Suburban Spotlight: Coventry
26 Jan 2021
Kick starting 2021 with our tenth edition of Suburban Spotlight; an article that explores some of the best up and coming rappers from an array of cities from around the nation – today we are taking a trip to Coventry! Home to the likes of Jay1, Pa Salieu and more, we have selected 6 emcees from a selection of genre’s including Grime, who we believe deserve a little more shine!
Tap in below to see who we picked!
At just 18 years of age Babyblackz, has already made quite the impression within the music realm! Reputable for his fun-filled, slick and self-assured confidence, the ascending emcee first began releasing music at the beginning of 2020 having been released from Aston Villa FC. Turning his passion and hobby of making music into a career, from 2018 onward the budding talent started hitting the booth and in turn not only work on his craft but discover his sound. Taking inspiration from a slew of UK and US hit-maker’s including Lil Baby, Lil Durk and Headie One, he dropped his debut single entitled “Bop Through Clean” in the summer of last year. Housing a skittering production courtsey of Hargo, his punching flow, slick bars and charismatic energy took centre stage. Swiftly following through with a further two singles, “From Young” and “Saucy Yutes” (below), Babyblackz quickly proved why he is one to watch from Coventry. With production from Icey Stanley and Coolie, “Saucy Yutes” is an up-beat and head-bopping cut that boast’s the emcee’s dynamic flow, refined pen and infectious hook – creating the ultimate banger! With more music on the way, we’re sure this isn’t the last you’ll hear of Babyblackz!
Hailing from the notorious ‘Frontline’ area of Hillfields in Coventry is the ascending emcee named Reapz One; known for his story-telling ability, thought-provoking bars and all-round quality artistry, the 31 year-old is undoubtedly one to watch. Emphasizing quality over quantity, Reapz One first began navigating his passion for music from the youthful age of 11 where he began not only producing his own beats but working on what’s now his refined pen game. Taking influence from an array of quality artists including Youngs Teflon, Potter Payper, Nines, Lil Durk and Styles P, the multi-talented artist began dropping a slew of singles back in 2017, one of which was “Jon Snow”. Posing as a significant release in his discography, this track marked his return to music having taken a long hiatus from releasing anything – from then on it’s been nothing but an up-hill climb! Kick starting the new year with “Movin’ Mad”, the rapper has been picking up momentum and made an array of appearances on several tracks including “Vacant Yard” alongside Shakavellie as well as the release of “4am In The Hill” (below). Showcasing his tasteful pen game and all-round assertive presence over an emotion-baring backdrop, his supporters took to the comment section and referred to him as the “Realist in COV” – I think it’s safe to say the music speaks for itself!
You may or may not recognize NI Santora from his appearance alongside a selection of fellow Coventry emcees on Pa Salieu’s latest project entitled ‘Send Them Back To Coventry’ on the track “Active”. If you are aware of the music scene in Coventry then you will be more than familiar with NI Santora, known for his dexterous flows, hard-hitting pen and self-assured presence, the 30 year-old takes influence from Styles P, Jadakiss and Mobb Deep as well as the Coventry rap group C.O.V (City of Villains), who were popping at the time of him growing up. At the youthful age of 16, a young NI Santora began attending Grime sets as well learning how to produce but never took it any further until the latter of 2019 when he made his appearance on the iconic ‘[email protected]’ platform. Since then, he’s dropped an assortment of freestyles and tracks including his ‘Hoods Hottest’ freestyle (below) that is currently sat with over 18,000 views on YouTube alone. Stood in head to toe in all black, his authoritative presence, hard-hitting flows and street poetics took centre stage for just under 5 minutes straight. Taking on two instrumentals, he boasts his versatility and effortless yet punching approach that left supporters wanting more – it’s only a matter of time until NI Santora gains the recognition he deserves!
Reputable for his charismatic sound, SUBZERO has paved his own flavorsome style that has caught the eyes of many. Influenced by an array of different artists and factors including Wiley, Grime, Dance Hall and life in general, the 29 year-old first began dabbling in the profession from 2004 but it wasn’t until 2008 that he took it to the next level. Since then, SUBZERO has been refining his craft and in turn released a selection of tracks across both SoundCloud and streaming services that include his 2019 drop named “Nah”, a “Ready Or Not Remix” to his more recent cut entitled “From Time” (below). Clocking in at just under 3 minutes long, his pen game, rapid fire-flows and non-hesitant presence take centre stage throughout! Entering 2021 with a bang, the rising emcee recently offloaded his latest cut entitled “Deeper Than This.”, an honest, straight-talking and head-bopping cut that showcases his lyrical ability over a melodic and skittering backdrop courtesy of AXXEUM.4K – with more music on the way, SUBZERO is a name to look out for!
Who said Grime was dead? No, but who?! Skatta is one of many artists that are still flying the flag for British Rap’s most charismatic genre. When many of us were still in school and unsure of what we wanted for our futures, Skatta was determined from a young age that he would one day make a name for himself in music. Having taken a liking to the genre that helped shape many of British Rap’s sounds today, the Coventry native started drawing influence from a variety of notable names including Wiley, Dizzee Rascal, Sharky Major, Clipson, Lord Finesse, Roots Manuva, Skinnyman and Rodney P before stepping out and discovering his own style. With a boast-worthy collection of projects behind him including ‘Skatta’d Pieces’ and ‘Fight Night Flows’ – not to mention his string of singles, over the years Skatta has built a reputable name from himself within the Grime realm. More recently, he dropped his ‘Hardships’ project that saw features from J-Fresh, Kriptik, Clipson, OH91 and more – putting his dexterous flows, charged-up energy and intricate pen on a shining pedestal, a stand-out from the project is a track entitled “Homage” (below). Bursting with energy from the onset, this track is one of many reasons as to why Skatta is one to watch!
Born and raised in Coventry with a Congolese heritage is the rising emcee named Spender, taking his long-life love for music to the next level since the latter end of 2019 with “Grind & Stack” – he has since turned the heads of many. Taking influence from an assortment of U.S hit-makers such as 50 Cent, Lil Wayne, Kanye West, Kodak Black and Lil Baby, Spender has stepped out with a distinct sound and style that sets him apart from the rest in British Rap. Known for his gruff tone, dynamic flows, laid-back approach and playful pen, he entered 2020 with “Bait”, an effortless track built over a melodic and atmospheric backdrop that enabled his pen game to sit centre stage. Swiftly following through with “McQueen” the 21 year-old recently took to the Mixtape Madness channel with his brand new single entitled “Wiley”. Housing a bass-heavy and head-bopping production courtesy of Fazman, Spender sets pace with his steady yet effective flow and infectious hook in this one. With the intention to inspire others, “I also just want to be a voice for people who have been through similar things to me and can relate to the things I speak on whilst repping the place I come from”, he said in a recent interview. With what’s looking like yet another packed and successful year ahead, Spender is a name to look out for!