Rap  •  International Rap

British Rap

Although it is rarely heard outside of the U.K. and Europe, British Rap has its own traditions and is a style onto itself. Though it doesn't have quite the heritage of American hip-hop, many British rappers grew up within the fertile Caribbean ragga tradition and introduced patois into hip-hop styles. British rap began in the late '80s, and it used the sonic collage of Public Enemy as a launching pad. Soon, many U.K. rappers were adding acid-house flourishes to their sound, resulting in a music style that was darker than its American counterpart. There were poor facsimiles of American rappers, but the best British hip-hop fell into three different camps. There were groups like the Prodigy, which fused hip-hop with rave. There were groups like Leftfield that went for a dance-club style of hip-hop. And there was Massive Attack, who slowed hip-hop beats down and added acid-jazz textures, resulting in trip-hop. By the end of the '90s, a generation of rap fans had assumed control of the scene, resulting in excellent work from the Herbaliser, Roots Manuva, New Flesh, and many others.