One of the defining characteristics of UK rap in 2021 is that it won’t be dominated by one particular style or sound. Instead, it’ll be the year of the individual—individuals like rapper Tia Carys from West London. Although born completely deaf, Tia recovered her hearing via surgery and hasn’t taken any of it for granted. Inspired by Wretch 32’s 2015 Fire In The Booth, her very first foray came via Instagram when she took on the same instrumental by The xx to explore her sexuality and her identity. Tia admits she wasn’t as consistent as she could have been in the years that followed, but that all changed in 2019 when she released her debut single, proper: “English x Ghana”. Since then, she’s been running a mile-a-minute, filling 2020 with a fresh batch of singles, the EnRoot EP, and an appearance on Fraser T. Smith’s Future Utopia: 12 Questions LP, finding herself in the company of Kano, Dave and Stormzy. Make no mistake: Tia Carys is only getting warmed up. —James Keith