The Rise of UK Hip Hop 1980-2018

The Windrush

British Hip Hop is not only a music genre but a culture that encompasses various styles of Hip Hop music within urban societies in United Kingdom.  Jamaican immigrants in the 1960-70’s bought with them dub/toasting which would go on to develop speed-toasting. A style of rapping that would match the rhythm and fast pace and aggressive sounds of Jamaican-influenced dub as a voice of what was going on in the streets.


Similarly US Hip Hop urban music pioneers such as ‘Grand Master Flash’, a DJ from the Bronx in New York invented the quick mix theory and what is known to us as a DJ today. By the end of the 70’s he had started the trend of what is called rapping or MCing at parties.

Flash went on to form the ‘Grandmaster Flash’ and ‘Furious Five’ who went platinum with the single “The Message” featuring ‘Melle Mel’ and ‘Duke Bootee’. ‘Grandmaster’ introduced DJing to a large listening audience with “The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel”. It was the first DJ composition recorded by a DJ other hits followed such as “Supperappin”, “Freedom”, “Larry’s Dance Theme” and “You Know What Time It is”.

Debbie Harry (of Blondie), Fab 5 Freddy, Grandmaster Flash and Chris Stein of Blondie (Photo Source:

Blondie’s introduced Flash to new wave and punk, immortalizing him in her hit song “Rapture”.


1980’s and 90’s

Emerging from a scene of graffiti street art, break dancing, DJing, live rapping and MCing at parties and night clubs followers mostly listened to and were influenced by American hip hop block parties. Different from the US scene, UK hip hop crossed racial barriers from the very beginning as ethnic groups in Britain mostly do not live in segregated areas like in the US. This allowed the youth of the UK to share their cultures with one another through music.

hip hop pirate station
UK Youths at a Dance in the 80’s (Photo Source: http://www.thegu)

Cross pollination brought about by migrants from the West Indies bought together a community of people interested in the music. Caribbean influenced sound systems generated a transportable syncopated bass to various venues creating what we now know as club culture.

‘Knowledge’ is documented as Britains first rapper in ‘Black Echoes Magazine’ of January 1980.


The first ever British Hip Hop tune to be released was by Dizzy Heights (Polydor, 1982), recorded as “Christmas Rapping” and not “London Bridge” by ‘Newtrament’ (Jibe Records, 1983). Before this British Hip Hop artists were either rapping live to an audience or making recordings of amateur tapes.

Newtrament “London Bridge is Falling Down” (Parlophoe, 1986) Photo Source:


Earlier pop songs such as ‘Adam and the Ants’ “Ant Rap” (CBS 1981) played with rap and Wham’s, “Wham Rap (Enjoy What You Do)” (Inner Vision, 1982) also produced what is recognized as a pop appropriation of US rapping style. A Punk Band named The Clash also experimented with rap on their single  “This is Radio Clash” (1981) and also on their album Sandinista (CBS, 1981).


Breakthrough hit by Malcolm McLaren “Buffalo Gals” (Chrisma, 1982) which features New York hip hop group ‘The Worlds Famous Supreme Team’ who feature sampling and scratching sounds over records. These techniques were established in the United states Hip Hp culture.


The next few years saw the introduction of Electro music and more UK Hip Hop.  Greg Wilson an English DJ and producer from Manchester played a highly influential role in the 80’s electro scene writing and commenting on dance and popular culture.  He built his reputation as a black music specialist as a resident DJ at local nightspots playing jazz-funk, soul and disco funk.

Wilson traveled playing at clubs and also on Manchester Piccadilly Radio on Mike Shafts show ‘T.C.O.B’ (Taking Care of Business) These radio shows are recognized as being key influences of the day. Wilson was invited to show his skills on a show called ‘The Tube’on Channel 4. This was the first time a British DJ had mixed music live on TV.

‘Street Sounds Electrtic’ Album Cover 1982 (Photo

“Street Sounds Electric” (Street Sounds,1984) album was one of the first to feature sampling. A track from the album called ‘Style of the Street’ sampled a recording of ‘Broken Glass’.


Wilsons album recording features an earlier appearance from ‘MC Kermit’. They went on who went on later to put together the Ruthless Rap Assassins; The Rapologists’ “Kids /Rap/Party Rap” (Billy Boy, 1984) and ‘Grandmaster Richie Rich’ “Don’t Be flash” (Spin Offs, 1985). ‘The Rap Assasins’ released two critically acclaimed albums through EMI, “Killer Album” 1990 and “I think” from the album ‘It ain’t illegal yet’ (1991) which expressed the struggle of West Indian immigrants who came into the country in the 50’s and 60’s. Relative to this the scene remained mostly underground with few and far between new releases.


Record labels were becoming increasingly aware of this popular underground music throughout the 80’s and 90’s but despite this the genre still found it difficult to get publicity from main stream radio which made  it difficult for the genre to take flight.  The scene managed to survive by word of mouth and the illegal backing of pirate radio stations set up around the country. DJ’s such as Dave Pearce, Tim Westwood and John Peel helped to bring the music to mainstream radio by broadcasting radio shows as much as possible.


The UK hip hop scene in the 1980’s was not just confined to break-dancing and music, but also included another integral element of American Hip Hop culture; New York City-style graffiti.

London and other urban cities in the UK were especially influenced. Teenagers from Inner London and European cities into Electro Hip-Hop  had taken up the tradition of subway graffiti painting trains and walls of the tube like US legends writers Brim, Bio and Futura. Brim was a close friend of ‘hip hop acts like ‘Afrika Bambaata’ and ‘Universal Nation’ and would feature in one of the most important videos of hip hop culture “Renegades of Funk” by ‘Afrika Bambaataa’. He was later introduced to fellow British graffiti artists like ‘Goldie’ who would go on to compete with the biggest ever graffiti battle with ‘3D’ Rob Del Naja who would go on to form massive attack.



Many British teenagers with New York connections in the Bronx and Queens came back to London on a “mission” to paint the London Underground. Painting train pieces on a few selected underground lines such as the Metropolitan line; effectively ‘bombing’ the system prompting British Transport Police to put together a Graffiti Squad modeled on the that of the New York City MTA.


This generated attention from the areas and media which led to several art galleries having exhibitions on some of the art displayed on canvas. Documentaries on London Hip Hop Culture such as BBC’s ‘Bad Meaning Good’ produced by pirate radio host Kiss FM’s DJ Tim Westwood featuring a section of interviews with writers on their pieces.

PIECE Mode2 Photo Source:


The Chrome Angelz (TCA) is a  London/Paris graffiti Crew that was formed in 1985 and includes: Pride, Mode 2, Scribla, Bando and Zaki Dee.

Street Art by Chrome Angelz (



Many rappers in the early stages imitated US styles and accents which did UK hip-hop an injustice as it took away from communicating effectively with its British audience in the way US Hip Hop spoke to its home constituency. UK rappers such as Rodney P of the ‘London’ Posse made attempts to develop styles that were more obviously rooted towards the linguistics of British practice adopting hybrid versions of slurred rap.

‘Kinetic Effect’ part of rap outfit ‘2 The Top’  joined the scene in the early 1980’s and in 1991 ‘D-Roy’ teamed up with Insane Macbeth recording “Borderin Insanity” in 1993 and 2 years later he also recorded “Man Bites Dog”/The Effect of Fear”. They went on to record “The Rhythm I Give Em” which made the UK Top 10 Hop Chart. Other rap artists came through later including: ‘London Rhyme Syndicate’ who released “Hard to the core” (Rhyme N Reason Records, 1988) , Shogun MC’ “Ready for action” (Bluechip, 1989), ‘Dee Lawal’, “The D dont play” (Playhard Records, 1989) and ‘MC Untouchable’, “Untouchables Theme” (Blapp! Records, 1989).

‘London Rhyme Syndicate’ (Photo Source:

‘Cash Crew’ a notable act to be mentioned, entered the scene is 1985 and included members Rakim, da Authordox aka Trim, Champain aka Gravity and DJ Loose. In their day they were the UK’s version of ‘Public Enemy’ or ‘Gangsta Rap’. The first track they ever released was called ‘Microphone Maniacs’. They were the first UK Hip Hop Act to appear at the Lonon Marquee Club in 1989. In 1990 they signed to Scream label and released what would be a classic “Green Grass” (Scream, 1990). In 1991  they released “Will it make my Brown Eyes Blue” which featured “Ghetto Circumstances” a hit underground track. Rap battles between rival crew ‘Outlaw’ would see them release a dis track aimed at ‘Cash Crew’ called “Son of the Devil” (1991). After being dropped from Scream they formed their own label ‘Street Ministry’. Shortly after this they signed to a french label called Disques Vogue and released what would be their second and final piece ‘From an Afropean Perspective’ (1996).  A political voice for the UK Hip Hop scene they attend meetings at Hyde Park speakers corner on Sunday afternoon helping to spark debate and bring attention to black issues and UK hip hop.


