The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

The UK rap scene deserves more respect

Jack Harlow opens the door to the UK Rap scene
UK rapper Dave performs his first studio album Psychodrama. The album won the 2020 BRITs awards for best album of the year.
Photo courtesy Printerval
UK rapper Dave performs his first studio album “Psychodrama.” The album won the 2020 BRITs awards for best album of the year.

The age-old question many Americans argue with their peers about is the top ten rappers of all time. While there are the obvious choices like The Notorious B.I.G., Tupac and Nas, the waters get muddy when they reach recent rappers like Drake, Kendrick Lamar or Travis Scott. It isn’t often that international artists, specifically UK rappers, get thrown into the mix, and it’s about time we respect their names.

American rapper Jack Harlow released a single with UK rapper Santan Dave, directed by Cole Bennett, “Stop Giving Me Advice.” The song featured two verses from Harlow and one from Dave. With the main message being “Stop giving me advice.” They were both rapping with grit, trying to enforce their point and both delivered it well.

Dave is a UK rap scene veteran on par with American greats Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole. However, most don’t know about him only because he’s in the UK.

Dave uses this collaboration to establish that he’s been in the game and can compete with American rappers. He proves this with lyrics such as “The woman that you idolize could never play wife to me when you’ve done as many flights as me, long nights as me, took as many left turns to make right as me, I’m in the middle of a veil like a bride-to-be.”

While a few UK rappers like Central Cee have a large platform on TikTok, others are often overlooked simply because as Americans, we only know or pay attention to American rappers. Even when Dave and Central Cee dropped their EP “Split Decision” in June of 2023, it still hadn’t reached American charts despite Central Cee’s massive following.

Dave best explains the disconnect between American and British rappers when he raps in his song “Drama” off of his first studio album, “Psychodrama”, “Anybody rich my age is American, kicking ball or inherited.”

However, Dave’s talent cannot be overlooked anymore. His high ability in musical composition is present in songs such as “Screwface Capital” during the marimba solo at the end and even in songs such as “Dave’s Flow” by UK rapper Fredo, which Dave produced. He’s more than just a one-trick pony or a one-hit wonder, producing for other artists and has had hits like “Location” featuring Burna Boy. Dave can produce emotional songs such as “Lesley” or “Heart Attack,” but also trap songs like “Verdansk” and “Clash.” Despite performing at the BRIT’s and Mercury Prize 2019 and having a song with Drake, “Wanna Know,” he still hasn’t found his way into American audiences.

His lyrical wizardry can be compared to that of Lamar or J.Cole which is especially shown when he raps back to back with Central Cee, “I never tucked my shirt in school, so why would I grow up and tuck my chain?”

Dave isn’t the only UK artist being left out of comparisons. Avelino, AJ Tracey, Fredo, Aitch, French the Kid, J Hus and Little Simz are just a few to name.

Right now, Little Simz is a female rapper from the UK and arguably better than most male rappers in the game. She’s won and performed at the BRITs and the Mercury Prize 2022. Simz secured her spot at the round table with her polarizing songs “Venom” and “Woman,” portraying her wordplay despite being very different songs. She’s worked her way into being regarded as one of the best UK rappers, regardless of gender. She deserves to be in the same conversation as Nicki Minaj or Kendrick Lamar.

She’s been featured in NPR’s Tiny Desk, released six albums and EPs and has several songs featured in the UK drama “Top Boy.” All of Simz’s songs are introspective in one way or another, no lyric has been thrown in for just the sake of it. That is something missing in American rap.

While we shouldn’t forget about the rap greats and every person is entitled to their own opinion, it’s important to include a more international mix in our playlists and keep an open mind otherwise we won’t know what we’re missing out on. We generally praise American rappers for much less, considering mumble rap is regarded as a real microgenre.

Since the release of “Stop Givin’ Me Advice,” I hope listeners of Jack Harlow will become listeners of Dave and in turn, listeners of UK hip-hop.

2
0
Leave a Comment
Donate to The Pitch
$775
$1000
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Walter Johnson High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Rhea Noumair, Print Opinion Editor and Illustrator
Junior Rhea Noumair is in her third year of Pitch and is the Print Opinion Editor and Illustrator. She enjoys playing and watching soccer, painting and listening to music in her free time.
Donate to The Pitch
$775
$1000
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Pitch Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *