Discussion: The Biggest Artists from each London Borough
In all genres of music, London has been a global hub for musical talent. The City has seen the birth of some of the biggest names and talent within music, in general, let alone just the UK scene…
There are currently 32 Boroughs in London. With London becoming an expanding capital, it would not be surprising if this number increases over the years. This got us thinking though… Where in the capital city are some of these artists really from? We took a look at each London Borough and which ones were the birthplace for some of the biggest artists in the UK scene…
Barking and Dagenham : Devlin
Raised in Dagenham, Devlin made his rise to the upper echleons of the UK scene in the 2010’s with his debut album Bud, Sweat and Beers.
In his hit “London City”, Devlin quotes his Borough twice…
“15 minutes ago, we left Barking, now we are approaching the City and we’re laughing”
“now I’m pissed up, running in the road, staggering, looking for a cab back to Dagenham to kick back and cotch”
Unfortunately, we could not find any artists that were born/raised in the Borough of Barnet.
From Harlesden in the borough of Brent, Nines signed to XL Recordings in 2016. Following this, he released his debut album One Foot Out in 2017 which achieved a great reception and chart success. One Foot Out was then followed by Crop Circle the following year, again, achieving chart success and favourable reviews.
Camden: Dappy and Ambush
Dappy’s longevity in the UK scene has made him one of the most well known figures in this list. From the early days with N-Dubz with his infamous wooly hat to current day where he is still collaborating and making music as a solo artist. Honourable mention to Ambush Buzzworl who has made an impressive rise since his track “Jumpy” and it’s remix featuring Chip and Skepta.
Croydon: Stormzy, Konan and Hardy Caprio
Stormzy is only 25 and has already had the career of a lifetime and it does not appear he has any plans on stopping. Following the release of his debut EP in 2014, Stormzy has taken the level of his career and musical capabilities up another notch with every year that passes. Stormzy has just headlined the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury festival and he became the first Black UK artist to do so. It must not be forgotten that Konan is also from Croydon and current summer hit maker, Hardy Caprio.
Enfield: Tion Wayne
Born in the North London borough of Enfield, Tion Wayne has had an impressive few years. The release of his Wayne’s World 1 and 2 EP’s in 2014 and 2016 retrospectively, has launched his career to another level in the UK scene. This has been followed by some huge hits, most notably, “I’m On” in the summer of 2017 featuring Kojo Funds. “Home” which was released last summer following Tion’s release from prison. Since then, features on NSG’s huge summer hit “Options” and Russ’s “Keisha and Becky” , have only helped his name. Recently, T Wayne has been hinting and potentially announcing the release of a 3rd Wayne’s World mixtape.
Greenwich: Tinie Tempah
Tinie Tempah had a hugely productive 2010’s/2011’s when the UK scene was in somewhat of a mess. That is no discredit to Tinie Tempah’s work, if anything, it is actually a compliment. The likes of Tinie Tempah kept the scene moving during a period of time that artists were not getting the air time they wanted. “Pass Out” and “Written In The Stars” have been staples of UK music now. Many people forget that Tinie Tempah was also one of the come ups during the Channel U days, particularly with his track, “Hood Econ%mics – Room 147” and “Wifey”.
Hackney: Unknown T, Not3s, B Young, NSG and Asco
From the East London borough of Hackney, Unknown T came to notability following the 2018 release of his track “Homerton B”, paying somewhat of a homage to his birthplace, Homerton. Other notable artists from Hackney are Not3s, B Young, Asco and the collective NSG that all met in Hackney.
Hammersmith and Fulham: Bashy and Angel
Bashy is not really active in the UK scene anymore but you cannot forget that he created the soundtrack of one of the most iconic films in UK music/film history, Adulthood. Another artist that is a bit more active than Bashy but is extremely underrated is R&B talent Angel. Angel has been in the scene for a number of years now and has reached the chart on a couple of occasions with the 2012 track, “Go In, GO Hard” and “Wonderful”.
Haringey: Skepta & JME, Headie One, One Acen, Chip, Abra Cadabra, Avelino, MoStack and Wretch 32
The borough of Haringey has been a huge for musical talent over the years. From Skepta & JME through to Headie One, it is hard to pick the biggest artist from this borough when it is blessed with such ranges of talent. Wretch 32, MoStack, Chip, Abra Cadabra, Avelino and One Acen are just to name a few.
The trap rapper came to prominence after “They Ain’t 100” was released in 2017. Since then, the likes of “Ay Carambra” featuring Young T and Bugsey created a huge wave last summer. Followed by “Funky Friday” with Dave and “BMT” in 2018, Fredo’s name has become cemented as one of the top UK Trap rappers currently in the scene and UK.
Islington: Little Simz
Little Simz is part of the extremely talented crop of female rappers from the UK that includes the likes of Stefflon Don, Ms Banks, Ray Blk and Lady Leshur. The 25 year old has also delved into acting and is due to feature in the new release of Top Boy on Netflix. In regards to music, her debut album A Curious Tale of Trials + Persons was released in 2015 and she received much praise, performing at the Royal Albert Hall in the same year as well. In the following year, she released her Stillness in Wonderland in 2016 which was accompanied by an art exhibition. Simz third studio album Grey Area was released earlier this year to further praise.
Kesington and Chelsea: AJ Tracey and Shakka
AJ Tracey is one of the artists that epitomises the influx of new talented musicians into the scene in recent years. The rapper had a gradual rise that has now seen him regarded as one of the top MC’s around. The rapper has reached over to the American market as well with features from the likes of Jay Critch. This self entitled debut album was released late last year. Shakka must get an honourable mention for his underrated R&B work in the scene. “Say Nada” propelled his name in the ears of many which was then followed by other impressive hits. A winner of two MOBO awards, Shakka’s “Man Down” track from last year featuring AlunaGeorge charted and went certified Gold in the UK.