Founding Labels

In 1986 ‘Music of Life’ was formed the first UK record label devoted to UK hip hop and signed Derek B the first UK rapper to attain success in mainstream charts with “Bad Young Brother” (Tuff Audio, Phonogram, 1988) and “Good Groove” reaching number 16 in the UK charts. Derek B also an A&R signed acts such as the ‘Demon Boys’, ‘Hardnoise’, ‘Hijack’ and ‘MC Duke’. They produced a home grown series of mixed talent such as ‘Thrashpack’ and ‘She Rockers’ with worked with US ‘Public Enemies’, ‘Professor Griff’, who produced “Give it a Rest” (1988) featuring ‘Betty Boo’. Alison Clarkson aka ‘Betty Boo’ went on to release “Hey DJ, i cant dance to that music you’re playing” with ‘Beatmasters’ in 1991 which hit number 7 in the charts. In the same year her independently produced album “Boomania” spawned 2 top ten hits.


Record label Mango Records and Kold Sweat swiftly followed. Other emerging British hip-artist from Music Life Label include ‘Asher D’ who showcased his Jamaican origins with his vocal style.

Growing away from its roots in the US, UK hip hop took a new direction of sounds bringing forth acts like, ‘II Tone Committee’, ‘Silver Bullet’, ‘Hard Noise’ who bought a hardcore fast style to the arena. A jazz influence style came from ‘Outlaw’ and ‘Caveman’, whilst ‘MC Mell’O’ collaborated hardcore and jazz sounds.

An original mover of the 80’s and 90’s hip hop movement is MC Mell ‘O’ (pictured above) he helped gain exposure to UK scene touring the world with the likes of ‘Queen Latifah’, ‘KRS-One’, N.W.A, Cyprus Hill and Public Enemy


Reggae and disco would influence ‘Black Radical’, ‘MK 11’, ‘DJ Cut’ and ‘Tuff C’ whilst radio friendly hip hop from ‘Wee Papa Girl’ Rappers, ‘Monie Love’, ‘Cookie Crew’ achieved chart success.,

Additional acts and styles would go on to further develop the UK hip hop genre such as Trip Hop from ‘Goldie’, ‘Massive Attack’, ‘Galliano’, ‘Us3’, Acid Jazz and ‘Urban Species’.


In spite of chart success the UK hip hop scene was very much still underground and small scale so acts such as Slick Rick, Monie Love, MF Doom, Young MC moved to the US for more exposure.

West Londons ‘Positive Beat Records’ came from the grass roots of early British Hip Hop with two releases in 1987 with “Its Getting Rough” by ‘Rocky X’ and ‘DD Dance’ with a mix of other artists on the ‘Know to Be Down’ album including ‘Sir Drew’ of ‘KREW’, ‘MC Flex’, ‘Rapski’, Papa Speng’, MC Iroc and Mel-O-Dee.

“Known to be down” (Positive Beats Records, 1987) a collaborative album of UK hip hop talent (Photo Source:

“The Connection” taken from “Know 2 Be Down” is an early example of mixing Reggae and Hip Hop in a London style embodying both linguistic approaches released in 1988 on 12” Vinyl. The early 1990’s bought more tracks from artists such as Jonie D with “Which Base/Ride on” and ‘MC Reason’ with “Symbolise/HouseQuake” with the track “Which Base” being performed live on ITV in 1991

It was in the 90’s that a sense of distrust developed against successful artists who chose not to adapt to the hardcore style associated with the culture with songs like “No Sell Out” (1991) typifying the scene at the time. Silver Bullets uncompromisingly fast delivery received applause and chart success however ‘Rebel MC’ and ‘Derek B’ were frowned upon because their style of music was taken from pop and was thought to be the reason for their success. Artist that went mainstream were branded as “sell outs”.

In 1989 ‘Hip Hop Connection’ the first major British Hip Hop Magazine was founded. By the early 1990’s the UK hip hop scene started to thrive with a solid foundation of London Rappers which included ‘Black Radical’, ‘Mk II’ and ‘Blade’ who all developed around various scenes recognized nationally.


For example Bristol has long history trailing back to the early 80’s when links were made with friends from New York. In 1984 ‘The Fearless Four’ came through with Graffiti legends ‘Rock Steady Crew’ and ‘Tats Crew’.

Influential! New York Rap and Breakdance ‘Rock Steady Crew’  peaked at number 6 on the UK Charts in 1984

St Pauls, an area in Bristol produced ‘The Wild Bunch’ better known as ‘Massive Attack’ and award legends such as Nelle Hooper went on the produce the group ‘Soul II Soul’. Other notable artists such as ‘DMC’, ‘DJ Quest’ and ‘DJ Mad Cut’ also came out of City which would become the home from which trip hop came from, with artists including ‘Portishead’ and ‘Tricky’.


Braintax was born in Leeds along with Breaking Illusion Low Life Records and Nightmares on Wax.

Greater Manchester spawned ‘Krispy 3’ (later ‘Krispy’), ‘Ruthless Rap Assassins’, ‘Jeep Beat Collective’, ‘Kaliphz’, ‘MC Tunes’ and ‘Jeep Beat Collective’. The growing scene formed its own identity apart from the US with artists using their own style and accents ridiculing artists that still used fake American accents.

Major record label Profile Records home of ‘Run-D.M.C’ signed ‘Caveman’ whilst Kold Sweat established themselves through discoveries of groups such as ‘Dynametrix, ‘SL Troopers’, ‘Katch 22’ and ‘Unanimous Decision’. ‘Katch 22s’ record “Diary of a Blackman” was banned by Radio 1 for using a sound clip record of the National Front.

‘Hijack’ released ‘The Horns of Jericho’ (Rhythm Syndicate Records, 1991) through Ice-T’s newly formed label Rhyme Syndicate. “The Badman is Robbin” was the first single selling more than 30’000 albums and making it into the top 40 hits.

‘Hijack’ (Photo Source:

The clamp down on sampling affected UK hip hop very negatively as the industry authorities began to prosecute those who used samples without permission. Turning a profit became even harder as smaller UK artists were unable to afford the luxury of license samples that larger US acts could.

Milton Keynes group ‘The Criminal Minds’ were a victim of such as their first two debuts in the early 90’s were held back by possible problems with sample clearance and so were only available to a limited number of followers despite being named as some of the greatest pieces of British hip hop made. The early to mid 90’s saw the break through hardcore become popular and so ‘The Criminal Minds’ directed their musical abilities toward making this kind of music in compromise.


The predicted UK hip hop boom never gained commercial success and many record companies began to drop artist as a result of poor sales and lack of publicity. Record label Mango Records closed down and the affection of the UK scene were drawn to jungle music. A fusion of hip hop, reggae and breakbeat hardcore.

Brotherhood was the only group to make an impact between the 1992 and 1995 period. The group were first formed in the 80’s but in 1991 released their debut record called ‘Brotherhood EP’ as a white label. Later in 1992 they went on to release “Ways of the Wise” which was then ’Untitled 93’ and ‘XXII’ in 1993 and the following year ‘Hip Hop N Rap’ in 1994 with record label ‘Bite it!’.  Numbers sold were low but luckily they were able to get air play on the Tim Westwood show as well as Choice FM’s DJ279’s show which helped the scene to grow a solid cult of followers nationwide. Bite It! Label also released tracks from ‘Scientist of Sound’ and ‘Pauly Ryan’.



‘The Brotherhood EP’ (Bite it! Recordings, 1991) (Photo Source:

After the initial attention from large record labels died down and pulled back in the 1980’s, the 90’s saw the scene move and start to diversify into an experimental phase. Mixing genres completely differing to one another creating a hybrid mutated sound like trip hop which directed itself forward into the US Market.

As the first generation of rappers departed from the scene, a new breed of youthful rappers bought up on hip hop and electronica were coming to the forefront. “Remedies” released by ‘The Herbaliser’ (Ninja Tune, 1995), ‘Mark B’ released “Any More Questions?” (Jazz Fudge 1995), ‘Mr Scruff’ released the “Frolic EP Pt 1st (Pleasure Music, 1995) and DJ Skitz released single “Where My Mind At/Blessed Be The Manor” (Ronin Records, 1996) which featured guest rapper ‘Roots Manuva’, a young artist with previous recording experience releasing “Next Type of Motion” in 1995 (Sound of Money, 1995).

