and three Top 20 albums: Uncle B (named after his late father), Against All Odds, and Love.Live.Life.
20. Professor Green
Professor Green is an MC who hails from Hackney, London, England. After self-releasing an EP in 2008, Green was attacked at a London club, stabbed in the neck, and nearly died, but the event did nothing to slow him down.
Virgin signed him, and his first two singles with the label, 2010’s “I Need You Tonight” (which sampled the INXS song of the same title) and “Just Be Good to Green” (which featured Lily Allen and made use of the S.O.S. Band’s “Just Be Good to Me” and Beats International’s “Dub Be Good to Me”) reached the Top Ten of the U.K. singles chart
21. Lethal Bizzle
British MC Lethal Bizzle’s explicit lyrics of violence and street tales of East London drew reaction and controversy but also gave him immense popularity among followers of garage and grime in the 2000s.
He released the single “Pow! (Forward),” also known as “Forward Riddim.” Produced by Dexplicit, it entered at 11 on the U.K. pop chart and earned him a MOBO award for Best Single (he was also nominated for Best Newcomer).
22. D-Block Europe
D-Block Europe are a London-based rap duo featuring Dirtbike LB and Young Adz. They made their first appearance in 2017, releasing the singles “Love of the Money” and “Large Amounts” on D-Block Records.
The duo gained recognition with the tracks and with continuous support from the BBC’s Fire in the Booth and the Westwood Crib Sessions.
23. Wretch 32
British rapper Wretch 32 rose out of London’s Tiverton Estate projects in Tottenham, along with his peers Devlin, Chipmunk, Kano, Stormzy, and Skepta.
Ministry of Sound signed him by the decade’s end, and Wretch’s first major-label single, “Traktor,” was released in January 2011, debuting at number five on the U.K. singles chart.
SL is a rapper from the Valley Park, Croydon. His soundscapes hold traces of early 2000s R&B and rap. One of his first songs, Gentleman was a large hit and it was dropped when he was only 15. SL is known for his unique chill, “tropical” take on the UK Drill sound.
25. Little Simz
Little Simz, moves genuinely between hip-hop, r’n’b, jazz and soul beats with a philosophical, curious and yet self-assured expression. She has already released two critically acclaimed and award winning albums independently.
26. Nafe Smallz
Nafe Smallz was known in early 2016, his talent was getting noticed more than ever, and when he was just 19 years old he was asked to support US superstar Future on his UK tour.
He then opened up for both Rich Homie Quan & Migos at their London shows. Nafe then closed 2016 by being one of the only support acts to open up for one the biggest rappers in England, Skepta, at his headline show in front of 10,000 people at Alexandra Palace.
IAMDDB is a young and exciting new talent hailing from Manchester, known for her hybrid of trap-soul and sultry jazz-infused vocals. With her latest release ‘HOODRICH VOL 3’ and a captivating performance of single ‘PAUSE’ for Colours of Berlin, she has proved herself as one of the UK’s most exceptional new class of artists.
Birmingham-based grime MC Mist rose out of the mid-2010s grime resurgence, proving that you don’t have to be from London to be taken seriously in U.K.
During his early career, Mist collaborated with fellow Birmingham resident and producer Shadow, who would create languid yet melodic beats for Mist to navigate. In 2016, Mist really began to break through; early in the year he stepped up to Fire in the Booth, a renowned feature on Charlie Sloth’s BBC Radio 1Xtra show
Northampton born and bred, Slowthai is the rapper speaking out for a generation of kids. His lyrics are cut through with a rawness and unflinching honesty that has the listener hanging on every elongated word (the slowthai moniker comes from a childhood nickname, born out of friends commenting on his slow, drawled speech).
30. Ambush Buzzworl
Hailing from Camden, North West London – Ambush Buzzworl stands out for his concise lyrical flow and polished delivery.
31. Kenny Allstar
Kenny Allstar – aka the Voice of the Streets started a career on iconic pirate station DeJaVu FM and has since hosted shows on Reprezent and his now legendary Mad About Barz freestyle project. This led to a regular spot on BBC 1Xtra where he can support the underground UK music.
Born in Plaistow, East London, British MC Ghetts started out in the grime collective NASTY Crew before leaving to set up the Movement, which also featured Devlin, Wretch 32, and Schorcher.
Skengdo is part of the duo in the UK Rap/Drill scene, Skengdo x AM having emerged from Brixton’s #410 crew. They have unstoppable talent for splicing their tunes with addictive hooks, cold hood realities and endlessly quotable catchphrases.
Devlin broke through from London’s underground grime scene to achieve mainstream success. Born in Dagenham, Essex he released the singles “Shot Music” and “Brainwashed”, the latter was his first hit, which charted at number 31 and was nominated for Best Newcomer at the MOBO Awards.
35. K Koke
In 2010 K Koke was invited to BBC Radio 1Xtra and released a ‘Fire In The Booth’ freestyle for DJ, Charlie Sloth, which has since become one of his most infamous pieces of work to date and currently has over 11 millions views.
In early 2011 Koke became the first British rapper to sign to Roc Nation by Jay-Z himself.
Flohio, grew up in Bermondsey, known for her punchy, poetic lyrics are often confessional. The rapper released her debut EP Nowhere Near in 2016.
Akala released his first album, It’s Not a Rumour in May of 2006. The album won him the 2006 Mobo Award for Best Hip-Hop Artist, and scored him an opening slot on the UK leg of Christina Aguilera’s 2006 tour.
AM is part of the duo in the UK Rap/Drill scene, Skengdo x AM from Brixton’s #410 crew. Skengdo x AM’s gritty tales of road life are the most compelling depictions of London in a generation.
Lowkey has emerged as one of the British hip-hop scene’s most outspoken artists. Born in London he generated buzz with his 2003 Key to the Game mixtape, a stint in rap collective Poisonous Poets, and support slots with Canibus, Dead Prez, and Immortal Technique. He took a hiatus from the music industry for several years before returning in 2009 with his first album, Dear Listener.
40. Mic Righteous
Mic Righteous is a British rapper prominently known for his angst-ridden social commentaries and his collaborations with household names such as Emeli Sandé and Ed Sheeran.
His aggressive style was encapsulated in his first official independent release, the Open Mic EP in 2013.