The Rap Game UK:
Meet the MCs

In BBC Three's The Rap Game UK, seven unsigned MCs battle for a record deal

UK rap music has never been this big. Ever. The charts are stacked with homegrown hits, grime artists are headlining the world’s biggest music festivals, and rising stars are busting bars everywhere from south London to Scunthorpe.

Across the country, sub-genres have gathered pace from Afro-swing and conscious rap – which draws on themes of social change – to road rap, which focuses on the realities of life in some of the capital’s toughest areas.

A new BBC Three series, The Rap Game UK, features seven promising UK unsigned artists battling it out for a record deal. Presented by rap heavyweights Krept and Konan, alongside DJ Target – the man responsible for spotting new talent for BBC Radio 1Xtra – the show puts the aspiring rappers through their paces over six intense weeks. 

Krept (left), Konan (right) and DJ Target (middle) are in search of undiscovered talent in BBC Three's The Rap Game UK

But while it might feel like grime, and the wider scene, is enjoying a golden era – marked by Stormzy’s acclaimed headline set at Glastonbury – UK rap has been inspiring British talent for more than four decades. 

Stormzy headlines Glastonbury festival, 2019

The first British MCs emerged during the boom of soundsystem culture. Back in the ’70s, the Windrush generation introduced “dub toasting” by rapping over dancehall beats about everything from class to corrupt cops. 

Birmingham's Wassifa Sound System established a nationwide reputation in the 1980s

In the mid-eighties, rap outfit London Posse were one of the first acts to pioneer the idea of rapping in English, rather than US, accents – mixing London slang with Jamaican patois. Before then, UK rappers had tended to adopt faux-American accents, but London Posse’s Rodney P and Bionic used their own distinctive voices, in a style that was revolutionary at the time. They paved the way for a distinct British sound to develop. That sound found a home on Choice FM – Britain’s first licensed radio station playing music of black origin 24 hours a day. Founded in 1990, it would later become CapitalXTRA. 

Bionic (left) and Rodney P, two members of the influential UK rap group London Posse

South London MC Roots Manuva was one of the breakout artists whose success helped propel UK rap to the mainstream. He began releasing tracks through his own label, laying the groundwork for a distinct urban British sound – his 2001 single Witness has earned anthem status as a classic of the genre. 

MC Mike Skinner, better known as The Streets, brought fresh attention to Birmingham and its emerging scene, with lyrics that celebrated both the humour and mundanity of British life. Over in north London, duo Artful Dodger and female MCs like Ms Dynamite would keep the pace by bringing UK garage – which fused dance music with heavy bass sounds – to the masses. Later, Akala began blazing a trail for politically-motivated rap, with powerful lyrics challenging the status quo. 

Dizzee Rascal (left) and Wiley in 2002

Grime was also blasting out from east London at the start of the millennium from pirate radio stations and basement venues across the capital. Pioneered by the likes of Dizzee Rascal, Wiley, Kano, and Lethal Bizzle, it saw MCs spitting razor sharp bars over beats at a tempo of 140 beats-per-minute (bpm). Blending the speed of UK jungle and the garage of their predecessors with emotionally raw and complex lyrics, grime became a testament to the ferocious talent of British youth. In 2015, Kanye West gave the genre a boost by bringing a crowd of the finest MCs on stage with him at the Brit Awards. Among them were Stormzy, Skepta, and The Rap Game’s own Krept and Konan.

Fast-forward to 2019, the UK rap scene is spreading far and wide with cities like Manchester and Birmingham challenging London for its crown. We caught up with the seven artists battling it out for the chance to be the next big thing in UK rap.

Stormzy headlines Glastonbury festival, 2019

Stormzy headlines Glastonbury festival, 2019

Birmingham's Wassifa Sound System established a nationwide reputation in the 1980s

Birmingham's Wassifa Sound System established a nationwide reputation in the 1980s

Bionic (left) and Rodney P, two members of the influential UK rap group London Posse

Bionic (left) and Rodney P, two members of the influential UK rap group London Posse

Dizzee Rascal (left) and Wiley in 2002

Dizzee Rascal (left) and Wiley in 2002

Krept (left), Konan (right) and DJ Target (middle) are in search of undiscovered talent in BBC Three's The Rap Game UK

Krept (left), Konan (right) and DJ Target (middle) are in search of undiscovered talent in BBC Three's The Rap Game UK

Lady Ice

26, from Manchester

Lady Ice

Lady Ice

What makes the rap coming out of Manchester different?

