Allow us to introduce you to some of the UK's most cutting-edge and trailblazing rappers.
Photo: Brother May, courtesy of artist

Discover the UK’s Hidden Rap Gems

After shedding light on the subterranean rap sounds of America’s south, midwest, and east and west coasts, today we take a leap across the pond to wade through the waters of UK rap.

It’s easy to get caught up in the familiar names dominating the UK rap scene, like Little Simz, Slowthai, and Loyle Carner. While these three definitely deserve their props, there’s also a wealth of untapped talent hiding just beneath the surface, with innovative UK rappers redefining the genre and ignoring pop conformity.

Allow us to introduce you to some of the UK’s most cutting-edge and trailblazing rappers, ready to invigorate your playlists and challenge the status quo. These exceptional artists are reinventing the game and bringing a unique twist to the UK rap landscape.


Birmingham-based rapper Sonnjim isn’t just good with words – he’s an artist who takes control of every aspect of his music. His sonic signatures can be traced in the beats he crafts himself, and in recent collaborations with celebrated beat architects like The Purist and the great Buckwild.

Among Sonnyjim’s offerings, tracks like “24 Karat” stand as an exhibition of his capacity to land punchlines that stick. They linger and marinade, only growing more memorable with each listen.

John Glacier

John Glacier’s cryptic narratives and deviant flows reside way left of center, solidifying her position as a true innovator in a genre bursting with replicated formulas. Her hypnotic voice threads through left-field beats in a captivating style that breadcrumbs listeners into an aurally rewarding journey.

John Glacier has been a fixture in London’s underground scene since her 2021 debut, SHILOH: Lost For Words, an album that traverses through diverse sub-genres to forge a blend of hip-hop with electronic undertones. Among her collaborators, emergent producer Vegyn creates a unique auditory landscape for Glacier to deftly navigate with finesse.

Brother May

London rapper Brother May slices through the fog of the UK rap scene, his voice a beacon over stripped-down beats. Each line is a deep dive into his insular universe, revealing a critique of the highs and lows of existence wrapped up in a dope flow.

In his audaciously conceived 2023 album, Pattern With Force, Brother May unveils his prowess for forging vivid images that sear themselves into your imagination. A masterstroke of detail-oriented poetics, Brother May draws you into an ever-shifting world where language is wielded as both an instrument of expression and a dynamic art.


CLBRKS marches to his own drum, pairing his candid outlook on life with textured, head-nodding beats. With rhythm pulsating through his lifeblood, he takes us on a trek through beats that bob and weave. Among UK rappers, he’s definitely unafraid to step out of the box — his music is full of surprises, his songs are well written, and he has the ability to take seemingly mundane topics and turn them into something interesting, doing so with an uncanny ability to cut through bullshit.

Projects like the Morriarchi-produced Microwave Cooking 2000 prove CLBRKS isn’t afraid to be different, but he doesn’t do it just for the sake of being different.

Onoe Caponoe

With his surreal yet enchanting style, Onoe Caponoe brings a level of peculiar dynamism to the UK’s underground rap scene. He marries eerie soundscapes with oddball lyricism, creating a futuristic take on UK rap that feels like falling down a rabbit hole into a kaleidoscopic sonic universe. In a way, Caponoe is like a British version of Lord Byron or Fatboi Sharif; he’s an anomaly among UK rappers, an artist who thrives on the juxtaposition between dark and light-hearted lyrics, creating an atmosphere that’s both playful and menacing.

Lord Apex

Raw, introspective, and a force to be reckoned with, Lord Apex keeps pushing boundaries while delivering grade-A bars. With his smoky beats an soulful lyrics, he’s a relentless force, a visionary whose tracks resonate with listeners looking for something raw and real.

With production from up-and-coming beatmakers like Drae Da Skimask and Bushi Vibes, Lord Apex has honed his craft to become one of the best UK rappers around while continuing to release quality projects. And he’s got an impressive catalogue of music with enough variety to keep listeners on their toes.

Jevon Ives & Mushkilla

As a duo, UK rappers Jevon Ives & Mushkilla conjure up a heady mix of hip-hop and lo-fi vibes, effortlessly melding genres to cultivate a sound that’s all their own.

On their 2022 debut Dillinger EP (fully produced by Jevon), the duo blend soulful undertones with quick-witted rhymes that come across as a dynamic conversation between two friends. Jevon’s woozy beats pair so perfectly with both of their flows it’s hard to believe this is their first album together.


Nottingham rapper Juga-Naut transports you to a world of timeless, golden-era beats and dope rhymes. Among UK rappers, he’s a double threat — his commanding voice draws you in with an almost hypnotic ease and he’s also nice behind the boards, crafting smooth beats that perfectly compliment his flow.

Juga-Naut’s 2022 album, Time & Place, is a masterclass in storytelling and the kind of record you can listen to from beginning to end without skipping a track.

D’Lyfa Reilly

Manchester’s own D’Lyfa Reilly boasts a calm and composed delivery with an artistic blend of melodies and meaningful lyrics rarely seen among UK rappers. Blending jazz and soul into his music, D’Lyfa Reilly’s sound is relaxed and emotionally resonant, as revealed in albums like Time & Tide.


Blending nostalgic beats with contemporary rap flair, Jehst’s music transcends time. With his rapid-fire flow and intricate references, Jehst is a standout among UK rappers. He blurs the line between yesterday and today, creating an enticing mix packed with nostalgia and a refreshing take on modern UK rap.

For further proof, check out his 2023 album Mork Calling Orson, an all-around dope project featuring production from SonnyJim and Jehst himself.

Children Of Zeus

Children Of Zeus offer listeners a soulful blend of UK hip-hop and neo-soul. Their 2021 project, Balance, is a testament to Children of Zeus’s well-rounded musical abilities, a lush tapestry of sound that takes you on a journey through many moods and emotions. One listen and you can tell these UK rappers have invested heart, time and thought into every single track.


With defiant energy, UK rappers Kemastry, Wundrop & Vitamin G form the Brighton-based trio CMPND. Together, the three strike a chord through raw lyrics and unabashed narratives. Their jagged wordplay pierces through heady soundscapes, drawing you into their world of rugged rhymes. CMPND are a refreshingly different addition to UK rap who deserve to be heard.