These are the most exciting UK grime and rap producers right now

In the UK grime scene, the spotlight has usually shone on MCs. Instrumentals have long remained a niche point of interest, a topic for more invested fans. We think that should change. With grime exploding in popularity, Tara Joshi asks, who are the producers shaping the sound right now?
September 30, 2019

Who are the producers shaping the sounds of UK rap and grime right now? 2019 seems as good a time as any to be considering this. Grime began as a composite of other, early ’00s black music scenes in Britain, and has since infiltrated and catalysed a whole bunch of other contemporary sounds. What we’re seeing right now in the UK — with rap, the garage revival, drill, and Afroswing — is inarguably thanks to grime’s success, and means that there are people producing across some, if not all, of these sounds.

Rising producer Conducta, best known for his UKG beat on AJ Tracey’s ‘Ladbroke Grove’, told Complex that he started out making grime and dubstep. Even if his current sound focuses on garage, he certainly still draws from these genres. Producers like Preditah rose up through his grime beats after winning the co-sign of Boy Better Know, but his palette has lately moved to more expansive sounds, channeling garage and even UK funky.

Grime has pushed boundaries and, to a degree, has been commodified. Whether you like it or not, one of the biggest pop stars in the world put out a “grime” track with Stormzy, Aitch, and Jaykae this year, with a Sir Spyro remix. Kano may have put out one of the grime albums of the year, ‘Hoodies All Summer’, but the album’s producers, Blue May and Jodi Milliner, come from pop backgrounds rather than grime’s DIY roots.

It’s worth noting that grime has pushed other black British sounds globally. Japan and Australia both have homegrown grime scenes. There’s a growing American audience for UK rap, which has led to some UK beat-makers working with North American artists: EY, a go-to producer for Stormzy and Krept and Konan, has found success working with Meek Mill, Swae Lee, and Drake.

All of this is to say, what it means to be a “grime producer” in the UK in 2019 is becoming porous, hard to define. It feels right to celebrate those making grime (and grime-adjacent) beats, beyond familiar names like Sir Spyro, Prince Rapid, Footsie, and Teddy Music, and even younger artists like Faze Miyake and Flava D. Many of the names on this list operate in spheres beyond grime, but that’s almost the point — a grime producer in 2019 is almost certainly also a broader rap producer, and probably capable of being a pop producer, too.

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