In Manchester, we don’t try and use different accents to portray something else in our music. We have old-school hip-hop and soul, and new-school artists – and across all of those we speak in the accent of where we come from, as proud Mancunians. 

Who would you say are the rappers making the biggest moves in Manchester? 

Aitch is definitely making the biggest moves in Manchester right now. He’s an 18-year-old rapper hailing from Moston (in the north-east of Manchester). He’s had one of the quickest come-ups to date. 

Was it an immediate instinct to mix Patois into your bars?

I was born in England but my parents were born in Jamaica, so living with my mum all my life I picked up her Caribbean slang. It seemed only natural to use it in my music. 

Do you come up against challenges as a female MC in a male-dominated scene?

I think I should get the same opportunities as everyone else, and it wasn’t always like that. I met a lot of industry people when I was just starting out. I didn’t understand why I was being told what to do, what to say and what to wear by them – things like it being implied that my clothes were inappropriate. I believe that if I stepped into the game as a male rapper, I would have been allowed to just let my music do the talking.


Lady Ice, 26
Manchester

What makes the rap coming out of Manchester different?

In Manchester, we don’t try and use different accents to portray something else in our music. We have old-school hip-hop and soul, and new-school artists – and across all of those we speak in the accent of where we come from, as proud Mancunians. 

Who would you say are the rappers making the biggest moves in Manchester? 

Aitch is definitely making the biggest moves in Manchester right now. He’s an 18-year-old rapper hailing from Moston (in the north-east of Manchester). He’s had one of the quickest come-ups to date. 

Was it an immediate instinct to mix Patois into your bars?

I was born in England but my parents were born in Jamaica, so living with my mum all my life I picked up her Caribbean slang. It seemed only natural to use it in my music. 

Do you come up against challenges as a female MC in a male-dominated scene?

I think I should get the same opportunities as everyone else, and it wasn’t always like that. I met a lot of industry people when I was just starting out. I didn’t understand why I was being told what to do, what to say and what to wear by them – things like it being implied that my clothes were inappropriate. I believe that if I stepped into the game as a male rapper, I would have been allowed to just let my music do the talking.


Kiico

19, from north London

What makes north London rap sound unique?

The pain. It’s real, raw rap from my part of London. I can’t explain it more than that. If you have felt that pain then you understand.

What sparked your love of rap music?

When I was about five years old, I found this notebook of raps my dad had written. I picked it up and I was shocked man! I was really impressed. After reading them I knew without question that I wanted to be a rapper. Rap is the place where we can lay bare our realities and struggles – and for me, I’ve been through a lot.

What happened in your life that made you able to express that sense of emotional struggle in your lyrics?

My dad went to prison when I was just a kid – that made me grow up a lot. Suddenly, I was the man of the family, so I had to step up and think of a way to provide. I had a choice of two roads to go down. But I put my mind to picking the right path and, for me, that was music. Some people don’t feel comfortable telling people their feelings – or they see it as a sign of weakness. But when you rap about things, you get it off your chest. That's how it’s always been for me.

What rappers do you rate from north London?

I’ve always had a lot of people to look up to, especially from my area. You’ve got Link Up TV (a popular YouTube rap channel) veterans like Kodee, Squeeks and Benny Banks, three of the rappers who are all from Islington. Then north London guys like Wretch 32 from Tottenham, who’s probably one of the biggest names to come out of here. But there are loads of us.

Where does your self-belief come from?

Coming from north London has made me the rapper I am today. My producer and I have been making music together since the beginning, so with him behind me I know my beats will be on-point – and with the people that follow me and support me, I have no reason not to be confident.


Kiico

Kiico

Kiico, 19
North London

What makes north London rap sound unique?

The pain. It’s real, raw rap from my part of London. I can’t explain it more than that. If you have felt that pain then you understand.

What sparked your love of rap music?

When I was about five years old, I found this notebook of raps my dad had written. I picked it up and I was shocked man! I was really impressed. After reading them I knew without question that I wanted to be a rapper. Rap is the place where we can lay bare our realities and struggles – and for me, I’ve been through a lot.

What happened in your life that made you able to express that sense of emotional struggle in your lyrics?

My dad went to prison when I was just a kid – that made me grow up a lot. Suddenly, I was the man of the family, so I had to step up and think of a way to provide. I had a choice of two roads to go down. But I put my mind to picking the right path and, for me, that was music. Some people don’t feel comfortable telling people their feelings – or they see it as a sign of weakness. But when you rap about things, you get it off your chest. That's how it’s always been for me.

