One of the UK's biggest rising stars is Skepta, who has perfected and popularized the growing sub-genre of grime. Grime is a London-constructed mix of electronic, dancehall and rap music that the British MC has embraced; and his relentless pursuit of creativity has even landed him the coveted Mercury Prize in 2016 for his most recent album Konnichiwa, which is an annual award given to the UK's best album of the year (he beat Radiohead and David Bowie). Apart from breathing fire on the track, Skepta also serves as a producer, songwriter, and music video editor, who also fancies himself as an activist rather than a rapper. His shows are as live as they come, and when you hear the beat drop, you better believe no one in the crowd will be standing still. Cultural artistry is at an optimum for an artist like Skepta, who seems to show no signs of slowing down on his path to worldwide domination.
7. Astroid Boys
Another group worth watching out for here at AP are the Astroid Boys, who incorporate punk and hardcore influences into their very own element of grime. Though they haven't garnered a ton of attention outside of the UK yet, the Cardiff, Wales-based crew have gained a lot of respect from the grime and heavy communities. Many instrumentals used by the band feature live recording of drums and distorted guitar riffs, giving their more trap-style beats a chunkier tone. The group also constitutes a wide range of vocalists, all of whom bring their own styles and arrangements to the party. Don't sleep on their live shows, either, which are clearly not for the faint of heart. Thanks to their bomb-ass production, a hyped-up stage presence gets the crowd involved on nearly every account, further promoting listeners to indulge in the savory technique of these rising rappers.
8. Denzel Curry
One of South Florida's finest products, Denzel Curry has continued to set the pace in artistic vibrance. Bursting onto the spectrum with his debut album Nostalgic 64, Curry immediately showcased his speed, skill and articulation through a variety of rhythms that nearly scorched listeners' ears upon their first listen. In the years since, he's continued to show determination, grit and expansion, as his approach to making music has now branched out into a relationship between modern heavy-hitting beats and unapologetic, confident lyricism. Having just released a new EP titled 13 this month, his evolution continues to be evident as he delivers fresh and ambitious tracks that challenge both his style and expected bars. Denzel Curry is certainly one of the most spirited and dynamic performers out right now, and his live show isn't worth passing up either.
9. Shabazz Palaces
Comprised of Ishmael Butler and Tendai “Baba” Maraire, Shabazz Palaces hail from Seattle, Washington and provide a very abstract take on the traditional hip-hop world. A wide array of percussion elements organized by Maraire are stylistically formatted underneath the vocals of Butler, who formerly served as a member of the jazz-rap group, Digable Planets. Shabazz Palaces are also one of the very first hip-hop groups to sign to the famous Seattle label Sub-Pop, gaining them an exclusive edge in the independent rap community. No matter the expectations of the mainstream, the duo continuously sample musical influences from all sorts of backgrounds, channeling everything from their African roots to modern pop elements. Keep an eye out for their third and fourth studio albums, which will both make their simultaneous release later this year.
10. Action Bronson
One of the most individual personas in all of rap music is Action Bronson, who's a big guy with a big heart and an even larger arsenal of talent. Formerly a reknowned gourmet chef, Bronson has transfigured his career into a successful rapper who takes no days off. Though he throws in his food references throughout his seemingly spontaneous flows, his complex wordplay, metaphors and obscure references are as tasty as they come. Coming from a diverse background as well, Bronson is known to venture into quite a variety of backing beats, ranging from classic New York-influenced hip hop to vibrant full-band tracks. Action Bronson is also a household name on the network television channel Viceland, where he hosts his food traveling show F**k That's Delicious, as well as Traveling the Stars: Action Bronson and Friends Watch ‘Ancient Aliens’. No matter which aspect of Bronson you prefer, he's truly a character to indulge in.
Who should be added to the list? Tell us in the comments!