The emergence of record labels mixing British hip hop style with contemporary dance music brought acts like Mark Raes ‘Grand Central’ or ‘Jazz Fudge’ from ‘DJ Vadim’. Artists began to avoid sampling breach issues by producing music themselves or looking for more fairer and cost effective ways of arranging licensing deals. Bands like ‘Stereo MC’s’ started sampling their own tunes and playing their own instruments.


It was at this point that UK hip hop transpired into a renaissance evolving from its hardcore template of youth into a melodic landscape of music.

In 1995 ‘The Brotherhood’ managed to get a deal with Virgin Records with Trevor ‘The Underdog’ Jackson still as their producer. In 1996 they released 3 singles ‘Alphabetical Response’ ‘Out Shot’, ‘Punk Funk’ from their album ‘Elementalz’ which gained critical acclaim status and toured with strictly American acts including ‘The Roots’, ‘Cyprus Hill’, and ‘Wu Tang’ but record sales were still insignificant and they went separate ways from Virgin in 1998.

The BrotherHood (Photo source: www:discogcom)


In 1996 Big Dada label was founded by Will Ashon a music journalist specialising in hip publications such as Trace, Musik and Hip Hop Connection. Big Dada was an imprint of Ninja Tune Records which patterned a selection of artists. ‘Bandit’ from Birminghams ‘MSI/Asylum Crew’ bought ‘Juice Aleem’ to the attention of Ashon who was careful who he wanted to represent the label. Ashon was impressed and this resulted in the first release under Big Dada records “Mianthropic”, as alias “Alpha Prhyme” a collaboration with Luke Vibert. Since, Big Dada records has become an iconic record label signing and releasing records for the likes of  artists such ‘Roots Manuva’, ‘Diplo’, ‘Speech Debelle’ and  ‘The Godfather of Grime’, ‘Wiley’.

1998 saw the release of “Hitmen for Hire EP” by ‘Mark B’ and ‘Blade’. The album guest featured the likes of ‘Mr Thing’ of the ‘Scratch Perverts’ and Lewis Parker. The EP led them to success and in 2001 they released the album ‘The Unknown’ which was a top 100 and bigger success within its own genre category.

This album also gave birth to the 2001 single “Ya Don’t See the Signs” a remix produced by Grant Nicholas and frontman of ‘Feeder’. The title track became a top 75 hit and Mark B and Blade supported Feeder. In the same year Hombre label from Bristol released “2012 EP”, a benchmark release within the movement from ‘Aspects’, ‘Phi Life Cypher’, ‘Jeep Beat Collective’ ‘Ty, MSI & Asylum’, ‘Roots Manuva’, ‘Mud Family’, ‘Blak Twang’, ‘Ti2bs’, and ‘Task P’ . Veteran acts such as ‘MC Mell’O’, ‘Rodney P’ and ‘Mike J’ also made comebacks to the scene.



The turn of Century saw the emergence of new artists including ‘Nicky Spesh’, ‘Jehst’, ‘Bion’, ‘Idyllic’, ‘Ricta’, ‘Whitecoat’, ‘Usmaan’ and ‘Foreign Beggars’.



Gaining more attention in the urban music scene at this time however was a new style of electronic music called ‘UK Garage’. This style combined soul, rap, reggae and R&B. Artists and DJ’s such as EZ, Grant Nelson, Craig David, Artful Dodger, M.J. Cole, Heartless Crew, So Solid Crew, The Streets, Shanks & Bigfoot, MC Neat, DJ Luck, MC Creed, DJ Pied Piper and the Masters of Ceremony, Oxide and Neutrino, Lisa Mafia and Ms Dynamite amongst other acts and artists all helped to bring rapping or MCing into mainstream music.  UK garage songs  appeared on the charts in the early 2000’s and included ‘Distant Soundz’ version of “Time After Time” (#20), ‘Jaimesons’ “True” (#4), ‘So Solid Crew’s’, “Haters” (#8) and “Ride Wid Us” (#19), Mr Reds vs DJ Skribbles “Everyone Come on can you feel it” (#13) and “Baby Cakes” by ‘3 of a Kinds’ which hit number one in August 2004. For a good few years the scene progressed rapidly but sadly got pushed back underground a few years later due to bad publicity and violence surrounding events and members of the So Solid Crew.

So Solid Crew (Photo Source:

The Streets 2002 album “Original Pirate Material” was a success, becoming one of the first to gain respectable sales with this new breed of UK British hip hop arts. His lyrical style was criticised and looked down on by other rappers in the industry. Regardless the success caused other UK hip hop acts to gain exposure from the media and Welsh rap group called ‘Goldie Lookin Chain’ accomplished success in the charts with their somewhat ironic version of hip-hop. From this point UK hip hop split into two ideologies and genres. The release of notable records like ‘Council Estate of Mind’ from ‘Skinnyman’ and Klashnekoff’s ‘The Saga of..strengthened the reputation of artists and opened the door for new ones to develop. ‘Braintax’ co-founder of record label Low Life Records became a stable for many starting artists journey into the music industry.


Mega talented Female Rappers like ‘Ms Dynamite’ made it big releasing her debut album ‘A little Deeper’ in 2002 which featured hit songs “It Takes More” and “Dy-na-mi-tee” for which she won a prestigious Mercury Award. The following year she won Best British Female Solo artist and Urban Act of 2003 at the Brit Awards. That same year the album was released in 2003 in America receiving critical acclaim.

The bad publicity involving ‘UK Garage’ music would now be pushed back somewhat underground and Grime would take centre stage as the UK urban youth’s voice.


British hip hop originating from London would then go on to be over taken by Grime which can also be referred to as “British Rap” “UK Hip Hop”, “UK Rap” and informally as “Brit-Hop” a term created by British Vogue and the BBC.

In 2003 the times defined British Hip Hops wide range music approach as “a broad sonic church encompassing anything made in Britain by musicians informed or inspired by hip-hop’s possibilities, whose music is a response to the same stimuli that gave birth to rap in New York in the mid-seventies”.

Grime also called eskibeat or sublow. Brought about artists such as ‘Pay As U Go Cartel’, ‘Wiley’, ‘Roll’, ‘Deep’, ‘Boy Better Know’ ‘Skepta’, ‘JME’, ‘Jammer’, ‘Kano’, ‘Ghetts’, ‘Big Narstie’, ‘Wretch32’, ‘Newham Generals’, ‘D Double E’, ‘Lethal Bizzle’, ‘More Fire Crew’, ‘Tinchy Stryder, Shystie’, ‘Devlin’ and more.

Grime is a sound typified by a syncopated breakbeat that rappers and MC’s spit their gritty lyrics over in a fast tempo. A style influenced by dancehall, reggae, Drum and Base, and UK Garage. Electronic dance music now being a firm foundation of UK Urban popular culture.

Wiley also called the ‘God Father of Grime’, created the original Eskimo beat which is recognized as the first ever grime beat. Originally a Jungle MC, he made his first mark as part of the ‘pay as you go’ crew who topped the charts with “Champagne dance” in 2001. He then went on to create his white label Eskimo which is recognized as the first ever grime beat.



A pioneer of British underground music, it wasn’t long before he became a solo artists and a member of his own crew ‘Roll Deep’. Wiley broadcast his beat over pirate radio stations like Rinse FM which eventually bought his music to mainstream lending to a long term career as an accomplished musician achieving UK chart success with top 10 hits. “Wearing my Rolex” (2  ) “Never be your woman” with ‘Naughty Boy’ & ‘Emele Sande’ (#5 ) and later “Heatwave” would top the charts  reaching number 1 August 2012. In March 2018 Wiley deservedly won an MBE for services to music.

A corner stone track of grime genre is ‘Wileys’, “Treddin on Thin Ice”; it should also be mentioned that ‘Wiley’ bought and mentored many of the successful legends of today such as friend and former Crew member of ‘Roll Deep’ ‘Dizzee Rascal’.