What rappers do you rate from north London?

I’ve always had a lot of people to look up to, especially from my area. You’ve got Link Up TV (a popular YouTube rap channel) veterans like Kodee, Squeeks and Benny Banks, three of the rappers who are all from Islington. Then north London guys like Wretch 32 from Tottenham, who’s probably one of the biggest names to come out of here. But there are loads of us.

Where does your self-belief come from?

Coming from north London has made me the rapper I am today. My producer and I have been making music together since the beginning, so with him behind me I know my beats will be on-point – and with the people that follow me and support me, I have no reason not to be confident.


Ransom FA

25, from Aberdeen

Ransom FA

Ransom FA

How would you describe Scotland's sound?

Character wise, people in Scotland are very straight to the point and that comes across in our music and delivery. There’s a lot of variation between cities too. Aberdeen – where I’m from – and Glasgow are only three hours apart by car, but our accents sound very different. 

Why do you think Aberdeen’s rap scene has gone under the radar until now?

It’s partly just down to London being so far away geographically – the wider scene didn’t have their eyes on us. But I think it’s also that people weren’t ready to accept a rapper or hear a voice from so far afield. For example, I released a track on Link Up TV in 2014 and most of the comments were from people saying: “I like it, but what’s this accent?!”

Do you feel like it’s still difficult to get respect on the scene as a Scottish rapper?

I think people are ready to hear something fresh now. Growing up, I mostly listened to London rappers like Skepta, and US rappers like Kendrick Lamar. So like other kids growing up in Aberdeen, when I first stepped up to the mic I was tempted to mimic that. But I came to the realisation that to make it, you need to sound authentic. The younger generation in Scotland are still a bit unsettled about how they should sound, and I hope as the scene here grows that it hits a point where that’s not even a question.

Who are the Scottish rappers coming up that you rate?

There’s a bunch already making moves on the scene that I reckon would do well internationally, but I know they'll still represent the Scottish style. Among those I'm tipping are these guys who rap in strong Scottish accents, called Sherlock and McRoy. I rate so many talented MCs here and have collaborated with a lot of them. 

Would you consider moving down south if you make it big or do you see your career in Scotland long-term?

When I started, my aim was to get my name buzzing all over Scotland so that when I came down to England people would pay attention to me. Now, I want to help develop the scene up here and start bringing people through. There’s a lot of talented artists in Scotland and I want the scene to thrive.


Ransom FA, 25
Aberbeen

How would you describe Scotland's sound?

Character wise, people in Scotland are very straight to the point and that comes across in our music and delivery. There’s a lot of variation between cities too. Aberdeen – where I’m from – and Glasgow are only three hours apart by car, but our accents sound very different. 

Why do you think Aberdeen’s rap scene has gone under the radar until now?

It’s partly just down to London being so far away geographically – the wider scene didn’t have their eyes on us. But I think it’s also that people weren’t ready to accept a rapper or hear a voice from so far afield. For example, I released a track on Link Up TV in 2014 and most of the comments were from people saying: “I like it, but what’s this accent?!”

Do you feel like it’s still difficult to get respect on the scene as a Scottish rapper?

I think people are ready to hear something fresh now. Growing up, I mostly listened to London rappers like Skepta, and US rappers like Kendrick Lamar. So like other kids growing up in Aberdeen, when I first stepped up to the mic I was tempted to mimic that. But I came to the realisation that to make it, you need to sound authentic. The younger generation in Scotland are still a bit unsettled about how they should sound, and I hope as the scene here grows that it hits a point where that’s not even a question.

Who are the Scottish rappers coming up that you rate?

There’s a bunch already making moves on the scene that I reckon would do well internationally, but I know they'll still represent the Scottish style. Among those I'm tipping are these guys who rap in strong Scottish accents, called Sherlock and McRoy. I rate so many talented MCs here and have collaborated with a lot of them. 

Would you consider moving down south if you make it big or do you see your career in Scotland long-term?

When I started, my aim was to get my name buzzing all over Scotland so that when I came down to England people would pay attention to me. Now, I want to help develop the scene up here and start bringing people through. There’s a lot of talented artists in Scotland and I want the scene to thrive.


Chade Paine

25, from Harrow

You wrote raps from age 11, but only just performed live this year. What took you so long?

Growing up, I had anxiety and I went through insomnia and depression. I used music as an escape, rather than to put myself out there. The thought of performing made me feel paralysed – I’d faced criticism in the past for how I look and I think that affected me. But once I got up on stage, it wasn’t half as bad as I’d built it up to be. I gained a lot of confidence and just wanted to go again! 

