Is the Uk tak­ing over as the home of Hip-hop and Rap?

Artists, crit­ics and fans often argue that the 90s gen­er­a­tion of Hip Hop and Rap will nev­er be topped. The 90s-era con­sisted of young artists look­ing to speak out from soci­ety and use their tal­ent to make changes in the world they live in. As the pion­eers and innov­at­ors of the genre I com­pletely under­stand why they would con­sider this how­ever, I am beg­ging to ques­tion wheth­er the cur­rent UK music scene is tak­ing over as the greatest gen­er­a­tion in Rap? Being a fan of both old school Hip Hop and the grow­ing UK rap scene, I have drawn many sim­il­ar­it­ies between artists; wheth­er it’s their style of rap, the imagery por­trayed in their lyr­ics, flows or even their influ­ence on cul­ture. There’s only one way this and any oth­er music debate can be settled. A Sound-Clash. I have taken five of my favour­ite artist and groups from the US and UK and paired them up with who I believe is there coun­ter­part for the ulti­mate clash. Without fur­ther ado, Round 1!


Inter­est­ingly Nas and Dave have sim­il­ar career paths regard­ing their devel­op­ment and break­through into the main­stream. At only 19 Nas dropped his first album ‘Ill­mat­ic’ which is still con­sidered the best rap album of all times by crit­ics and his peers. Com­par­ably, Dave’s first album was released in 2019 at the age of 20. His album ‘Psy­cho­drama’ deb­uted at num­ber one in the UK earn­ing the biggest first week sales ever for a Brit­ish rap album. Nas and Dave both set new stand­ards for rap with their debut albums solid­i­fy­ing them­selves in the game and as legends at such young ages.

Look­ing at the two debut albums the con­sist­ent storytelling merged togeth­er by intel­li­gent punch­lines demon­strates that they were and still are ahead of their time pla­cing them in the top tier group of MCs. Both rap­pers are fam­ous for hav­ing well-struc­tured and thought out verses and using double-entendre as well as reli­gious ref­er­ences to tell their stor­ies. Nas does this with ease on the second verse of ‘It ain’t hard to tell,’ the lead single off Ill­mat­ic and Dave dis­plays these qual­it­ies on ‘Streath­am.’ Their bars have great ambi­gu­ity allow­ing for new inter­pret­a­tions every time you listen.

Sound Clash – In my opin­ion, no one can com­pete with Dave’s world play. Not even Nas! Some of the double entendre Dave has said have kept me up at night. For that I have to give him the round.


NWA need no intro­duc­tion but for those who are unaware, with the release of the album Straight Outta Compton (1998) NWA birthed ‘gang­ster rap’ by speak­ing out on the racism and police bru­tal­ity they faced. Since their rise, gang­ster rap took over as the prom­in­ent genre and shaped Amer­ic­an rap cul­ture to what it is today. Ulti­mately 67 have done the same with Drill music. 67 pop­ular­ised it to the point where it is now the main­stream sound in the UK. Like NWA, 67 spoke about their envir­on­ment and upbring­ing draw­ing in audi­ences with their raw stor­ies about life on the block and a con­stant battle against police.

The flows, beats and lyr­ic­al abil­ity of songs may be dis­sim­il­ar between these two rap groups how­ever, it is their influ­ences on rap cul­ture that link them togeth­er. Both groups com­mer­cial­ised a genre that ulti­mately ended up tak­ing over.

Sound Clash – Round two of the clash falls in favour of the old school. Both groups had a sim­il­ar influ­ence on cul­ture but it is the lyr­ic­al excel­lence of Ice Cube and co that rightly earns them the win.

Notori­ous BIG VS J Hus

J Hus, to me, is who Notori­ous BIG would be if he was from the UK. What draws me to Big­gie is his rhym­ing pat­tern. His is a mas­ter at find­ing con­tinu­ous rhymes using the same syl­lable. This is ever present when ana­lys­ing his raps and per­haps best dis­played on his track ‘Notori­ous Thugs.’ J Hus also fre­quently dis­play this style of rap­ping. They fill a bar with com­plex and intric­ate words yet have a prom­in­ent word that remains true to the single syl­lable rhyme. It makes both rap­pers sound so smooth on any beat. Most recently J Hus also used this style on his hit song ‘Must be.’