His early career saw the release of Grime bangers such as “I Luv U” which he self produced at age 16. He went  on to sign with XL records winning a Mercury Music Prize in 2003 for his debut single ‘Boy in da Corner’. He had continued success with his albums “Show time” “Maths & English” and “Tongue & Cheek” which went platinum selling 300,000 units in the UK. His UK Number 1 chart hits include”Dance with me”, “Bonkers”, Holiday”, “Dirtee Disco” and “Shout”. It was from that point that grime artists became the main interest of record labels and the traditional Hip Hop scene went very quiet.

In the UK controversy surrounded the genre with regard to the lyrical content of the music. Lethal Bizzle released Pow! (Forward) in 2005 making a number or references towards guns and was banned from getting mainstream airplay with the authorities perpetuating that it glorifies gun culture and violence. ‘Dizzee Rascal’ spoke out saying that his very own existence and the music he created was a problem for at the time British Prime Minister Anthony Blair. Other British artists argue that British hip hop should not be blamed for the stigma attached to American Hip-hop although voices of the industry seem to be expressing the things they go through in their daily life lyrically-similar to voices across the pond.

The popularity of what was termed “gangster rap” bought negative attention from members of parliament such as David Blunkett who expressed concerns that British hip hop is a cause of violence amongst the youth. ‘Roots Manuva’ advised that UK hip hop was “more healthy” than US hip-hop and would take the music in the direction of the art of making music and not taking advantage of wealth and individually getting rich.

This period continued to see growth and more UK hip hop artists such as N-Dubz, Dasafo, Sway, Stormzie and Giggs.


Many in the UK Hip Hop scene perceived the grime scene to be commercial so a new generation of young socially conscious hip-hop musicians came through striving to bring attention to current social issues. Using their lyrics to spread positivity and to also highlight the injustices of gentrification, war and racism following the lead of traditionally conscious rappers ‘Mos Def’, ‘Nas’, and ‘Talib Kweli’. These artists prefer to define themselves as ‘Hip Hop’ rather than ‘Grime’ artists and include rappers such ‘Klashnekoff’, ‘Akala’, ‘Wackman’, ‘Poisonous Poets’, ‘Swag Blanket’ and political activist ‘Lowkey’ who has worked and toured America with big acts such as ‘Public Enemy’, ‘Immortal Technique’, and ‘Chuck D’ from ‘Public Enemy’ but still doesn’t receive much coverage by mainstream media despite having a huge underground following.

Grime evolved into a ‘hip hop’ genre that would dominate the UK single and album charts. The turn of the decade saw acts like ‘N-Dubz’, ‘Chipmunk’, ‘Tinchy Stryder’ and ‘Dizzee Rascal’ receive widespread commercial success in 2009. ‘Tinchy Stryder’ hit the charts with two number one songs “Never Gonna Leave You” becoming the best selling solo artist in that same year. However they received criticism, being accused of abandoning the genre to achieve success. The next year would see continued success and interest from the U.S with a special collaboration from ‘Skepta’ and ‘Diddy’ on a grime remix “Hello good morning” whilst other artists like ‘Professor Green’ and ‘Tinie Tempah’ achieved break through success and critical appreciation.

Inspite of Grimes dominance, Rapper ‘Plan B’ found success in 2010 with his album ‘The Defamation of Strickland Banks’ a hip hop soul fusion which was followed by Ill Manors in 2012 a soundtrack album to his film. Both albums reached number 1 on the UK Charts.


In 2008 a UK Road Rap was surfacing from Peckham Rappers like Giggs who

Tine Tempah’s debut album Disc-Overy went platinum on 1 March 2011 and took the number one spot in the UK album chart. His number one single ‘Pass Out’ also won a Brit award in the same year.

Wretch32’s Major label debut ‘Black and White’ released in 2011 reached number 1 on the Official Album chart of which 3 tracks reached top 10 in the singles charts ‘Don’t Go’, ‘Unorthodox’ and ‘Traktor’. He went on to win ‘Best International Act’ at the 2012 BET Awards bringing UK Hip Hop and Grime to the global stage.

‘Wretch32’ BET Award Winner (Photo Source:

The rise and popularity of African culture and music in Urban Britain bought about Afro beat Rappers like ‘Fuse OG’ who released “Antenna” on 2 June 2013 reaching number 7 on the UK Singles Charts and 85 in Ireland. “Azonto’ his next single peaked at 30 in the UK charts and in the same year he was awarded a MOBO Award for ‘Best African Act’. In the same year of December 2013 song “Million Pound Girl (Badder than Bad)” got to number 5 in the UK singles Chart. “Dangerous Love” a track featuring Dancehall artist Sean Paul would be released 18 May 2014 peaking the UK singles charts at number 3.

‘Fuse ODG’ (Photo Source:

J Hus’s “Dem Boy Paigon” and “Lean & Bop” gained him popularity in 2015 which was followed by “Did you See” on March 2nd 2017. The song hit 9 on UK singles chart and went platinum making it his biggest song. “Common Sense” was released on 12 May 2017 and reached number 6 on the UK Album Chart. This year (2018) he released his EP ‘Big Spang’.

‘J Hus’ (Photo Source:

Scottish Hip Hop trio ‘Young Father’ won a Mercury Prize for their album ‘Dead’ which entered the UK Chart at 35 after winning the award in 2014.

The next sensation would be a Grime Rapper artist ‘Stormzy’ a young rapper from South London who took the scene literally by storm. Ever since the young rapper from South London has continued to break industry records and earn critical acclaim, winning ‘Best Grime Act’ at the MOBO Awards on 22nd October 2014. In 2015 he followed in Wretch32’s lead winning ‘Best International Act’ at the BET awards. His second album “Gang Signs and Prayer” reached No1 on the UK album chart on 3 March 2017 and the young legend has continued to win numerous awards to date recently receiving a ‘Best Album’ at the 2018 Brit Awards. Stormy recognizes Lauren Hill, ‘Wiley’ and ‘Skepta’ as his key influences and inspirations.

‘Stormzy’ took the scene by storm! (Photo Source:

In 2016 RZ MC’s The Hamilton Mixtape topped the Billboard 200 which also featured the track “immigrants (Get the Job Done) The song would also receive a MTV Video Music Award for “Best Fight Against the System in 2017.

Skepta a key figure in contemporary British Pop Culture is best known on the underground scene for his instrumental bangers with Meridian Crew such as “DTI (Pirate Station Anthem) and “Private Caller”. His Legendary win over ‘Devilman’  in  the ‘Lord of the Mics 2’ (2006) contest earned him the reputation for having the sickest bars and is one the most famous MC clashes in Grime History. He would then release “Joseph Junior Adenuga” mixtape under his label BBK (2007), ‘Greatest Hits’. His first single ‘Rolex Sweep’ made it into the UK charts and in 2009 he released the single “Too Many Man” featuring ‘JME’, ‘Wiley’, ‘Shorty’ and ‘Frisco’. The track was taken from his album ‘Microphone Champion’ released in June of the same year (2009). The Nigerian Decent Londoner then went on to release 5 tracks “Bad Boy”, “Rescue Me”, “Cross my Heart” featuring Preeya Kalidas, “So Alive”and “Amnesia”; tracks taken from his third studio album ‘Doing it Again’. Three of those singles charted on top 40 UK Charts with the highest being “Rescue Me” (#14).

‘Skepta’ released his single ‘that’s not me’ in 2014 which reached number 8 in the UK charts. In 2014 he won a MOBO Award for Best Video which cost him £80 to make. House hold Grime stable “Shut down” was released in 2015 which would be a single on his critically acclaimed 4th album ‘Konnichiwa’.

Konnichiwa received widespread acclaim from critics, who praised its role and success in the resurgence of grime music and its cultural identity (Photo Source:


The album would be Grimes highest ever charting album of the day reaching number 2 in the UK charts and features ‘JME’, ‘D Double E’, ‘Wiley, Chip’, ‘Pharrell Williams’, ‘Asap Nast’ and ‘Young Lord’. The album would be recognized and celebrated internationally across respectable mainstream best album lists with critics praising him for reviving grime music cultural identity. Debretts listed ‘Skepta’ as one of the Most Influential people of 2017. The same year he released his album “Vicious” EP which debuted a new style or sound of Grime/hip hop influenced my America’s popular Trap Rap beats with tracks such as ”Hypocrisy”, “Ghost Ride” “No Security”.

Skepta drops surprise ‘Vicious’ EP featuring Lil B, A$AP Rocky and Section Boyz (Photo Source:


‘Skepta’ notably is and has been an instrumental key figure with over a decade worth of contribution to the Urban music scene both commercially and underground. From the early 2000s this multi-dimensional and multi-talented UK Rapper and Grime MC has made waves both nationally and internationally; gaining the attention of and appearing in collaboration with the likes of super star status acts such as, Kanye West and Drake who he signed to his label in 2016; Both Rappers making historical appearances together at Wireless Festival in 2015 and on stage with Lotto Boys. Bringing more positive hype and attention from the US to UK scene.

