Dave, Headie One, Cardi B and KSI Help Hip Hop & Rap Reach Record Numbers In UK

Jesse Williams

By Jesse Williams

Jesse Williams

15 Apr 2021

In just under 50 years Hip Hop has seen itself transition from the music of rebellion to the worlds favourite genre, and that is a continuing trend, especially here in the UK. A new analysis from the BPI – the UK association of independent and major record labels – revealed that the popularity of Rap and Hip Hop continued to soar in 2020.

Figures last year represented an all-time high for the genres with music under the Rap and Hip Hop classifications accounting for 22% of all UK singles consumption last year. The two also combined for a market share of 12.2% in the albums category, spurred on by British acts like Nines, KSI and Headie One.

The success of UK artist can largely be put down to them harnessing the power of streaming. Tracks by S1mba, AJ Tracey, Dave and Headie One all racked up more than 50 million plays in the UK alone in 2020. That’s without mentioning the likes of Bugzy Malone, M Huncho and Young T & Bugsey who were amongst the strongest contributors in achieving over 100 million plays in the UK last year.

“To see how British Rap voices across cultures are soaring with success is something we always knew was possible, we just needed the internet and streaming services to galvanise the British Rap and Hip Hop movements’ DIY ethos”, said multimedia broadcaster Jasmine Dotiwala.

The story of Hip Hop and Rap has for years been dominated by the male perspective but Cardi B, Megan Thee Stallion and Doja Cat represented hard for the women last year earning top 3 chart positions with their singles, a serious statement. Hopefully female UK artists like Bree Runway and Ms Banks can take on the baton and lead the line soon.

Joseph ‘JP’ Patterson, EIC, Complex UK / Founder, TRENCH Magazine, said:

“To know how much Black British music has impacted the music industry at large is something that I couldn’t be more proud of. From the days when Grime and UK Rap was an afterthought in mainstream spaces, to now being a driving force in the UK’s musical landscape — it just goes to show that with great music and an even greater work ethic, the sky really is the limit. Dave, Stormzy, Ghetts, J Hus et al — some of our finest lyricists — are getting their flowers at the best point of their careers, and they deserve every last bit of it.”

All in all the BPI’s analysis published in the 42nd edition of their All About the Music yearbook confirmed what has been evident for a few years, UK Hip Hop and Rap are on the right track. If you want to check out more data follow this link.