Photo Credit: Audiomack
Best of the UK is a monthly column highlighting the best new songs from the UK artists on Audiomack. Listen to and favorite our UK RAP and UK R&B playlists, which include these selections and more. This article previously appeared on Audiomack World.
Russ Millions augmented his run of Top 10 smashes with the unassailable drill anthem “Body” alongside Tion Wayne. Making an earworm of an “English girl named Fiona,” the Edmonton-Lewisham link-up delivers an immense double hook combination on the smoldering Gotcha riddim, zeroing in on drill’s innate melodic potential. A towering posse remix solidified “Body”’s place in the pantheon of UK drill in late April.
Having bagged a BRIT, Mercury Prize, and an Ivor Novello Award, all before his 22nd birthday, national asset Dave expounds on his accomplishments on “Titanium.” A double A-side—paired with the equally puissant “Mercury”—the sparse trap riddim forges sinister space for the Streatham prodigy to reflect on financial planning and the ramifications of his social mobility—“I got a house in the sticks, it’s awkward I know that my neighbors are votin’ Tory.”
AJ Tracey returned in April with his highly anticipated second album, Flu Game, reinforcing his reputation as one of the UK’s most eclectic emcees. Flu Game’s all-London merging of drill, garage, and afro-swing was spearheaded by the transatlantic union with NAV, “Kukoč.” A drill duet mounted on an irresistible Old West riddim delivers with an urgent refrain in reverence of the former Chicago Bulls celebrated aim.
The King of the North, Bugzy Malone, compares his mic work to Dalí with a pencil on his new single, “Salvador.” Returning to his territorial reworking of grime for his third single of the year, the Manchester emcee resumes the confessional storytelling that implanted both him and his city on the UK rap map, unhanding reflections on the rigors of street life in his unmistakable Manchunian gruff.
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BackRoad Gee continued his first-rate run of singles into April with the drill effort “Ay Yo.” Pairing his incomparable energy and turbulent ad-libs with a bullish Nick French production, “Ay Yo” underscores the East Londoner’s incendiary binding of grime and drill that has turned his forthcoming mixtape into one of the most anticipated UK rap releases of 2021.
UK drill continued its back-to-the-futurist trajectory towards golden age grime with the boisterous Croydon-Birmingham collaboration between SL and M1LLIONZ, “Versus.” Supplemented by a frenetic sub-bass arrangement from producers Lucas Dante and Yng Cld, SL’s stoical cadence combines with M1LLIONZ’s unruffled Brum flow for some hushed opp talk with echoes of Tunnel Vision.
South London’s Poundz teamed up with UK funky trailblazers iLL BLU and BackRoad Gee for his oscillating new drill single, “Chocolate Darling,” taken from his new full-length, No Smoke Without Fire. Steeped in booming kicks and BackRoad Gee scats, the London ensemble consolidates their talents for a club banger with a lasting refrain.
UK garage revivalist Conducta called upon Keeya Keys to recreate the 2-step enchant of his 2020 single “Bebey” for his new release, “4-4-2.” Picking up where good vibe garage raps left off in 2001, the North London emcee drops a litany of sharp football references to Conducta’s syncopated swing, comparing his new girl to a standard football team formation in a NUKG summertime standard.
North London’s Rv dropped his Rico Vondelle mixtape in April, featuring the simmering afro bashment cut, “Steady.” The Fresh Prince of Tottenham dashes a succession of strong-willed bars at Slim Typical’s doomy synths, basking in poised opp threats and hubristic boasts—“If I’m your ex, that’s your biggest flex.”
SR returned with his new single “Practice Makes Perfect” in April, the long-awaited follow-up to “Welcome to Brixton.” The South London driller recaptures the energy of his breakout single, dropping intemperate warnings and twerk encouragements with the same ferocity to Ekayy OTB’s surging riddim.
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10 Best New Songs From the UK – DJBooth
Photo Credit: Audiomack