What drew you to writing conscious rap and diving deep into social issues?

A lot has happened in my personal life. I’ve been homeless, I became a dad at 17, I’m co-parenting an eight-year-old daughter. So because of that I started looking at things that were going on around the world. Looking at other people coming up against struggles like knife crime and police brutality, I started doing research and was inspired to write lyrics.

When did you start making music?

I’ve probably been making music for 10 years or so but I only started putting out stuff about six months ago. Before appearing on The Rap Game UK, I’d never even held a mic before. Everybody has their own crafts when it comes to music, and everybody wants to succeed. It comes down to who’s the most hungry? I’m hungry for it. I sing, I’ve proved I can spit bars. Why not do my conscious stuff on a drill beat or Afro-swing? There’s so much I want to do now – watch this space.

Who’s your biggest inspiration?

My daughter is my biggest inspiration because when she came along I changed my ways in life and being a dad has kept me on the right track. Then my family, because they’ve done everything for me and I really want to give it back.


Chade Paine

Chade Paine

Chade Paine, 25
Harrow

You wrote raps from age 11, but only just performed live this year. What took you so long?

Growing up, I had anxiety and I went through insomnia and depression. I used music as an escape, rather than to put myself out there. The thought of performing made me feel paralysed – I’d faced criticism in the past for how I look and I think that affected me. But once I got up on stage, it wasn’t half as bad as I’d built it up to be. I gained a lot of confidence and just wanted to go again! 

What drew you to writing conscious rap and diving deep into social issues?

A lot has happened in my personal life. I’ve been homeless, I became a dad at 17, I’m co-parenting an eight-year-old daughter. So because of that I started looking at things that were going on around the world. Looking at other people coming up against struggles like knife crime and police brutality, I started doing research and was inspired to write lyrics.

When did you start making music?

I’ve probably been making music for 10 years or so but I only started putting out stuff about six months ago. Before appearing on The Rap Game UK, I’d never even held a mic before. Everybody has their own crafts when it comes to music, and everybody wants to succeed. It comes down to who’s the most hungry? I’m hungry for it. I sing, I’ve proved I can spit bars. Why not do my conscious stuff on a drill beat or Afro-swing? There’s so much I want to do now – watch this space.

Who’s your biggest inspiration?

My daughter is my biggest inspiration because when she came along I changed my ways in life and being a dad has kept me on the right track. Then my family, because they’ve done everything for me and I really want to give it back.


Unknown
Smooth

20, from Milton Keynes

Unknown Smooth

Unknown Smooth

Having lived all across the globe growing up, you incorporate multiple languages into your bars. Was that something that you decided to do from the outset?

I love educating myself as much as I can. Growing up, I moved around a lot so that I could study my religion – I’m Muslim. I lived in places that didn’t have a lot of hip-hop at the time - like Kenya, Egypt and Yemen - but regardless I’d still find time to listen to my music. I learnt a lot of languages like Swahili, Somalian and Arabic. So I thought, why wouldn’t I rap about all these places and put that culture into my music?

Are there other outspoken Muslim rappers in the UK like Riz MC that you’ve looked to for inspiration? What made you decide to become a rapper? 

It’s a powerful way to get my story across. In the scene now, you have other female rappers coming up. You have rappers who aren’t scared to bring politics into their music like Stormzy. They’re doing us all justice by speaking on issues like black and minority culture. I’m both of those things. That showed me that if I have a positive message and something to say for myself, people will listen.

Did you come up against obstacles coming on to the scene as a female MC?

There are many challenges I’ve had to face like being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Going to prison for two months [Smooth was found guilty of intent to supply Class A drugs after police raided a house she was in and found substances, but claims she did not commit the crime]. Obstacles as a female rapper? Definitely. We don’t just break into the industry like male rappers, and I don’t think all female MCs are getting the type of credit or respect they deserve. 

What’s the most powerful message that you want to deliver in your lyrics? 

I want to tell people about what it’s like to grow up the way I am, for people to understand what it’s like to be going up against the values of your family, respect your roots and your religion and follow your dreams. I’m trying to balance that still and it’s been hard at times but it’s worth it – nobody has to switch themselves up to please others.


Unknown Smooth, 20
Milton Keynes

Having lived all across the globe growing up, you incorporate multiple languages into your bars. Was that something that you decided to do from the outset?

