This article was originally published on 09/09/2016 @ 09:56 by tomb, republished today for ThrowbackThursday.
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The unprecedented resurgence of grime and UK hiphop in recent years has largely sprung from three large urban centres in England: London, Manchester and Birmingham.
But watch this space. We may be a small city, but the streets of Cardiff are popping off with upcoming talent, and a stronger, more unified hiphop community is being developed. Is the Welsh capital the next scene to blow up?
We’ve put together a list of just some of the crews and emcees spitting fire in the Dragon city, and a round up of the best places to see live hiphop and grime or to get involved with recording, production and promotion.
A r t i s t s
By far the biggest and most established name in the Diff, Astroid Boys may come from humble beginnings in Grassroots, but they played at Reading Festival this summer and have been popping up on tour all over Europe. The mob’s penetrating dub-step beats, slick videos, skater kid vibe and turnt live performances are making some serious waves.
Their 2015 EP, CF10, features epic original production from Dellux and heaps of love for Cardiff.
Diff Spit: “One thing good about being broke / you don’t have to rap about being rich”
“I just hope that Astroid Boys & myself are setting an example for others [in Cardiff] to follow. That’s what Watch and Learn is all about. I’m putting my chin out and saying “come on let’s do this! I’ll jump first!”
Astroid Boy’s Benji Wild is spinning off into solo territory – his debut single, Watch and Learn and recent release, Confidence have whet our appetite for more tracks.
Diff Spit: “I’m the Cardiff representative / The heart of the dragon city”
This young rapper has bags of potential, and with slick and casual flow, he hooks the ear effortlessly. We’re looking forward to more of his social commentary and clever wordplay.
Diff Spit: “New savages drill pneumatics to the depths of the floor / And war criminals stepping up and accepting awards”
CMG pull up with hype tunes, slick videos and bars with authority. Stick this tune on at your next house party…
Diff Spits: “Who said we can’t achieve things with no education?”
One of the most distinctive voices on the Cardiff scene, Ely’s Enbe spits and sings fire over chilled triphop-style beats. He forces the listener to lie back and think; no hype here, his lyrics seek to overcome personal demons and demand meditative attention.
Diff Spit: “This ain’t living, this ain’t life / this is us tryna survive”
Lil Nerves and Zima
Recently releasing this big track produced by the profilic Corey Austin, these young MCs are grimey with a strictly Diff edge. Check out Lil Nerves’ solo mixtape on youtube.
Diff spit: “I used to be in North London / now you’ll catch me in Splott”
Poetic, political and witty, Local is Cardiff’s answer to Mike Skinner. I’d love to hear another full release to follow the promising Council Pop EP. Check him taking on Dorris from Manchester at Lord of the Mics – I think we know who comes out on top.
Diff Spit: “I’m a Welsh boy like Gareth / but I got too many friends on bail / (went Greece and I came home pale)”
Flow that comes hard and fast, Mace is at his best when in grime and garage mode. Recent mixtape, Grown was followed by this video for the single It’s Mad – featuring a bluebirds shirt and a verse from Astroid Boys’ Traxx.
Diff Spit: “I rep Cardiff inside-out”
Noah (feat G.M.R, Dion El and The Forgotten)
‘Capital’ is the ode to Cardiff we have all been waiting for. Bigging up the scene’s biggest names and asking for an end to postcode beef and gangster fronting, the video even features Benny’s Chicken on City Rd. Perfect!
Diff Spit: “We don’t tend to have gangs down here / We’ve got Ninjas playing bins round here”
Sonny Double 1
Hailing from Grangetown, Sonny Double 1 features on Link Up TV have helped raise his online profile: we’re looking forward to the promised CITY ON MY $IDE EP to hear where he takes his sound next.
Diff Spit: “I run the street just like Farah does”
G e t s p i t t i n g
Breakin’ the Bay
An annual celebration of all things hiphop in Cardiff, offering space for young emcees, dancers and graffiti artists to use the Millennium Centre.
Grassroots on Charles Street offers rehearsal space, a recording studio and lyric writing support and workshops. Some of the young emcees using the studio include Jai Capone, Lil T, GMR, Saw, and MC Wheelz.
Ministry of Life
Ministry of Life run musical workshops, youth clubs and events for young people in Cardiff: check out their Facebook.
The Hold Up
Something missing from the run down? Drop us a comment below!
(Cover Image Credit: Walt Jabsco , Flickr)
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