Skip to content Skip to footer

In honor of Giggs’ ‘Wamp 2 Dem’ why don’t y’all give UK rap a try?

UK rapper Giggs has been killing it on the grime circuit for a decade. His 2007 track “Talkin’ Da Hardest” became a staple of the South London sound.

Ever since then, Giggs has been held in high regard in the UK, his 2016 album Landlord peaked at number 2 on the UK albums chart.

Tracks like “Whippin Excursion” are just good hip-hop songs, not just for a UK rapper, but any artist.

Giggs’ whispery, monotone delivery contrasts with the commonly over-articulated wordplay of his UK contemporaries, he brings a sort of Americanized trap sound to his music. He raps about topics that we’re familiar with in American rap, drug dealing, inner city poverty, and generally being the man.

So when Giggs appeared twice on Drake’s More Life ‘playlist’ it would make sense that he would be one of the more palatable options for American rap listeners that turn up their noses at UK grime. But instead, Giggs’ appearances on “No Long Talk” and “KMT” were mocked, memified, and mostly made fun of.

This prompted think pieces and counter reaction from the American hip-hop intelligentsia, with people like DJ Akademiks proclaiming that Giggs had a ‘wack verse’ on Drake’s album.

Now Giggs has dropped a surprise mixtape Wamp 2 Dem (Jamaican patois for what’s wrong with them) with a promo video that takes not so veiled shots at his haters.

I’m not sure I understand the hate for Giggs from an American perspective. Sure, he’s not the greatest rapper of all-time, but on “KMT” where Drake copies XXXtentacion’s flow down to the last cadence, it’s cool to hear something original from Giggs.

And as for his mixtape, Wamp 2 Dem is fire from the outset. The first track, “Gully N*****” features Giggs flowing effortlessly over a horror movie type beat for the entire song with no chorus. It’s a song that (besides Giggs’ South London accent) could belong on any contemporary Atlanta rap album.

To that end, Giggs recruits 2 Chainz, Young Thug, and Lil Duke for Wamp 2 Dem, so whether American listeners are ready to embrace Giggs, American artists already have.

There’s definitely a good amount of prejudice against UK rap from American listeners, but as mature adults, we should all be able to get past the fact that people have different accents in different places of the world.

I mean, if we take a step back for a second, it’s actually pretty cool to see the emergence of rap in the UK.

Without hip-hop, foreigners’ ideas of American culture are represented by Donald Trump, oversized fast food, excessive displays of patriotism, and cars that use too much gasoline inefficiently.

But hip-hop best represents who we really are as a country, it gives voices to communities that may not otherwise be able to express themselves on a larger scale.

In this sense, people around the world can see what places like Atlanta, Los Angeles, and New York are really like. Not the movie or political version, but the human version.

This is what Giggs does for London, and South London more specifically. It’s not all tea, crumpets, the footy, Harry Potter, and people named Pippa, Giggs shines a light on the real version of London in a way that a lot of Americans would be ignorant of.

So, instead of immediately writing off Giggs and the rest of the UK grime scene, we — as American rap listeners — should embrace that our country’s music and culture has the reach that it does, that it’s causing offshoots and different styles across the globe.

And contrary to general opinion, there’s a wild diversity of sounds coming out of the UK. Here’s a brief run down of some very good, and very different, grime artists. This isn’t necessarily an introduction to these artists, most rap fans will have heard of them, but rather to show the varying styles and sounds of UK rap.


Skepta is probably the biggest and most successful grime artist in the history of the genre, at least in terms of American success.

The north London native is a global superstar, he’s been embraced by brands across the world, and been featured on popular American artists’ music.

Skepta’s music makes for pretty easy listening, his punchline heavy lyrics and melodic flow make sense to an American ear. The effect of the London battle rapping scene, how most of the more season vets of the grime genre got their start, is clear in Skepta’s delivery.

At this point, Skepta is the artist that most embodies contemporary grime, for better or for worse.

J Hus

The 21-year-old from East London J Hus dropped Common Sense at the beginning of the summer and it’s still one of the best releases of the year.

J Hus is a much more musical artist than Skepta or Giggs, able to rap sing in different flows over a variety of beats that draw from all over the world. At times J Hus is vibing over an Atlanta trap beat, then a UK club production, then a West African-infused dancehall record.

In a genre where old heads like Giggs and Skepta are just now getting widespread attention after more than a decade in the game, this 21-year-old has a very bright future ahead of him.

Rejjie Snow

While Rejjie Snow isn’t from London, the Dublin, Ireland native brings a whole new perspective to UK hip-hop.

Snow has a much more lyrical, 90’s New York style. It’s a reason that Snow has gained such a fanbase amongst American hip-hop hipsters.

On “Purple Tuesday” Rejjie Snow flows alongside Joey Bada$$ while the Irishman sounds like he could’ve been an original Pro Era founder.

Perhaps Snow’s acceptance within the American underground, and to a certain extent his sound, is due to his time in America as a teenager, he attended Florida’s Montverde Academy and later Savannah College of Art and Design on soccer scholarships.

Whatever the reason, Snow’s style is a stark contrast to many of the other artists out of the UK.

There’s a lot on offer when it comes to our friends across the pond making hip-hop.

We are all hip-hop heads of the world, it might be worth your while to stop making trash memes about UK rappers and actually listen.