‘Drake’ on stage with ‘Section Boyz’ (Photo Source:

Ever since his return the grime legend has diversified his traditional grime sound in different areas making music with the likes of American hip hop artists and acts like ‘ASAP Mob’ “It ain’t safe” (2014) “Red Eye” (2015) with Flatbush Zombies and Nigerian Afrobeats Star Boy, Wizkid on ‘Olejuelegba’(2015) which also featured Drake. The rise and popularity of African culture and music in the capital bought forward the likes of ‘J Hus’, ‘Nots3’,  all gaining commercial success

Collaboration has been key in the rise of UK hip hop and music of black origin over the last 2 years. (Photo Source:

Being able to adapt his clear, crisp and original style into a smoother melodic version has been key in creating a fuse which mixes hip hop and grime to create a unique and ground breaking sound with recent hits like ‘Praise the Lord (‘Da Shine’)’ featuring ASAP Rocky going Platinum in the States, staying on Billboard Hot 100 for 8 consecutive weeks summer of 2018. ‘Boy Better Know’ Skepta a co-founder ‘JME’ won  received a well deserved NME 2018 award for innovation.

‘JME’ another instrumental multi-faceted Rapper and producer on the UK Urban Grime scene released his first album ‘Famous?’ under a private label with all of ‘BBK’. ‘Blam’ his second album was released in 2010 which features tracks “Over Me”, “Side Tracked” featuring Wiley and “CD is Dead” featuring ‘Tempa T’. His compilation album “History” followed in 2011 which features the track “96 Fuckeries”. Both the single and the album respectively made the UK single and album charts.  “Integrity” in 2015 which entered into UK album charts at 12 and the UK R&B and chart and download charts at number! ‘JME’ has a very large and loyal following. His record (‘Integrity’) was nominated for AMPALA Album of the Year award 2015. His single “Man Don’t Care About That” featuring ‘Giggs’ (2015) is a UK Urban Anthem which peaked at 100 in the charts.

2018 has seen a list of collaborations featuring Skepta and emerging talents such as ‘Suspect’ on ‘Look Alive’ (2018), (BlocBoy JB & Drake Remix), Ambush on ‘Jumpy’ (2018) is show casing what looks to be the next generation of UK hip hops Super Stars!

2018 has also see the rise of super talents like ‘Not3s’ who set pace on the scene with his popular sound influenced by grime, afrobeats, and Hip Hop. He is better known for his UK Top Hit 20 songs “My Lover” and “Fine Line” which both feature ‘Mabel’. His break through track “Addison Lee” succeeded in bringing a lot of publicity from the media even performing at club ‘KOKO’ for the companies annual staff party. Notable similar artists include ‘Dave’ who collaborated with Drake on “Wanna Know” (2016) and ‘AJ Tracey’ who’s track “Butterflies” featuring ‘Not3s’ placed in the UK Top 40 charts and also won Best song at the 2018 KA & GRM Daily Awards.

‘Not3s and AJ Tracey’ Butterfly was a summer time banger  (Photo Source:

Road Rap

Road rap is a genre of music also known as British gangster rap and UK rap. IT came about as a backlash to the commercialization of grime becoming successful in the mainstream media. Its explicit lyrics depict the violence of British Gang Culture also often expressed in earlier grime music. It’s a style of music very similar to American Gangsta Rap. The Road Rap scene is focused around YouTube video popularity and mixtape releases. Its most famous artists include ‘Krept and Konan’ ‘Giggs’, ‘Sneakbo’ and ‘K Koke’.Giggs came into the scene in 2005 with his studio album ‘Walk in the Park’.

In 2007 Giggs released “talking the hardest” which was recorded on the instrumental of the song “Here we go” a song which was produced originally by Dr Dre. The following year his independent debut album “Walk in the Park” won a BET Award in the US for the Best Hip Hop Act: UK. Giggs signed with XL Recordings in 2009 making “Look what the cat dragged in” taken from his album ‘lets ave it’ which featured  and “Don’t go There”. In 2010 he also collaborated with Tinchie Stryder’s track “Game Over” together with Devlin, Chipmunk, Professor Green and Tinie Tempah which reached No 21 on the official UK charts. In 2013 he collaborated with the likes of Ed Sheeran and Styles P on his album ‘When will it stop’ which charted at 21 in the UK. His fourth album ‘Landlord’ was released independently in 2016 under his label SN1. The album saw mainstream success reaching number 2 on the UK album charts. He also was the winner of a KA & GRM Daily Award for Artist of the Year.

Giggs South London Rapper (Photo Source:

In March 2017 Giggs was featured on “KMT” and “More Life” on Drakes album ‘More Life’, ‘Wamp 2 Dem’ got released in October 2017 and reached number 2 in the UK Charts. Despite Giggs success he received much negative attention from the Metropolitan police who he claimed were purposely making it difficult for him to pursue his career and earn a living.

Negative coverage from the media regarding the music genres violent lyrical content and its association with gun crime, gangs and criminally convicted affiliated member has seen 696 a pre-emptive policing method of form used to give authority to clubs to hold acts at their venues. The racially bias form of assessment and pressure from the police has caused many artists shows to be cancelled just hours before performances. Causing both the scene to be slow in growth and its artists to suffer financially with no way to support their careers and stay out of poverty and crime. The two main things many are trying to get away from.

Recently popular road rap artist ‘Dave’ and ‘Fredo’ scored a #1 hit with “Funky Friday” which debuted at number 1 in the UK charts. The independently-released track, featuring ‘Fredo’, notched up 6.7 million audio and video streams in a  week – and knocked Calvin Harris & Sam Smith’s Promises to #2 after five weeks at the summit.

UK Drill

There has been an emergence of Trap and drill crews coming through like Section Boyz and 67 have been watched by police for gang affiliation and violent lyrical content. A resurgence of road rappers like Nines and many more tell gritty tales of violence and poverty through their music.

Mentionable Acts of today include: Blade Brown, Benny Banks, Corleone, C Biz, Giggs, Fredo, J Spades, Gunna Dee, K Koke, Joe Black, Nines, Skapz, Squeeks, Sneakabo, Young Spray, Yungen, Youngs Teflon.

UK Drill derives from road rap and drill music which originated in South London Brixton from around 2012. It borrows heavily form the distinct sound and style of drill music from Chicago. The genre’s artists usually rap about violence and self-indulgent lifestyles. The creators of this style of music are usually associated with gangs from socioeconomically deprived Urban areas where crime is a typical way of life. The relation between road rap and UK drill are close to British style Gangstar rap that became popular earlier on in the UK. Musically UK drill is often aggressive and exhibits threats and the use of violent language.

Notable gangs/groups from the current  UK Drill scene include: 150, 1011, 410, 86, 67, Harlem, Spartans, Beside, OFB, Moscow 17, SMG/M Splash, Zone 2, Silwood Nation

Notable Artists from UK Drill include: Unknow-T, DigDat, Bis, Blanco, 30, Digga D, BT, Grizzy 150, Dimzy, LD, Loski, Headie One, MizOrMac, Poky, Rendo, Skengdo & AM, Russ & Taze.


The UK Drill genre is influenced by earlier British UK garage and Grime. Some even calling it “New Grime”. Drill producer Carns Hill advised that it should be renamed because of its 140bpm not seen by its American counterpart. Auto tune is also not similar unseen in British Drill music. Rappers like ‘Chief Keef’ uses his voice as a mournful instrument whilst British rappers have a more harsh raw style inherited from Grime and previous road rap. UK drill also has a more ironic and allusive lyrical delivery.

The violent lyrical content of the genre has been blamed by some for the rise in knife crimes and murders in the London. One of many instances saw Junior Simpson a 17 year old rapper also known as M Trap receive a life sentence for his lyrical content which police linked to the  knife attack of a 15 year old boy who was stabbed to death by a gang of 4. The Judge Anthony Leonard QC told Simpson in Court “You suggested (the lyrics) were just for show but I do not believe that, and I suspect you were waiting for the right opportunity for an attack”.

