2021 Groundworks Cypher Breakdown: Showcasing The New Era Of UK Rap

Casey Dorney

By Casey Dorney

Casey Dorney

19 Jan 2022

British music consultancy Groundworks return to make history once again with their highly noteworthy Cypher. Making their debut this time last year, Groundworks #GW20 cypher accumulated an immense 3.7 million views reaching audiences across the UK and further. Providing a brand-new execution to the drop, the enlisted rappers partaking in this year’s cypher undeniably made a statement. Joined by one of the UK’s most prominent DJ’s and freestyle presenters Kenny Allstar, the sounds of the cypher is all in his control! Taking a deeper dive in to the Cypher, we are going to look in to some of the most defining, stand-out moments, the hardest productions and more!

Firstly, we need to acknowledge the tight-knit RichPower UK filming and editing! A production company that works closely alongside groundworks, responsible for many of the music videos – the standards seen in this year’s cypher have massively progressed, keeping the fluidity going and audiences engaged. Here are some of the top moments!

AB X DA’s back-to-back

A new addition to this year’s cypher – AB, goes back-to-back with Hackney collective 98s’ rapper DA. The two rising East London talents fire up hard-hitting bars, flowing on the eerie production by Mason and Tefo. This is a collaboration that needs to come to life without a doubt, as they effortlessly bounce off each other’s energy. AB’s distinctive rap style fused with DA’s powerful cadence, stirs up a heightened level of excitement during the cypher.


Also making his debut appearance to the cypher – new to most audience’s ears, Smokes has been one of the most appreciated contributions this time round. Pulling in everyone’s attention when rapping, Smokes has a certain charisma which you can’t help but to indulge in. The energies are high as Smokes presents his evident talent on the greazy drill-infused production by Mason and Elliass from 98s track ‘Tie Up My Face’. Audiences will expect Smokes to continue carrying this energy into the new year, releasing fresh, new music.

Unknown T x ZK back-to-back

West London native ZK known from drill collective CGM joins Groundworks in this years new cypher. ZK is not new to the UK scene, already having an audience catered to him and his sound. ZK offloads an explosive back to back segment during the cypher with Hackney star Unknown T. The energies created throughout are impossible to disapprove of, displaying unique, head-bopping flows laced in with impressive, pin-point lyricism. Unknown T really is one of one and remains to be so skilled that his artistry can not be duplicated. The Homerton artist continuously shows up each and every time, accompanied by a delivery so specific to him. ZK and Unknown T heat up the cypher during this back to back on a hard-hitting Itchy x Madara Beats production, receiving an exhilarating wheel-up from Kenny Allstar.

There were so many highlights during this cypher from the rappers participating including (CGM) Horrid1, Sav’O, ZK, Rack5, Dodgy and (98s) Unknown T, KO, DA, Mazza, V9, Alchubbino, Jimmy and Hitman. Trapx10, Tugz both appeared in last years cypher too and returned to shell it all over again. As well as Rack5, Dodgy and Hitman – Smokes, AB and Kilo Jugg were new additions to this years cypher and are rappers who are relatively new to many audience’s ears, refusing to let this have any effect as they bring their individual talents to the mic and shut down their sets.

One of the most admirable factors about Groundwork’s cyphers is the opportunity it provides for the producer community. With over an hour of consistent rap, multiple beats are used across the cypher. This years drop included some of the most prominent and upcoming producers, playing a vital role in the success of the cypher. Some stand out beats included production from the likes of, Mason, Tefo, Itchy, Madara, Elliass, LA beats, Kayman, FCM, Swidom, Jony Beats, Scratcha, HL8 and more. Producers have been the backbone of the music scene for a while now so the credit given is well deserved and overdue!

Groundworks are constantly creating a platform to provide opportunity for the new era of rap and drill artists on the rise, in a way that stands out to other establishments that is clearly for the culture. This cypher mirrors previous cyphers across America and the UK, transferred into a modern production covering the prominent genres of rap and drill. GW21 cypher is a milestone that people should not look past as it contributes to the long term growth of UK music.

Tap in to the visuals for Groundworks 2021 Cypher above!