2021 was the year when some of UK rap’s most accomplished heroes put out the greatest albums of their already impressive careers. Dave, Ghetts and Little Simz all gave us literally world-beating albums, and it’s worth adding that the new gen hardly lacked either—Central Cee, M1llionz, V9 and Digga D also shone. But, already, it’s looking like 2022 will be a year that is dominated by newcomers.
There’s an exciting new wave of rhymers and they don’t necessarily adhere to one particular style or subgenre. Where previous years were ruled by one fixed strain, the new gen consists of drillers, road rappers, conscious rhymers, futurists, and artists who don’t fit into any of that. Tribalism and gate-keeping is out and there’s an energised wave of chameleons and experimentalists waiting in the wings, ready to shake things up and smudge the boundaries. In short, 2022 is the year of the individual.
Here are 24 UK rappers to watch.