UK Drill gangs usually get into violent arguments with one another exchanging violent threats on multiple tracks released to disrespect one another. Ongoing feuds between gangs include: Moscow 17 and Zone 2, 150 verses 67, OFB/NPK versus WG/N9 and 814 versus SMG. In 2016 ‘Showkey’, a member of 814 was murdered in an unrelated incident whilst ‘Incognito’ Part of group ‘Moscow 17’ was stabbed to death in Camberwell in the same place another one of his gang member had been murdered only a few months before on August 1st this year.

Uk Drills Michael Dapaah received some weighty attention in 2017 when he released his novelty track “Mans Not Hot”. The track is sampled on a beat produced by ‘GottiOnEM’ and ‘Mazza’ which was first used on a track called “Lurk” by a drill group called 86 and later again on 67’s “Lets Lurk” featuring Giggs.

YouTube the main outlet for UK Drill music and its gangs, reported the deletion of 30 videos at the request of the police in May this year. Cressida Dick, Metropolitan Police Commissioner singled out the “violent” music videos as a catalyst of violent crime and murders in the London capital.

However, the rough start of this genre now looks set to shine bright with emerging rappers coming through with some incredible raw talent like ‘Unknown-T’. The young G’s lyrical flow can easily be marketed to the masses, descriptive enough to be gangsta but at the same time his lyrical content is calm, pure gritty finesse of spoken hood moments, delivered smoothly over addictive aggressive and erratic beats distinct to that of Grime and Road Rap.


American influenced artists ‘Section Boys’ dropped mixtape ‘Don’t Panic’ (2015) which debuted number 3 on the iTunes chart from preorders alone. The album would peak at 36 in the UK Charts. Other artists outside the UK Drill scene are S Loud, M Huncho, 23, Suspect,TE dness, Octavian, Nafe Smallz and K-Trap many of whom have gained influence from US Trap scene to generate a UK version of stories told about urban living and lifestyles.

Other notable British trap artists include: Fee Gonzales, Fekky, House of Pharaohs, K-Trap, Lancey Foux, Slimz, S L and Yung Fume.


Commercialization and Backlash

The post-millennial boom of Grime accorded with UK Hip-Hop’s however the keenly awaited boom never happened. Rather, artists like ‘Tinchy Stryder’, ‘N-Dubz’, ‘Chip’ and ‘Tinie Tempah’ had their traditional sounds tweaked to suit the Pop market. The lineage however of most UK rappers is undoubted Grime over UK Hip Hop.

Common agreement amongst underground hip hop followers is that it is more relevant to a small segment of listeners and not the mass market. This is because mainstream acts are believed to be paid large amounts of money by major record labels who control the sound of the music to suit current mass market. This is then met with a backlash of accusations of being a ‘sell out’ by the underground


In the early days pirate stations such as DejaVu FM, Flex FM and Rinse Fm were pretty much the only outlet for UK Urban music at the time. Rinse FM was a pirate radio station until 2010 when it was awarded a community FM Broadcast License.

The growth of British hip hop was further helped in August 2002 when BBC launched a digital radio station called 1Xtra devoted to “new black music” including R&B, Soul, Dancehall, Grime, UK Garage and Drum and Bass. However wasn’t soley dedicated to British Hip Hop.

Tim West Wood showcased both ‘Wiley’ and ‘Skepta’ on his show in 2008 BBC radio show. Both Grime MC’s dropped their classical freestyles in 2008 cementing their reputation as Kings of Grime.

Charlie Sloths’ trademark show ‘Fire in the Booth’ is considered to be a sign of achievement on the scene; especially for new MC’s and Rappers from the UK Hip Hop and Grime scenes. The show has seen rappers such as ‘Akala’, Avelino, Devlin, Professor Green, K Koke, Bugzy Malone, Lowkey, Tinie Tempah, Big Narstie, Wretch32, Drake and many more. Charlie announced he would be leaving the show to pursue newer ventures on 9th August 2018.

Cable and satellite Channel AKA (Channel U formerly) put British Hip Hop and Grime on mainstream media. Jamal Edwards created SBTV in 2006 a digital platform that serves as plat form less established artists to showcase their talent. It was this channel that would discover the likes of Ed Sheeran. Jamal was awarded a MBE on the New Years Honors list for services to music in 2014. YouTube has also been a big outlet for both established and upcoming artists. Tim West showcased many Hip Hop and Grime artists via his YouTube Channel ‘The Tim Westwood show’ which has over 750,000 subscribers and 395 million views. Grime and UK Hip Hop channels include, Link Up TV, GRM Daily, SB.TV, Pressplay Media and Mixtape Madness. YouTube was and still is a very significant outlet for new and established artists.

Julie Adenuga, sister of ‘Skepta’ and ‘JME’ dedicates her experienced ear to new and old sounds of urban inner City Culture on her Apple Radio Stations Beats1. Julie also co-hosted the first ever KA & GRM Daily 2018 awards with comedian Mo Gilligan. The ceremony was broadcast on National TV on Friday 7th September at 11.05pm on Channel 4. This is the first time the award ceremony that celebrates urban music and talent has ever been broadcast.

Women have made their mark on the evolution of UK Hip Hop from the very beginning. Female representatives include the likes of Monie Love (‘It’s a Shame’, 1990), and Nenah Cherry (Buffallo Stance, 1989). Mercury Prize winners Ms Dynamite (‘Dy-na-mi-tee’, 2002) and Kate Tempest (Circles, 2014), ‘Speech Debelle’ (“Spinnin”, 2009), Alesha Dixon with Group Mis-Teeq (“All I want”, 2001). Little Simz (“Offence, 2018), M.I.A (“Paper Planes”, 2007), Shystie (“One wish”, 2004), Lady Estelle (American Boy, 2000), Baby Blue (“Sometimes”, 2007) Leshurr  (Queens Speech, 2015) and Stefflon Don (“Hurtin Me”, 2017). Other female rappers include: Wee Papa Girl, Rappers, She Rockers, Cookie Crew, Envy, NoLay and C-Mone.

Women rappers have often been confronted with a lot of sexist stereotyping. Rapper, singer and song writer Estelle said she thinks female rappers “get a tough ride because some of them don’t see themselves above and beyond the bull-shit and no ones really given them a break.” Despite this success has been achieved by artists like M.I.A and Lady Sovereign both having hits in the US and UK. ‘Ms Dynamite’, ‘Kate Tempest’ and ‘Speech Debell’  used their rapping abilities to express their views on political and social issues through music.

Naomi Campbell Awarded Fashion Icon of the Year at GQ 21st Anniversary Awards 2018

The 21st Annual GQ Awards took place this week at the Tate modern. This glamourous event honors leading figures who help shape culture in the political, style, sports and entertainment worlds. Naomi Campbell, Rose McGowan and David Lammy were the nights’ big winners.

Fashion Rebel and Supermodel legend Naomi Campbell was named fashion icon of the year presented by actress and singer Zendaya. With a career stretching over 3 three decades, her influence and impact reaches far beyond the catwalk. Naomi has used her platform as one of the worlds most renowned models becoming an activist founding a charity in Brazil which fights poverty by raising funds through the sale of fabric of local fabric as well as raising awareness to breast cancer and acting as an ambassador of goodwill for the White Ribbon Alliance for safe motherhood.

Naomi Campbell at the 21st Anniversary GQ Awards 2018 (Photo Source:

The 48 Year old International Super Model arrived at the awards holding hands with 28 year old Afrobeats sensation Wizkid. The pair have been seen together at a number of events together this year including his concert at the O2 arena in May and in June together the pair walked the catwalk for fashion brand Dolce and Gabbana.



Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman also won International Man of the Year Prize presented to him by co-star Chris Hemsworth from the Avengers. The film Black Panther took $1.3 billion at box office, the ninth highest grossing film of all time contending with outdated ideas of successful filmmaking in Hollywood with an important to the generation that they too can be superheroes.

Chadwick Boseman wins International Man of the Year GQ Awards 2018 (Photo Source:


Daniel Kaluuya from Get out took home Actor of the Year which was present by director Steve McQueen. Whilst in his twenties this talented man has already been nominated for the Best Actor Oscar award alongside megastars Denzel Washington, Daniel Day-Lewis and Gary Oldman. His horrified wide-eyed performance both profound and subtle in Get Out did not put him out of place for such an award and to top it all off he still found the time to star in hit indie film Black Panther alongside Chadwick Boseman.

GQ 2018 Winner of Actor of the Year Awards Daniel Kaluuya (Photo Source:

Chrissy Teigen presented her husband John Legend with the Hugo Boss most Stylish man prize. He told GQ that the best style advice he has is to “listen to your wife”.