I love educating myself as much as I can. Growing up, I moved around a lot so that I could study my religion – I’m Muslim. I lived in places that didn’t have a lot of hip-hop at the time - like Kenya, Egypt and Yemen - but regardless I’d still find time to listen to my music. I learnt a lot of languages like Swahili, Somalian and Arabic. So I thought, why wouldn’t I rap about all these places and put that culture into my music?

Are there other outspoken Muslim rappers in the UK like Riz MC that you’ve looked to for inspiration? What made you decide to become a rapper? 

It’s a powerful way to get my story across. In the scene now, you have other female rappers coming up. You have rappers who aren’t scared to bring politics into their music like Stormzy. They’re doing us all justice by speaking on issues like black and minority culture. I’m both of those things. That showed me that if I have a positive message and something to say for myself, people will listen.

Did you come up against obstacles coming on to the scene as a female MC?

There are many challenges I’ve had to face like being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Going to prison for two months [Smooth was found guilty of intent to supply Class A drugs after police raided a house she was in and found substances, but claims she did not commit the crime]. Obstacles as a female rapper? Definitely. We don’t just break into the industry like male rappers, and I don’t think all female MCs are getting the type of credit or respect they deserve. 

What’s the most powerful message that you want to deliver in your lyrics? 

I want to tell people about what it’s like to grow up the way I am, for people to understand what it’s like to be going up against the values of your family, respect your roots and your religion and follow your dreams. I’m trying to balance that still and it’s been hard at times but it’s worth it – nobody has to switch themselves up to please others.


J Lucia

23, from Essex / St Lucia

What made you decide to become a rapper?

I was born in St Lucia and have lived in the UK for 10 years – half the time in London and half the time in Essex. I’m a poet at heart. I started writing verses at nine years old. I poured my soul out over everything from heartbreak to school troubles. Outside being good with words, I’ve always played a bunch of instruments from piano to djembe drums – so it made sense for me to put those two worlds together. “Rap” means “rhythm and poetry” - and I had poetry, so I started singing as well and working on my rapping.

Splitting your life as a rapper between St Lucia, London and Essex, where do you feel most like your sound fits in?

You can’t put J Lucia in a category! I’m in Essex now, so I don’t mind repping there but I’d like to be back in London, and there it would have to be south. Every area in the city has its own vibe and its own specific kinda sound. North London you get emotional MCs like Abracadabra, Wretch, Chip and Skepta. East you have cats like Kano, D Double E, Ghetts. South London you have Stormzy, Hardy Caprio and Slurge Boys. For West you have AJ Tracey so it all kinda ranges.

What was the scene like when you first started rapping?

The only music I was interested in when I first moved to the UK from the Caribbean was grime. In St Lucia we don’t have any British music, we only listen to American music which I liked but there was always something missing for me. Unless you’re like a legend like J Cole or Kendrick Lamar, US MCs have got nothing on the grime artists and rappers coming from here. They’ve got nothing on school kids from London!

You’re a multi-instrumentalist and as a poet obviously have a way with words, is there a style you feel sums up your sound the most?

I don’t want to be pigeonholed but Afro-swing. It’s very close to dancehall and soca and the sounds I grew up with in the Caribbean. When I first started writing raps I would leave the hooks blank. I thought hopefully one day I could get somebody to sing it and then I thought, “Hold up, I can sing”.


J Lucia

J Lucia

J Lucia, 23
Essex | St Lucia

What made you decide to become a rapper?

I was born in St Lucia and have lived in the UK for 10 years – half the time in London and half the time in Essex. I’m a poet at heart. I started writing verses at nine years old. I poured my soul out over everything from heartbreak to school troubles. Outside being good with words, I’ve always played a bunch of instruments from piano to djembe drums – so it made sense for me to put those two worlds together. “Rap” means “rhythm and poetry” - and I had poetry, so I started singing as well and working on my rapping.

Splitting your life as a rapper between St Lucia, London and Essex, where do you feel most like your sound fits in?

You can’t put J Lucia in a category! I’m in Essex now, so I don’t mind repping there but I’d like to be back in London, and there it would have to be south. Every area in the city has its own vibe and its own specific kinda sound. North London you get emotional MCs like Abracadabra, Wretch, Chip and Skepta. East you have cats like Kano, D Double E, Ghetts. South London you have Stormzy, Hardy Caprio and Slurge Boys. For West you have AJ Tracey so it all kinda ranges.

What was the scene like when you first started rapping?

The only music I was interested in when I first moved to the UK from the Caribbean was grime. In St Lucia we don’t have any British music, we only listen to American music which I liked but there was always something missing for me. Unless you’re like a legend like J Cole or Kendrick Lamar, US MCs have got nothing on the grime artists and rappers coming from here. They’ve got nothing on school kids from London!