The two rap­pers have also cre­ated vari­ous per­so­nas which allows them to switch from their usu­al gang­ster rid­dims and work their magic on more RnB sound­ing beats. J Hus has; ‘Hust­ler baby,’ ‘Juju J’ and ‘Bouff Daddy’ to name a few where­as Big­gies Smalls res­on­ates with; ‘Notori­ous BIG,’ ‘Big Poppa’ and of course Big­gie. They use the per­so­nas to give the audi­ence dif­fer­ent insights into their lives ran­ging from past struggles to deal­ing with women on the reg­u­lar, both more than cap­able of excel­ling in either top­ic. It is not uncom­mon to have alter egos in rap and hip-hop but there is a strong resemb­lance of the alter egos between these two.

Sound Clash – This round has to go to 90s. Although J hus is my favour­ite rap­per of this era, Biggie’s music has become time­less since his passing as he remains the King of Hip-hop. It was a close call but Big­gie opened the door for notori­ous gang­sters to rap over RnB beats and earn world­wide status. Ulti­mately influ­en­cing the like of J hus and many oth­ers.

Slick Rick VS MoStack

In my opin­ion, these two rap­pers are crim­in­ally under­rated and when it comes to smooth deliv­ery and catchy punch lines there aren’t many bet­ter past or present. Slick Rick was a pion­eer in rap with his unique style. He began the trend of mim­ick­ing dif­fer­ent voices through­out songs when nar­rat­ing stor­ies. Mostack often fol­lows this style. Across all his songs, for example Wild, you can hear him imper­son­ate vari­ous voice to add fur­ther con­text or switch flows dur­ing his songs.

Anoth­er reas­on why I love listen­ing to these two rap­pers is the way they use sing-along melod­ies to fill in rhymes and make their songs even more mem­or­able. Slick Rick is fam­ous for cre­at­ing the much sampled ‘La-Di-Da-Di’ where­as Mostack has his icon­ic ‘Ma-ma-ni, na-na-na.’ This adds a cer­tain humour to their rap­ping which is then car­ried out in much of their lyr­ics. Both MC’s do not take them­selves too ser­i­ously and you can often find a sense of whit and sar­casm in their bars. Slick Rick does this when storytelling, for instance in his song ‘Me and Nas bring it to your hard­est.’

 Sound Clash – Anoth­er win for the mod­ern ear! No one tells a story quite like Slick Rick but what wins this round is the diversity Mostack has in his lock­er. Slick Rick nev­er made a club banger.

Lil Kim Vs Little Simz

Before Lil Kim, female rap­pers were not highly regarded as big names in hip-hop and rap. By adopt­ing a dif­fer­ent style to her coun­ter­parts, the Brook­lyn rap­per paved a way for a gen­er­a­tion of female rap­pers. Through hard hit­ting and more sexu­al­ised raps Lil Kim provided a plat­form that encour­aged oth­er females not to worry about soci­ety and spit how they see fit. Lil Kim raised the bar for females in the 90s on songs such as ‘Queen Bitch.’ Little Simz fol­lows in these foot­steps as she holds her own a UK rap scene dom­in­ated by men. Simz doesn’t shy away from show­cas­ing her tal­ents and, why should she? Her intense flow and clev­er word­play has built her a core fol­low­ing and placed her as one of the hard­est in the UK. She por­trays this on her hit track ‘Venom.’ Both Lil Kim and Little Simz demon­strate great tal­ent that wasn’t there before them so for me, pion­eers in the industry and two queens of rap who can hold their own against the kings.


Sound Clash – Little Simz secures the win for the UK. Little Simz cer­tainly has more con­text behind her bars and didn’t need the help of Big­gie Smalls unlike her com­pet­it­or, we won’t get into that now though.

Admit­tedly there may be some biased in the decisions as to who won those rounds, how­ever, it is clear to me that the cur­rent UK music scene is becom­ing more tal­en­ted and com­pet­it­ive than ever before. No longer do we rely on US music to flood our charts and radio. The UK have cre­ated our own sound and cul­ture. We must still pay homage to the past greats who allowed Hip-hop to reach the heights it has, and If you don’t know the artist men­tioned get to know! Nev­er­the­less, it is now time to cel­eb­rate UK music and their hard-earnt vic­tory in the cul­ture clash.


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Oscar Green

Oscar Green

Oscar is straight out of North West Lon­don. A music enthu­si­ast who loves any­thing from Hip-Hop to Reg­gae to Drum and Bass. He is always on the hunt for new music and runs an events/blog page on Ins­tagram

About Oscar Green

Oscar Green
Oscar is straight out of North West London. A music enthusiast who loves anything from Hip-Hop to Reggae to Drum and Bass. He is always on the hunt for new music and runs an events/blog page on Instagram