By Chizobam Okeke
What’s going on, everyone? Or better yet, wagwan? I think that the latter is more fitting for the subject at hand. I don’t know about everyone else, but my desire to find new music is always smoldering. As a result, I have been drawn to seek out new forms of hip-hop. One hot new sub-genre I have found comes from “across the pond,” as they say. Coming straight out of the U.K. British artists have always had a unique sound when it comes to modern music, be it any genre. In terms of rap and hip-hop, British artists have been producing some exceptionally creative music in recent years.
It’s always good to broaden one’s scope when it comes to music. Artists, sound, and creativity don’t have to have borders that solely lie within the lines of the United States. There are some dope artists on the rise that I enjoy listening to. Artists such as Lord Apex and Knucks rank among some of my favorites right now, and still, there are more out there with amazing music.
His name is Lord Apex, and he hails from White City, West London. Born Shaeem Santino Wright, the 24- year-old rapper might greet you with something like “Wagwan dog? Wagwan, big man?” These are the reverberating lyrics from one of his newest songs, “Wagwan Dog,” off his collaborative album Off the Strength. The latest project was brought forth by the insanely talented producer and beat mastermind, Cookin’ Soul, and was released on March 10, 2022. I would describe Lord Apex as a dark and grimy London artist who has somewhat ditched the standard London drill style for the American boom-bap style instead. Since his first released track in 2014, Lord Apex has accrued an impressive underground following of new-aged and gritty hip-hop enthusiasts.
The hip-hop media has taken notice of Lord Apex as well. Complex, KISS FM, and BBC1XTRA have all expressed interest in working with the rising artist, who has also recorded some incredible video sessions with creators such as COLORS and the Boiler Room, both of which can be found on YouTube. He has worked with some of my favorite artists like Westside Gunn and Smoke DZA, as well as some great producers like Cookin’ Soul and V Don. Lord Apex is just one of the many talented underground rappers coming up from the Burrows of the United Kingdom. Artists like him have been methodically making a name for themselves by providing true hip-hop heads with quality content to consume.
Another one of those many talented underground rappers is Knucks. Born Ashley Nwachukwu, Knucks is a 27-year-old rapper who hails from South Kilburn, North London. The ascent to the place he is in today has been slow, but along the way, Knucks has refined his sound and found the ingredients of what makes him so good. Artists like Nas and MF DOOM influenced Knucks at an early age, sparking his dream of becoming a rapper. Since 2014, he has released an impressive collection of singles, and in 2019, he released his first full-length album NRG 105. He went on to release his second album, London Class, in 2020, and he recently released his newest album, ALPHA PLACE, which dropped on May 6, 2021.
I feel that Knucks has earned his wings in ALPHA PLACE, so the only place to go is up from here. The use of jazz beats, elements of London drill, and everything in between are complemented by excellent features and exceptional rhyming, and I encourage everyone to give it a listen. Judging by his latest album, I anticipate more great music from Knucks in the future.
The British have a well-documented history of providing some of the greatest rock bands of all time. Now, in the new millennium, a new genre reigns supreme. Hip-hop has taken the top spot when it comes to leading the new school of sound. It’s not hard to believe that the U.K. has something to say once again. The new wave of artists coming out of England are enormously creative, and by finding new ways to sculpt British rap, they are progressively making themselves hard to ignore. Listen to what they have to say and widen your hip-hop scope. However, remember that there are still more amazing artists coming straight out of the U.K. When the next wave of artists arrives, let’s just say, “Ting Tun Up!”
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