Chrissy Teigen presented husband John Legend with Most Stylish Man Award (Photo

MP David Lammy took Politician of the year home. An award given previously to the likes of George Osborne and Boris Johnson previously. The Backbench Tottenham MP made the people’s voice count this year with his Trafalgar square speech challenging Theresa May over the Windrush scandal where the government wrongly marked thousands for deportation; decrying it as a “national day of shame” for the country. He has also fought tirelessly campaigning for justice for the people tragically affected by the Grenfell fire.

David Lammy wins Politician of the Year GQ Awards 2018 (Photo Source:

GQ Editor’s Lifetime Achievement was awarded to The Prince of Wales for Services to Philanthropy by Dylan Jones.

Prince Charles wins Life Time Achievement Award GQ Awards 2018 (Photo Source:


Jorja Smith received a message from Drake after he heard her for the first time. Looks like he knew 2 years before she even had a record out what we all know now. At 21 Jorja is the winner of the Brit Critics Choice Award 2018 and also a nominee for the Mercury Prize. She is now the winner of the Vero Breakthrough Solo Artist via GQ with a charity donation of $50’000 given via Vero’s “Donate Now” initiative.

Beautiful talent Jorja Smith wins Vero Breakthrough Solo Artist of the Year GQ Awards 2018 (Photo Source:

Leading activist in the Time’s Up campaign Rose McGowan is the only woman to have received the Inspiration Award. She was one of the first women to speak out about Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual abuse and misconduct. On receiving her award she said “I have always felt emotionally I was a bit more like a man, at least a stereotypical man and I feel like I am a man that’s growing and I feel like I am neither woman nor man and it fits perfectly with this year. “The Weight is very heavy. It’s been a fight. Its been a fight every goddamed day. Some fights, and justice, that’s worth it”.

Rose McGown is the only women to ever win the Inspiration Award at the 2018 GQ Awards for her activism against Harvey Weinsteins Sexual Abuse Allegations (Photo Source:

Elisabeth Moss star of The Handmaids’s Tale was given the television actor of the year prize awarded to her by Top of the Lake co-star Gwendoline Christine.

2018 GQ Men of the Year Awards
Elzabeth Moss wins Best Television Actor GQ Awards 2018 (Photo Source:

Song writer of the year went to Paul Weller awarded by Mary McCartney and Donatella Versace collected her award from model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and actor Luke Evans for Designer of the Year.

Donatella Versace is honored Designer of the Year GQ 2018 Awards (Photo Source:

Design legend of the year was awarded to Ralph Lauren and Phillip Plein won brand of the year. Breakthrough designer of the year was given to Charles Jeffrey and musicians Dua Lipa and Olly Alexander received awards for solo artist and live acts respectively.

The Haig Club Icon prize was handed to Jeff Goldblum by his Thor: Ragnarok co-star Tom Hiddleston whilst author of Fire and Fury Michael Wolff received writer of the year.

Comedian Sacha Baron and wife Isla Fisher on the red carpet for GQ Awards 2018 (photo source:

Additional prices throughout the evening included the Editors Special Award given to Sacha Baron Cohen and Tom Bateman was named Hugo Boss Breakthrough actor. Baroness Doreen Lawrence also attended the event to present the Gallery Artist of the Year award to Yeo Maddox.

Virgil Abloh’s Off White Collabs with Selfridges for Exclusive Capsule Collection


Popular streetwear label Off White and its founder Virgil Abloh have recently come together with Selfridges for a limited edition capsule collection. Included in the range will be a variety of hoodies and T-shirts all featuring the signature “OFF” branding with stripes down the sleeves and “WOMAN” branding written across the back. To add to this delightful treat the Off-White’s statement binder clip bag will also be included in this exclusive offering in a light pink hue combined with a matching colour industrial belt.


This collection will be exclusive to Selfridges. In addition, a grey denim jacket will also be released decorated with sparkly silver colour branding throughout. An eye-catching and glamorous piece for Autumn Fall season. The range is available for purchase online at—   and instore for £210 only at Selfridges. Take a look at the collection above and refresh your wardrobe for Fall Season!

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The KA & GRM Daily Awards 2018

On Tuesday 4th September Stars of the UK Urban Music scene turned out to attend the fourth edition of the KA & GRM Daily Rated awards held at Eventim in Hammersmith London. This annual event is a celebration of UK Urban Music Culture and Talent.

grm rated awards
Photo Source:

The ceremony was co-hosted by the fabulous Julie Adenuga from Apple Music Beats 1 Radio and The Comedian Mo who presented awards throughout the evening.

Co-Hosts Julie Adenuga and Comedian Mo Present the KA & GRM Daily Awards 2018 (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Artist of the year was given to Rapper Not3s and Fredo won mixtape of the year.

Steel Banglez maintained producer of the year for the second year in a row.

Before the scooping his award he told journalists, “I think we are the unsung heroes in terms of what we do for the artists, I think awards like the MOBO’s or Brits should have producer categories and also songwriter awards as well. Because that’s a big part of tracks coming together. It’s to recognise everyone’s talents so people don’t feel disheartened.”

Producer Steel Banglez  wins Producer of the year for the second year running at KA & GRM Daily Awards 2018 (Photo Source:

Grime Legend D Double E took home the well deserved legacy award with a career stretching 15 years, the 37 year old was formerly a member of the Nasty Crew and went on to form the Newham Generals. Previously Skepta has called him the “the greatest of all time” and Dizzee Rascal says he is the inspiration that got him rapping. He recently released his longly anticipated debut album ‘JACKUUM’  available now for purchase or streaming.

D Double E.png
Artist D Double E wins  Legacy Award for his contribution of 15 years in the Business  (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Young talent AJ Tracey won best track of the year for ‘Butterflies’ and ‘Crop Circle’ from Nines won Album of the year. Headie took home breakthrough award of the year and the mastermind behind Fire in the booth DJ Charlie Sloth won DJ of the year for the fourth year running.

Giving the crowd life on the night, live performances came from Kojo Funds, Raye, BLK, Giggs, Not3s and D Double E.

Comedian Michael Dapaah the man behind legendary character Big Shaq was honoured with Personality of the Year. On acceptance of his award he told fans “Don’t let anyone stop you from what you want to do”. Not many females were nominated on the night and Michael added “Big up to the females in this category and all the other entertainers, big up yourself, this one’s for you.” Female artist Kenzo was the only winner out of 14 to win an award taking home the KA Get Rated Award.

Michael Dapaah the man behind Big Shaq tells fans “Don’t let anyone stop you from doing what you want to do” on receiving his Personality of the year award (Photo Source:

On the red carpet, Big Narstie commented that it was “100% unfair” that the music genre of drill is being named as the cause behind the increase of violence across London recently. This statement comes after Cressida Dick the UK’s most senior police officer linked the music to the surge of crime and murders across the capital.

Big Narstie makes defends Drill Music on Red Carpet at GRM Daily Rated Awards (Photo Source

Big Narstie went on to say “It’s a scapegoat, isn’t it? If cowboy films started making everyone start shooting guns, would they ban John Wayne? Going back 10 years ago, the only thing a black kid could do to get out of the ghetto was being a sports star! Now we can add music to that, which is a good achievement in itself. Drill has a lot about it buts it’s the truth. Its what’s happening out there. You can’t ask these kids to talk about living in a stable household if they don’t”

This is the first time that the Award Ceremony will be broadcasted on national television and is to be aired live on Channel 4 on Friday 7th September at 11.05pm! Put your reminders on and be sure to catch this special event.

List of Winners:

Breakthrough of the Year – Headie One

Personality of the Year – Michael Dapaah

Album of the Year – Nines

Track of the Year – AJ Tracey ft Not3s

Radio DJ of the Year – Charlie Sloth

Video of the Year – Rapman

Mixtape of the Year – Fredo

Producer of the Year – Steel Banglez

Artist of the Year – Not3s

The KA Get Rated Award – Kenzo

The GRM Legacy Award – D Double E

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YEEZY Wave Runner 700 Store Release List September 2018

Kanye West’s Yeezy Wave Runner 700 was easily the most talked about sneaker of 2017, selling out in just seconds after their official launch in March last year. Kanye West and Wife Kim Kardashian sent sneakerheads around the world crazy as they strutted their stuff in the highly sort after sneakers designed by Mr West for Adidas. A spokesperson for adidas describes the sneaker as having an “upper composed of grey and black suede overlays, premium leather with blue mesh underlays, a reflective heel, and Three Stripe details. The full-length drop in Boost midsole provides comfort and stability.”

