According to statistics published by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), over a fifth of all singles consumed in the UK last year were classified as rap and hip-hop. Specifically, rap and hip-hop accounted for 22% of the singles market, while in the albums market it accounts for 12.2%. Both figures are the highest the genre has seen since BPI first started analysing by genre in 1999.
Unsurprisingly, Stormzy topped both albums and singles figures for the year, with Heavy Is The Head sitting at 331,454 sales and “Own It” with Burna Boy and Ed Sheeran sitting at 1,406,276 sales. Following close behind in the singles chart were S1mba’s “Rover”, Aitch & AJ Tracey’s “Rain” and AJ’s “Dinner Guest” with MoStack. Meanwhile, on the album front, J Hus’ Big Conspiracy and Dave’s Psychodrama rounded out the top 3, with M Huncho, Nines and AJ Tracey all appearing prominently.
Of course, it wasn’t just UK talent racking up those numbers. US titans like Cardi B, Megan Thee Stallion, Juice Wrld and Doja Cat were all dominating presences in the UK singles charts, helping to push that percentage up even higher. Hip-hop on both sides of the Atlantic is in better shape than ever, so you can almost definitely expect even better numbers for 2021.
Geoff Taylor, BPI & BRIT Awards’ Chief Executive, said: “A glimpse of this year’s BRITs nominees shows the extent to which rap and hip-hop now occupies music’s centre ground. The genre has exploded in recent years — propelled by artists such as Stormzy, Dave and Little Simz, who are creating a new narrative for British music and are leading a rising wave of British talent that is harnessing the power of streaming to achieve chart success.”
Jasmine Dotiwala, a broadcaster and hip-hop journalist, added: “To see how successful 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. To the musicians, their teams, the multiple media platforms, radio DJs, producers, live events teams, music journalists, those who champion the music and culture relentlessly and the music lovers… Congratulations!”
You can check out the full report here.