The UK has a broad and varied hip hop and rap scene. While it was inspired by what was going on in the US, it's also taken inspiration from sound systems and musical genres like electro, dance, jungle, garage, reggae, disco, dancehall, and drum and bass.
It's also spawned a wide variety of sub-genres including road rap, UK drill, and britcore and influenced genres like drum and bass, grime, dubstep, UK garage, trap, R&B, and afroswing.
Of course, with such broad definitions and a variety of songs and artists to pick from it's difficult to choose just a few for this article, but we hope you'll find a song that you like and will want to listen to even more rap music from the UK.
We've tried to choose rappers that have had success in the charts as well as those that have been influential in the genre while trying to avoid just picking rappers from London.
J Hus - Did You See
Did You See was J Hus' first top-ten single going platinum in 2017. The single featured on the rapper's debut studio album Common Sense, a critically acclaimed gold album.
If you're looking to get into afroswing and road rap, J Hus is a good artist to start with. His second album Big Conspiracy peaked at #1 and the artist's success shows no signs of slowing down.
Skinnyman - I'll Be Surprised
While originally from Leeds, Skinnyman grew up in London and released his only album Council Estate of Mind in 2004 on Low Life records. The album peaked at #65 on the UK charts.
The track I'll Be Surprised, like many of the other tracks on the album, samples audio from Made in Britain, a 1982 TV play about skinheads and working-class life in England featuring Tim Roth.
Hijack - Doomsday of Rap
Hijack were a hip-hop group from the late 80s and early 90s with a sound very typical of their time. If you like that kind of rap and hip hop, you'll probably enjoy their tack Doomsday of Rap, which was an underground hit in the late 80s.
The track, much like Sugarhill Gang's Apache (Jump On It), also samples Apache by Incredible Bongo Band, itself a cover of The Shadow's Apache. Either way, this is an awesome old school jam and a fine example of early British hip hop.
Stormzy - Vossi Bop
After the critical and commercial success of the Gang Signs & Prayer album, Stormzy arguably became the biggest rap artist in the UK. It's hardly surprising that the first single from the second album went straight to #1 in the charts, especially after fans had been waiting since 2017 for some music from the artist.
Since then, Stormzy has also reached #1 with the single Own It which features Ed Sheeran and Burna Boy.
Roots Manuva - Witness (1 Hope)
This song was the first single from Roots Manuva's second album Run Come Save Me and while it wasn't a huge commercial success, it is arguably the song to start with if you're checking out the artist.
It's got a big electronic bassline and a whole heap of sounds designed to remind you of the theme tune from Doctor Who. In keeping with the whole Britishness of the songs, there's also references to cheese on toast and bitter!
That said, there are a lot of funk and Jamaican dancehall influences, too.
Check it out.
Dizzee Rascal - Fix Up, Look Sharp
Half a decade before Dizzee Rascal's chart success with #1 singles like Dance wiv Me, Bonkers, Holiday, Dirtee Disco, there was the excellent Boy in da Corner album that launched both his career and the mainstream success of grime music in the UK.
The album also made Dizzee Rascal one of the first UK rap artists to be internationally recognised and one of the best tracks on the album is Fix Up, Look Sharp.
Like plenty of other rap classics, the single samples Big Beat from Billy Squier. However, unlike the other rap songs to sample it, this one features Dizzee Rascal's iconic delivery and voice.
Tinie Tempah - Pass Out
For a while, Tinie Tempah was unavoidable and this track was everywhere. The track won Best Single at the Brit Awards and an Ivor Novello Award for Best Contemporary Song.
The artist never replicated the success of his first few albums and has been pretty quiet as of late, but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't give the song that started it all a chance. In fact, with six UK #1s, Tinie Tempah has more than any other UK rap artist.
The Streets - Fit But You Know It
The Streets don't sound a lot like many of the artists on this list, but this track is certainly worth listening to if you're trying to broaden your musical tastes or just listen to something a little different.
Fit But You Know It featured on the second studio album A Grand Don't Come for Free and reached #4 in the official UK Single Charts. The song follows a man in a takeaway on a boozy holiday thinking about another girl in the chippy.
It just goes to show that you don't necessarily need to be from London or sound like your contemporaries to succeed in the charts.
Skepta - Shutdown
For many, Skepta is one of the most successful British rappers and since his debut album in 2007, he's gone from strength to strength. The track Shutdown was featured on his fourth studio album Konnichiwa and won the MOBO Best Song Award in 2015.
The track samples dialogue from a Vine video from Drake and was a solid return to form after a lot of criticism was levelled at grime artists when it was the flavour of the month for record executives after the success of Dizzee Rascal towards the end of the 00s.
Now you should know a bit more about British rap and have a few songs to add to your playlist. Of course, there are so many more popular rappers than just the ones we've mentioned in this article and probably even more that never even featured in the official single charts.
New rappers are being born every day so if you’re interested in learning more about rap music, check out our other articles. You can also get help with rapping and music from a private tutor on Superprof. There are different types of tutoring available and since each comes with pros and cons in terms of the teaching and the cost, you'll want to think carefully about what's right for you and your budget.
Face-to-face tutorials are often the most cost-effective, but they also tend to be the most expensive per hour. This is because you're paying for a tutor to tailor the sessions to you, your level, and what you want to learn. Similarly, a lot of tutors will travel to their students and have more expenses to deal with than those offering online or group tutorials.
Online tutorials are a good option if you live rurally or can't find any suitable tutors in your local area. These tutors can still offer tailored sessions but can charge less as they don't have to travel to their students and can schedule more sessions each week. As long as you have a decent internet connection, webcam, and microphone, you can enjoy private online tutoring from tutors all over the world.
Group tutoring is an excellent option if you're on a tight budget. While you won't get as much one-on-one tuition from your tutor, you usually end up paying less as the cost of the tutor's time and expertise is split amongst all the students in attendance. If you and some friends, family members, or colleagues, are interested in learning more about music or rap, group tutoring could be a fun and rewarding experience.
Before you start contacting tutors, it's a really good idea to think carefully about the type of tutoring that you're after and what you're looking for in a tutor. Make a list of your requirements and keep them in mind as you search for tutors on Superprof. Once you have a few tutors in mind that meet your requirements, you can start getting in touch with them and discussing how and what you'd like to learn.
Remember that many of the tutors on the Superprof website offer the first lesson for free. Use these free sessions to try out a few different tutors before deciding on which one would be right for you. Remember to keep your requirements in mind when chatting with potential tutors and remember that since you're probably going to be spending a decent amount of time with them, it's important that you get on well with them.