You’re a multi-instrumentalist and as a poet obviously have a way with words, is there a style you feel sums up your sound the most?

I don’t want to be pigeonholed but Afro-swing. It’s very close to dancehall and soca and the sounds I grew up with in the Caribbean. When I first started writing raps I would leave the hooks blank. I thought hopefully one day I could get somebody to sing it and then I thought, “Hold up, I can sing”.


F.O.S

25, from Scunthorpe

F.O.S (Freedom of Speech)

F.O.S (Freedom of Speech)

What made you decide to become a rapper?

It sounds odd, but somewhere inside I just knew I could do it. Before I did music, I was into boxing. One day I walked into a boxing gym and thought, “I can do this”. I got quite good but I stopped. When I found music, the same thing happened. Saying that, it took someone to break my heart for me to actually sit down and write something.

What’s the music and cultural scene like in Scunthorpe? In the media the focus is often on the uncertain future of the steel industry there, but what positive things are happening?

Culture is slowly coming into the town but it still feels so far behind. If you asked me where to go to check out hip-hop, you’d have to give me about five years to answer because there isn’t anywhere! There’s places that have tried like Cafe Indie, but not enough people support it so it leaves the promoters scared to try it again. When it comes to ambition and self-belief it’s the same. There are rappers in Scunthorpe that have a lot of talent but they just don’t believe in themselves as much as I believe in them.  

Can people expect more MCs coming out of Scunthorpe?

I’m not going to name names but there are some coming up who definitely have star potential. Hopefully, I’ve shown them that success is possible, now it’s up to them how hard they’re prepared to work. You have to be OK with making sacrifices like missing out on drinking and partying. Instead you need to be in the studio making tracks. It’s worth it in the long run.

How would you sum up the Scunthorpe sound?

In Scunthorpe we’re not trying to be like everyone else. If I had to describe it in a word, I’d say very versatile. At the minute with drill music, every Tom, Dick and Harry sounds the same. We’re trying to be different. For me, that means bringing my singing into my sound – I could sing when I was a kid but then my voice broke and it’s taken time to make it work.

What’s your musical goal?

I’d like to be an independent artist with a label that’s successful and cares about who they represent and where that distribution money goes. But you never know, I might get lucky and sign a deal for me and my whole team.


F.O.S, 25
Scunthorpe

What made you decide to become a rapper?

It sounds odd, but somewhere inside I just knew I could do it. Before I did music, I was into boxing. One day I walked into a boxing gym and thought, “I can do this”. I got quite good but I stopped. When I found music, the same thing happened. Saying that, it took someone to break my heart for me to actually sit down and write something.

What’s the music and cultural scene like in Scunthorpe? In the media the focus is often on the uncertain future of the steel industry there, but what positive things are happening?

Culture is slowly coming into the town but it still feels so far behind. If you asked me where to go to check out hip-hop, you’d have to give me about five years to answer because there isn’t anywhere! There’s places that have tried like Cafe Indie, but not enough people support it so it leaves the promoters scared to try it again. When it comes to ambition and self-belief it’s the same. There are rappers in Scunthorpe that have a lot of talent but they just don’t believe in themselves as much as I believe in them.  

Can people expect more MCs coming out of Scunthorpe?

I’m not going to name names but there are some coming up who definitely have star potential. Hopefully, I’ve shown them that success is possible, now it’s up to them how hard they’re prepared to work. You have to be OK with making sacrifices like missing out on drinking and partying. Instead you need to be in the studio making tracks. It’s worth it in the long run.

How would you sum up the Scunthorpe sound?

In Scunthorpe we’re not trying to be like everyone else. If I had to describe it in a word, I’d say very versatile. At the minute with drill music, every Tom, Dick and Harry sounds the same. We’re trying to be different. For me, that means bringing my singing into my sound – I could sing when I was a kid but then my voice broke and it’s taken time to make it work.

What’s your musical goal?

I’d like to be an independent artist with a label that’s successful and cares about who they represent and where that distribution money goes. But you never know, I might get lucky and sign a deal for me and my whole team.


Episodes one and two of The Rap Game UK are available to watch on BBC iPlayer.


Credits

Author: Tracy Kawalik

Editors: Thea de Gallier, Serena Kutchinsky, Stuart Duggan

Design: David Weller

Lead Photography: Vicky Grout

Archive Photography: Wassifa Collection and Getty Images