Kingston upon Thames: None
Lambeth: Krept, Yungen, Sneakbo, Loski, Dave and Blade Brown
Some may be surprised to find out that Krept & Konan did not actually grow up in the same Borough. Krept, born in Gipsy Hill, Lambeth met Konan through a mutual friend. They started to take music more seriously around 2009/2010. The duo have become one of the most successful pairings in the UK Rap scene. Friend of Krept & Konan, Yungen was born in Herne Hill which falls into two different Boroughs with those being Lambeth and Southwark. Sneakbo was born in Brixton released his debut album last year, under the same name. Loski, part of the collective Harlem Spartans that are based in Kennington has reached success through crating himself a solo career. Dave was born in Streatham, which is now widely known through the release of his track that goes under the same name, paying homage to his birthplace. Honourable mentions to Blade Brown as well, who was also born in Streathham.
Lewisham: Ray Blk, DigDat, RussMillions, D Block Europe, P Money, Novelist
DigDat and RussMillions (Russ) have both had rapid rises to the top of the UK Drill scene. DigDat with the release of his hugely popular “Airforce” towards the end of 2018 which gained a remix’ed version from Krept & Konan and K-Trap. RussMillions reached wider audiences through the release of “Gun Lean”, which also gained a remix that included the likes of Lethal Bizzle. Following this, “Keisha and Becky” was dropped, featuring Tion Wayne and also gained a remix including the likes of Jay1 and Aitch. Raised in Catford, Lewisham is female rapper/singer Ray Blk. Ray’s debut EP Havisham was released in 2015 but her second EP, Durt (released the following year) was when her name really took off. The EP featured the track “My Hood” which featured Stormzy. The same year as the release of Durt saw Ray be nominated for a MOBO award. The start of 2017 also saw her become the winner of the BBC’s Sound of 2017. Going from strength to strength, Ray has featured with other artists such as Nines, Stefflon Don and Rudimental.
Ramz reached chart success in late 2017 with his track about linking a girl from Devlin’s home borough…Barking. The distance is long. The rapper has achieved further chart success and acclaim since the “Barking” hit and has recently just released his debut album entitled Blockbuster.
Newham: J Hus, Yxng Bane, Kojo Funds, D Double E, Kano, Ghetts and Steel Banglez
Much like Haringey, Newham has had a vast amount of talent derived from its streets. UK scene legends such as D Double E, Kano and Ghetts were raised from Forest Gate, East Ham and Plaistow respectively. More recent artists such as J Hus, Yxng Bane and Kojo Funds also come from the East London borough.
Richmond upon Thames: None
Southwark: Giggs, Ashley Walters and Yungen
Hollow Man, Giggs or Giggler is arguably the father of UK Rap. “Talkin’ Da Hardest” is a UK anthem and will remain so for years to come. Taking himself away from the iconic 140-BPM Grime scene, to create more UK Rap tracks, the rapper has helped path the way the similar artists. Iconic rapping style with his slow, deep and greazy lyrics which can be highlighted in tracks such as “Look Out” featuring Skepta. In recent years, Giggs has become friends with Drake and the two have created some iconic moments in the scene such as Reading Festival in 2017 and Wireless Festival in 2018. Honourable mention to So Solid Crew member, Ashley Walters. Yungen is also included in Southwark as the rapper was born in Herne Hill which technically falls into Southwark as well as previously mentioned borough, Lambeth.
Tower Hamlets: Wiley and Dizzee Rascal
The Godfather of Grime and one of Grime’s earliest stars hail from Bow, located in the East London borough of Tower Hamlets. Wiley has been hailed as one of the artists/producers that really helped pushed the scene to grow to what it is today. Part of the collectives, Roll Deep and Boy Better Know, Wiley is a great in the scene. Dizzee, along with artists such as Lethal Bizzle and Kano, rose to fame in the early 2000’s with the release of his debut album Boy In Da Corner. The rapper then went onto successfully chart with following albums and arguably made the blueprint for future artists in the scene now. The two have had apparent beef for years now and it still remains unclear.
Waltham Forest: Lethal Bizzle
One of the spearheads of the UK scene, Lethal Bizzle broke down boundaries with the 2004 version of “Pow!”. The track was banned in particular areas ,which is sad to think, seeing as music is still being banned from the UK scene today. Born in Walthamstow, Waltham Forest, the rapper has been one of the most consistent artists in recent years his catchy and punchy tracks, such as “Festy Skank”, as a strong connection with producer, Distorztion has been formed.
Raye moved to Croydon but was actually born in Tooting which is locted in the Borough of Wandsworth. After a couple of EP and single releases, the singer rose to prominence when she featured on “By Your Side” by Jonas Blue and Jax Jone’s “You Don’t Know Me” in 2016. Her solo career took off when, in the following year, she released “Decline” featuring Nigerian artist, Mr Eazi.
You may be asking…Where are some of the artists that aren’t on this list from? Although we did some extensive research, we could only acquire that some artists were just from ‘London’ with no borough being was specified and therefore, unfortunately, could not place them on the list. Also, below, we have added a few names that you may be thinking of…
Nafe Smallz: Nafe is actually from Luton which is situated above London and not part of a London Borough.
Mabel: Although she was raised in this country, R&B and Pop sensation Mabel was born in Spain.
Young T & Bugsey: The duo are from Nottingham
Stefflon Don – The female rapper is from Birmingham