Tuesday 10 June 2014

XXL: The New New: 15 European Rappers You Should Know

By Joseph 'JP' Patterson

The United Kingdom is known for birthing a few world-renowned spitters, namely Dizzee Rascal and M.I.A. But who outside the borders of North America has the potential to follow in their hit-making footsteps? For our latest New New column, we take a trip overseas to Europe to find out who is bubbling up and rockin’ the mic right on the European continent.

XXL searched the streets of London, Sweden, Germany and France to find out more about some of the up-and-coming spitters lighting Europe on fire. Click through our guide to the hip-hop newbies from across the pond who you need to know now. This is the New New.


Hometown: London, England
Twitter: @TheRealDVS
Notable Song: 'Hometown'
Sounds Like: The soundtrack of the British hoods (it’s not all tea and crumpets!).

Why You Need To Know Him: In Brixton, South London, dwells one of the UK "road rap" team’s strongest players. Armed with a polysyllabic rhyming pattern, DVS is mostly flashy and boastful with it ('Life Of A Real G'), but can also switch it up and give you visceral thoughts on everything from religion ('Back In Jahiliyat') to relationships ('Black Waterfalls') when he’s ready. His fans are die-hard, too, which was further proven when London Boy American Dreaming—the rapper’s third tape and first for-sale project—landed at No. 1 on the iTunes Hip-Hop Chart upon its release in January. Even when there’s been gaps as long as four years between mixtape releases (One In A Million dropped in 2007, One In A Billion in 2011), at the drop of one three-minute freestyle, DVS can have the scene in the palm of his hands all over again.

Piff Gang

Hometown: London, England
Twitter: @PiffGangUK
Notable Song: 'Bow Down'
Sounds Like: A$AP Mob grew up in London's "ends."

Why You Need To Know Them: London Posse, who parted ways nearly two decades ago, is no longer the only UK hip-hop collective to make noise outside of their London postcode; in 2011, the blogosphere was introduced to a ten-man-strong crew from north-west London, whose Brit-rooted "cloud rap" came through strong and filled that gap in the market. With five free buzzworthy mixtapes floating around the 'net, Piff Gang's fervent penchant for women, drugs ("piff" being a slang term for that God-made green smoke), and hazy, trippy beats has led to them performing alongside A$AP Rocky – who, at this point, is pretty much a P.G stan – and entering the pages of high-profile music and style publications. Up next? Global domination.

Little Simz

Hometown: London, England
Twitter: @LittleSimz
Notable Song: 'Mandarin Oranges Part 2'
Sounds Like: Smart rhymes from a young lady determined to defy convention and pre-conceptions.

Why You Need To Know Her: Jay-Z's Life + Times dig her, BBC Radio 1's Zane Lowe spins her, and legendary record exec Sylvia Rhone may one day sign her: Little Simz is that new rap chick everyone wants to know. Last year, this 19-year-old conscious mind with a flawless flow released her Blank Canvas mixtape to rave reviews; it put her on-stage at SXSW and landed her in studios with the likes of Dizzee Rascal, Kelela, and Pro Era's Chuck Strangers, too. On June 16, Simz is dropping a new EP titled E.D.G.E, which will no doubt see her keep winning.

Yung Lean

Hometown: Stockholm, Sweden
Twitter: @YungLeann
Notable Song: 'Ginseng Strip 2002'
Sounds Like: Lil B’s white, Swedish nephew, or the closest you could get to the definition of "sad rap."

Why You Need To Know Him: It’s unclear if he’s a rap prankster or not, but teenager Yung Lean is being consumed by an abundance of online gas right now. The youngster from Stockholm, Sweden, has accumulated millions of views on YouTube for his Lil B-like head-space and camera phone-shot visuals. And where most outspoken, English-rhyming white rappers enter the game with an Eminem comparison attached to their names, RiFF RAFF is probably more fitting where Yung Lean is concerned. Kid’s clearly got something going on, though.

More picks from Hyperfrank, James Walsh and Tobi Oki at XXL: H E R E