The highly sought after streetwear essentials were released again on limited supply restock this year March 2018 and again were swiftly bought up.

Be sure to put your sneakers on fast as  The YEEZY Wave Runner 700 is known to sells out in seconds! (Photo Source:

Well, we have some good news for those of you that missed out! Its official the Yeezy Boost 700 also called the YEEZY Wave Runner 700 is about to RELAUNCH!

Yeezy Mafia announced that the popular YEEZY Wave Runner 700 will be back in selected stores such as Solebox and Sneakersnuff on SEPTEMBER 15th priced at £300-£400. Better still visit and pre-order yours today!

Don’t miss out and don’t say we never tell you anything yh!

Set your reminders and be sure to cope your pair in just a few day’s time.

Check the list below for more store locations.



Highs & Lows


The 6th Floor


Monar & Clothes
Smets Concept Store
Hunting and Collecting
La Créme
Panthers Brussel


adidas Brasil


adidas Originals
Off the Hook
NRML Select





Czech Republic



Wood Wood
Stoy Munkholm
Norse Project




Acte 2
Le Rayon Frais
Le Buzz Lab
Corner Street
adidas Originals Store Paris
Footpatrol Ltd
Le HUB Bastille
Galeries Lafayette
Archive 18-20




adidas Originals Store Berlin
Wood Wood
The Good Will Out
Glory Hole
Newseum by Crämer and Co.


Dangerous Minds
Phat Soles
Simple Caractere

Hong Kong

Lane Crawford
D-MOP/ J-01
EXI.T Hysan One


Icons by Bizanc






Brown Thomas


Factory 54
Not for Sale


SlamJam Ferrara
Luisa via Roma
Susi Store
Special Milano
One Block Down
adidas Originals
SlamJam Milan
Cotton Club
Urban Star
Urban Jungle
Sneakers 76

Mita Sneakers
adidas Originals Flagship Store Tokyo
atmos Blue Omotesando
Isetan Shinjuku
United Arrows & Sons
Undefeated Shibuya
Styles Daikanyama


The Good Life – OKTG


Smets Concept store


adidas México


FOUR by Azzurro
Calico Jack
Parade 45

New Zealand

Loaded Newmarket


YME Studios




adidas Perú




Sneaker Studio
Lab Chmielna 20




Limited Edt Chamber



South Africa

Shelflife Cape Town
Shelflife Johannesburg


Nigra Mercato
c/ del limón, 24


Très Bien Shop
Paul & Friends



Taiwan, Province of China

adidas Originals
Invincible South
Invincible Central
Juice Taipei 2
Juice Taipei
Invincible East




290 sqm

United Arab Emirates

Amongst Few
The Good Life

United Kingdom

adidas Originals
Pam pam
Net a Porter
Dover Street Market
Mr Porter
Harvey Nichols
Footpatrol Ltd

United States

adidas originals
lapstone and hammer

Virgil Abloh and Yara Shahidi Cover Business of Fashion 500 Print Edition

We can’t seem to get enough of the delightful Virgil Abloh can we! This week Business of Fashion reveal him as one of the cover stars of its 500th BoF 2018 issue.

Off-White founder Virgil and Grown-ish actress Yara Shahidi have been listed on this years Fashion Change Agents List. Two of the four covers that have been shared also feature activist Kalpona Akter and chairman of Kering Francois-Henri Pinault.

Named the ‘disruptor’ who took over streetwear and then Louis Vuitton as it’s very own artistic director for men this talented creative wishes to inspire the youth to chase their dreams. Yara at the tender age of 18 has many accomplishments under her sleeve as the Black-ish star starts her freshman year at Harvard and wishes to use her platform as a way of increasing U.S mid-term election voters.

Full list and interviews with cover stars will be screened in each of the hard-copy issues on magazine and newsstands soon.

Beyonce Cover Girl and Chief Editor for Vogue September 2018 Issue! – But why has it taken 125 years to have a black photographer shoot the cover?


Beyonce Cover Girl and Chief Editor for Vogue September 2018 Issue (photo source:

September has arrived which means its back to school for the kids, the cooling off of summer temperatures and lastly but not least Beyonces Knowles-Carters Birthday.

This month marks an important time in the Media Fashion industry and Vogue sets pace this month with Queen Bee gracing its cover. This issue includes some personal mini essays from our favourite girl and is the first cover ever to be shot by an African American photographer. Beyonce was given full editorial control over the issue and selected twenty- three year old photographer Tyler Mitchell for the job.

Tyler Mitchell first Black Photographer to shot a cover for Vogue Magazine (Photo Source:

Some of you must be wondering; why has it taken Vogue 125 years to hire a black person for the role of creating its cover photo? Well, I don’t like to point the finger, but it looks like current chief Editor Anna Wintour has a lot to answer for!

Anna Wintour Chief Editor of Vogue since 1988 (Photo Source:

Fashion legend and first black male creative director for Vogue Andre Leon Talley the subject of a 2017 documentary called “The Gospel According to Andre” gave his take on pushing diversity when he worked for the magazine saying “I never pushed for anything. I never pushed anything. I didn’t- Vogue is not a place where you are pushy”. You’re not a bully – I don’t go in there – I never pushed for anything. I nuanced my points of view, safely realizing that I had to navigate a world that was basically a dominant white world of power. You don’t go in there pushing and saying, you know, ‘We gotta have a black cover.’ The covers are chosen when they are chosen for many, many reasons, for commercial reasons as well as perhaps demographics. I never was part of that. That was not my job. I was not in those meetings. That was not my responsibility. So, when the covers are shot, you know, not everyone is brought in to be a participant in the cover decision. That goes between the editor in chief and the art director, and the photographer, and the fashion director which is doing that cover at the time. So you don’t even know what is going to be on the cover until you see it is about to go to print. No one decides that but the editor in chief.”

Andre- Leon-Talley-Vogue
Andre Leon Talley pictured at the Carolina Herrera Fall 2007 Fashion Show (Photo Source: National Public Radio

One of the 20th centuries most influential photographers Gordon Parks shot photographs for Vogue during the late 1940’s right into the 60’s but was never given the privilege of shooting the cover.

Gordon Parks with his Camera in 1960 (Photo Source:

In his memoirs he describes how coveted the cover images were saying “it was an acknowledgment of your status and success as a photographer, being able to out-compete everybody else and get the most coveted placement in the magazine. So magazines occupy different places in the culture and Vogue is sort of the magazine that can anoint popular culture royalty. And so for a photographer to get the cover of Vogue, you know, it announces that photographers entrance into the highest ranks of the photographic profession, which among other things, opens further doors, and means more money for your fees and for African American photographers to be denied that right, to be denied entrance into the highest ranks, to be denied the ability to earn the income that comes with it, to be denied the cachet, the cultural cachet, that comes with having one of your images on the cover of the magazine, one of the few remaining iconic, truly iconic magazines, well, that is really infuriating.

With this Septembers issue, Vogue is now attempting to rectify its discriminative past along with other well-known publications such as the National Geographic who has admitted that in the past it has often pigeonholed non-whites as simply exotic extras, labour or savages. NG produced a special issue on race this year and asked John Edward Mason a specialist in the history of photography and the history of Africa at Virginia University to be a guest editor. When asked about the attempts of such publications trying to rectify their past behavior by using a black photographer to shoot the cover he answered, “It didn’t surprise National Geographic what I told them. There has been a lot of very good writing on the way that National Geographic has represented people from Asia, and Africa, and Latin America. It was a very colonial vision and a very racist vision. And you know, the magazine knew what I was going to tell them, but I think it was important for them to hear it from an outsider. And I appreciated the lack of defensiveness at National Geographic. My work was all in connection with their issue on race, and in that issue, both the people who wrote the articles and the photographers represented a very, very racially, ethnically and gender-ly [laughter] diversity of photographers . . . and I think the challenge is for National Geographic to continue that diversity, right? To hire black photographers to shoot things other than stories about black people, right?”

John Edwin Mason Leading Specialist in the History of Photography of Africa at Virginia University (Photo Source:


The likes of Tally and Parks are have undoubtedly made groundbreaking moves in the photography fashion and media world, but it would be unfair to put all the pressure on the ‘firsts’ to single-handily change an industry set up for and riddled with white supremacy. However, step by step the fight for equality and equal opportunity continues and so we must strive to help those who did it first so that one day diversity is spread across these powerful publications thickly and consistently and so becomes a normal part of world culture