Last year, we opened this feature with the words “2019 has been strongly mixed”, and given the thunderstorm of horror that has been 2020—a dreadful cocktail of a globe-trotting deadly virus, worldwide economic downturn and worsening race relations—we’d do just about anything to go back to those halcyon days.

However! Music, as always, has been an essential respite from it all. One thing the UK does have going for it is a music scene that continues to outperform itself year after year. No longer taking cues from our stateside cousins, the world now looks to our takes on rap, R&B and drill to set the tone. The highlights came thick and fast this year. Headie One’s debut albim, EDNA, dominated the collective consciousness, due in no small part to the “Only You Freestyle” with Drake, which was an unavoidable talking point on the TL. Another gem came from Coventry starboy Pa Salieu and grime/drill mad scientist BackRoad Gee—between the two, they could have easily taken up every spot in our top 10, but restraint won out and we limited ourselves to their neutron bomb collaboration, “My Family”.

Elsewhere, Che Lingo delivered a moving sign-of-our-times protest anthem with “My Block”; Tiana Major9 flew the flag for UK R&B worldwide with “Collide”; Digga D served up one of his biggest bangers yet with “Woi”; Ghetts reminded us of his powers with “IC3” and “Mozambique”; and Abra Cadabra, the diesel-throated king of the underground, spoiled us rotten with a whole bag of street anthems, chief amongst them “On Deck”. Enny’s “Peng Black Girls” was a latecomer, having only dropped last month, but the impact the song has created deserves high praise.

Check out the songs we were bumping the most this year down below, and to read more or see the official videos just click through the links. The full playlist can be streamed on the flip.


 

30. Mnelia — "Say Yeah"

29. Shaybo — "Anger

28. Dreya Mac — "Skippin"

27. M1llionz — "B1llionz"

26. Central Cee — "Loading"  

25. Bree Runway — "Apeshit"   

24. Ivorian Doll — "Rumours

23. Rimzee — "G Wagon

22. Novelist — "Active

21. Unknown T — "Fresh Home"    

20. Loski f/ MizOrMac — "On Me"   

19. iLL BLU f/ Bandokay & Double Lz — "Magic

18. Giggs f/ Dave — "Straight Murder (Giggs & David)"   

17. Enny — "Peng Black Girls"   

16. Millionz — "Lagga"  

15. Fredo — "Daily Duppy (Freestyle)"  

14. Blanco — "Shippūden

13. Sinead Harnett f/ Masego & VanJess — "Stickin'

12. Che Lingo — "My Block

11. Boy Better Know — "Red Card

10. Ghetts f/ Jaykae & Moonchild Sanelly — "Mozambique

9. Nines f/ NSG — "Airplane Mode"  

8. Pa Salieu f/ BackRoad Gee — "My Family"

7. Novelist — "Stay With Me"     

6. Scribz Riley — "Mandy"  

5. Tiana Major9 & EARTHGANG — "Collide

4. Headie One & Drake — "Only You Freestyle"

3. Ghetts f/ Skepta — "IC3"  

2. Abra Cadabra — "On Deck"

1. Digga D — "Woi"

Revisit our best songs of 2019 here.

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