Music week in review: Kelela, Giggs, King Krule, Lin-Manuel Miranda, & more

It was a dope week in music with great releases from some slightly slept-on artists.

The next couple weeks will see releases from some big names in the music world, so it’s cool to see some artists get much-deserved shine.

None more than Kelela.

Kelela – Take Me Apart

After landing on the music stage in 2013 with her mixtape Cut 4 Me and a follow up EP in 2015 Hallucinogen, Kelela has turned her blustering potential into one of the best music releases of the year.

Her brand of floating R&B, with glitchy, deeply intricate production is a joy to listen to. Some tracks are deeply introspective and airy. “Enough” is a slow-rolling drum-driven ballad with sonic peaks and valleys.

“Better” runs almost 4 and a half minutes of mostly Kelela’s voice with simple Noah Shebib-like synths rolling slightly in the background until drums pop up, accentuating Kelela’s unique and beautiful voice.

“LMK” is a straight up R&B pop song that’s tailor-made for broad dissemination to all mainstream venues. Kelela has ridiculous songwriting ability, penning ballads about numerous relationships and life (she’s got some sage advice at 34).

It’s not surprising that the first track and album standout “Frontline” debuted on Issa Rae’s Insecure, Kelela’s work is simultaneously cinematic and intimate.

You get the feeling that Kelela’s songwriting and vocal range pushes her production team to find new sounds and variations in their own work, the production on this album is impeccably clean. Listen to this album. Now.

Giggs – Wamp 2 Dem

Fresh off last year’s Landlord album and his feature on Drake’s “KMT” Giggs has become one of the more hyped members of the quickly-rising grime genre out of the UK. Giggs brings a different flair to the grime movement, a more Americanized trap sound than some of his other London contemporaries.

Not to say that he’s ripping off American rap, this is very much a UK rap record, but his subject matter is considerably darker than grime artists like Skepta, Tinie Tempah, JME, or J Hus. Wamp 2 Dem shows a new side to the London hip-hop scene, Giggs offers a more menacing vision from the jump with “Gully N****z.”

Recruiting 2 Chainz and Young Thug on Wamp 2 Dem will legitimize Giggs to American hip-hop listeners, but the record would work fine without them. Giggs is a rap star, Wamp 2 Dem is merely confirmation of his place in the game.

King Krule – “Half Man Half Shark”

King Krule, real name Archy Marshall, became one of the most hyped young artists in rock music when he dropped his debut album 6 Feet Beneath the Moon back in 2013.

Since then, Marshall receded from the spotlight, making experimental music under different monikers, making art with his brother, and producing hip-hop while shacked up in a pot-filled flat away from the desperate rock music media.

Now King Krule is back. His second full length album comes out next week and this week saw his third release off the new album.

“Half Man Half Shark” is the ultimate representation of Marhsall, it’s a noisy, jazzy, punky, romp that turns soft, introspective, and contemplative as he sings, “At least when you look to the stars they still glow, but not for me though.”

Marshall is a true musical master and we eagerly await his new record.

Lin-Manuel Miranda – “Almost Like Praying”

Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda has written up another irresistible hit, this time to honor the island of his heritage.

NPR described the song as an “all-star cast of Latinx artists, including Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony, Gloria Estefan, Fat Joe, Ruben Blades, Luis Fonsi, Rita Moreno and many others.”

That’s quite the crew of puertorriqueños and the West Side Story-sampling track is a jam. All proceeds will go to healing the island in wake of the devastating Hurricane Maria.

So while you’re bopping to another catchy-ass Lil-Manuel jig, you’ll also be helping our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico. What could be better?

Ty Dolla $ign – “Ex” (feat. YG)

This oh so LA collaboration courtesy of Ty Dolla and YG is a certified banger in which the two ditch their main squeeze to go back to old flames.

This pair had worked together before on “Only Right” a couple years ago. It’s a groovy ass track off Dolla $ign’s new album Beach House 3 due out on October 27th.

We’re officially ready for BH3.

Big K.R.I.T. – “Keep The devil Off”

After staying relatively quiet since 2014’s Cadillactica, Big K.R.I.T. dropped “Confetti” last week out of nowhere. Now he’s brought another track “Keep The devil Off” and announced a new album, 4eva Is A Mighty Long Time, due October 27th.

“Keep The devil Off” is a soulful number in typical K.R.I.T. fashion with a full church chorus backing him up. K.R.I.T. is one of the most low key talented dudes in hip-hop, it’s a fucking treat to have him back.

dvsn – “P.O.V.”

OVO signees dvsn dropped “P.O.V.,” the second jawn off their new album Morning After, coming next week. It’s a chopped-and-screwed slow track that melds Houston lean rap and 90’s R&B in a pretty damn effective style.

Morning After should put the Toronto duo on the map with the larger public, they’re a songwriting force to be reckoned with.

O.T. Genasis – “Everybody Mad”

With the wild success of mixtape Coke and Butter last year, O.T. Genasis has been on tour with T.I. and jumping on features with artists like Afrojack and Akon. His banger with the great Young Dolph “Cut It” is also officially double platinum.

Now O.T. has stopped by to bless us with another fuck the haters anthem with “Everybody Mad.”  This dude O.T. Genasis just makes hits. “Everybody Mad” is another banger in the O.T. mold.