Words by: Dwayne Wilks
We’re already past the halfway point of 2021 and we still have some incredible projects to expect from the UK Rap scene.
As the UK gears up for (what will hopefully be) our first full summer back outside, there’s a growing sense that some of our favourite UK Rap artists are gearing up to provide the accompanying soundtrack. A few weeks ago, we covered the best drops of 2021 so far – now we look ahead at what’s to come. Here are 5 artists gearing up to release projects in the second half this year, each of which you should be excited for if you aren’t already.
CHILDREN OF ZEUS
Manchester-repping duo Children Of Zeus areturned from a three-year hiatus with their 3rd album, titled Balance, on June 4th. Existing fans will know what to expect from the group; their brand of Hip Hop-Soul is sirenic and soothing. Konny Kon delivers crucial and consistent rap verses which compliment Tyler Daley’s mesmeric melodies, hand in glove. Their last album, Travel Light, was met with universal acclaim. This introduced them to a new audience hungry for a sound that satisfied their nostalgia, yet still sounded fresh. If you aren’t already hip check out Travel Light highlights “Hoodman2Manhood”, “All On You” and “360°” and get to know.
North West London vet, Skrapz, is loading up to release his first project in 3 years with the aptly named Be Right Back EP, scheduled for release on June 25th. The Road Rap legend was made to step back from the game for some time, but made his long-waited return earlier in the year with the Nines-assisted single “Jumpout” and has since followed it up with a piece from George The Poet labelled “If I Gotta Go” and more recently “Real Like Us”. The languid delivery, the braggadocio will no doubt return in full effect come June 25th, and the time is ripe for Skrapz to add to his already formidable catalogue.
It seems that Little Simz has spent her whole career on an upward trajectory. Which makes it all the more impressive that her latest singles suggest that she is about to take it to new heights with her fourth album, Sometimes I Might Be Introvert, slated for September release. Lead single, “Introvert” and the follow up “Woman” plead the case for Simz’ greatness much better than I ever could, and both songs are accompanied by videos, each arresting and compelling in their own way. Simz has become a crucial voice in the scene, routinely speaking for the groups she is a part of, as well as telling of her own personal truth and experience. Her 2019 album, Grey Area, was a huge triumph or this same reason, and set the bar extremely high for whatever was to follow. But if ‘King Simbi’ were one to back down from a challenge, she wouldn’t be where she is right now.
Blanco’s sound is 1 of 1. Originating from South London by way of Angola, his rise as part of Harlem Spartans formed the foundation for him to become one of UK Drill’s most notable names. Blanco has cultivated his own sound; inspired by Brazilian Baile Funk, he spent 2020 gliding over tropical beats with a buttery, easy flow that couldn’t be mistaken for anyone else’s. Luckily for those that didn’t catch riddims like “Shippuden”, “Pull Up” or “Anakin” when they dropped, they sound as good now as they did last summer. All the hints at the surplus of music he has lined up, in addition to his latest drops with Darkoo and Central Cee respectively, suggest that Blanco is gearing to drop a project that will allow him to claim summer ‘21 as his own.
2021 is expected to be Kojey Radical’s crowning moment. Updates about his upcoming project have been limited to the odd studio session shared on Instagram live and infrequent posts reassuring fans that the album is coming together nicely. While the lack of noise would be worrying coming from other artists, in this case it’s actually encouraging. Kojey Radical is all about the music. In the 2 years since his last effort, the stellar Cashmere Tears, the world has changed beyond recognition in so many ways, and in addition to that Kojey’s world too as he recently became a first-time father. Cashmere Tears and his music prior was loaded with a brave transparency that gave listeners a view of Kojey’s thoughts, feelings and reflections. Given year or so we’ve all endured, Kojey’s perspective is amongst the most crucial and urgent in the scene.