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19 MCs who made a mark on 2015

This lot fuck shit up like David Moyes

  • Words: Chantelle Fiddy and Tomas Fraser | Illustration: Patch Keyes
  • 14 December 2015

We're going to keep the intro to this feature short and sweet.

That's because you know that the UK's hottest lyricists made headlines at the MOBOs, hit the charts and got the co-sign from Kanye at the Brits (not to mention Drake's BBK tattoo) over the last 12 months. We don't need to go into great detail about how grime and UK rap had a fruitful and prosperous year.

But we do need to shout out the MCs and rappers who made the hottest mark on 2015. So here are 19 crucial vocalists – don't sleep!

1 AJ Tracey

One of the best MCs to breakthrough in quite some time. 'Nalia', produced by Zeph Ellis (formerly known as Dot Rotten), forms part of impressive new EP 'Alex Moran', which showcases Tracey's knack for colloquial wordplay, as well as crystal clear, powerful delivery. The pitch to his voice, low and piercing, is also unique and something that sets him apart from those around him. His "Thought I missed the drop but I never!" bar has become a headline all of it's own in 2015. Expect next year to be his. TF

2 Big Zuu

It's not often you meet an MC who reserves as much love and passion for grime, but Big Zuu is one of a kind. Bright and bubbly off the mic, on it he's transformed. His style, all reload-friendly grit and amped-up power, is matched by an abrasive, rasping vocal demeanour - a facet of his 2015 output that has given Zuu the platform to enjoy plenty of shine alongside AJ Tracey and Mic Ty. 'Shelling Dis Year' is our tip. TF

3 Bonkaz

Shooting for the stars with his summer heater, 'We Run The Block', signed to Sony imprint Pitched Up, South Londoner Bonkaz appeared to come out of nowhere. Following up his surprise smash with the 'Forgive Me When I'm Famous' EP and 'You Don't Know', he's got something to prove. CF

4 Bugzy Malone

Well-documented beef with Chip aside, Manchester's Bugzy Malone put his city firmly on the map in 2015. Quick-witted and unshakeably confident, his battle-hardened flow and steely lyricism is best showcased on 'Watch Your Mouth', although his 'Relegation Riddim' war dub runs it a close second. Backed up by viral reactions to his music online - his Fire In The Booth freestyle for BBC 1Xtra has racked up nearly four million views - it's no surprise his debut mixtape 'Walk With Me' peaked at #8 on the Official UK Album Charts, resulting in a well-deserved MOBO nomination for 'Best Newcomer'. TF

5 Capo Lee

Capo Lee is another to have made the capital's airwaves his second home during the course of this year, with his music even finding favour with legendary tastemaker Mary Anne Hobbs. 'Liff', produced by Midlands kingpin Mystry, is his big single - think catchy, rave-slanted vocal hooks ("See a man get Liff!") meet scolding, trapped-out 808s - but he's also just unleashed the brilliantly-titled 'Welcome To Clartsville', a six-track joint EP with Spooky. Hard as nails.

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