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Songs of 2021 – 9 Songs That Shaped The Year

Meme of Spongebob character Squidward reading Arrdee’s lyrics.
Meme of Spongebob character Squidward reading Arrdee’s lyrics.

Songs of 2021

2021 overall wasn’t a very miraculous year in terms of new music in UK hip hop and culture. It saw the return of concerts and (with some restrictions) we said bye-bye to social distancing. Some of the artists who incubated during the lockdown were able to perform their hits to a live audience and have their lyrics recited right back to them. A beautiful sight to see and somewhat of a baton passing over as we moved to the next evolution of music streaming.

In 2021 Tik Tok took over, resulting in more artists tailoring (and some pandering) to be viral on the short-form, video-sharing app.  Instagram even reformatted its platform to incorporate  the ‘Reels’ feature to rival Tik Tok with varying success.

Despite all the turbulence, there were some iconic, historic songs of 2021 that shaped the year and paved the path for what 2022 will look like. Here are 9 Songs that shaped Black Music in the United Kingdom in 2021.

Honourable mention

Wewantwraiths – Know you

Wewantwraiths is a masked rapper you would have been forgiven for not knowing at the start of 2021 but after his single ‘Know you’ went super viral on Tik Tok and amassed over 7million views on a fresh YouTube channel he launched into the mainstream and pretty much skipped the “Ones to watch” list! His verse on ‘Money calling’ with Da Beatfreakzand Raye was underrated! This song is iconic as it was one of the few to organically stick with the “Tik Tokkers”.

9. Dave – Verdansk

Santan has been labelled the golden child since his emergence in the scene back in 2015. His single ‘Verdansk’ inspired by the Call of Duty video game series teased his sophomore album and sparked several artists to experiment on the beat triggering fantasies of various remixes.

 

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8. Giggs X Meek Mill – North Side South Side

Giggs was rumoured to be in the studio with Meek Mill after being touted as one of a few UK rappers to be truly transatlantic. A few years ago, Giggs featured on ‘KMT’ on Drake’s ‘More Life’ playlist and has kept friends in high places since. ‘North Side South Side’ is more than just the embodiment of a fruitful studio session but the latest step in a truly cross border relationship putting the UK scene firmly in the faces of the biggest music industry in the world.

7. Potter Payper – Gangsteritis

In 2020 Potter Payper secured his first top 5 charting albumwith ‘Training Day 3’ flying the flag for “real rap” in a drill dominant era. He claims he can out rap anyone anywhere and is the “Adele of UK Rap”. His performance of ‘Gangsteritis’ at the MOBOs was a climactic moment for an artist who touched the roads bang in the middle of a pandemic. One of the best songs of 2021.

 

 

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6. K Trap – Warm

Yung Filly said it best when he said “I think it’s one of the greatest songs to come out this country”. The K – Trap renaissance in 2021 deserves a movie. The fans wanted “Wass” and El Trappo definitely delivered. The rebirth of K Trap as a masked rapper particularly embodied in ‘Trapo’ the album, K-Trap ‘Warm’ was one of the songs of 2021.

5. Skepta, Rema and Jae5 – Dimension

Dimension was a lockdown love child assumably conceptualised during a song clash between Jae 5 & Skepta (Skepta won). The somewhat cultist themed video features Africans all in red and emerging from waters brought the diaspora back home for a track that will be looked at as a classic to rival ‘Energy (Stay Far Away)’.

4. Dave & Stormzy – Clash

No surprise to see Santandave feature on this list again. “Jordan 4s or Jordan 1s” at a time when Fredo announced a multimillion pound collaboration with Kick Game and amidst a supposed clash and obvious feud between Chip & Stormzy. ‘Clash’ created one of the most repeated lyrics of the year. “Don’t die for Nyashh”.

 

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3. Central Cee – Commitment issues

Like Potter Payper, Central Cee’s come up was during the lockdown and for a long time some of his most viewed songs had never been performed to a live audience. That all changed in 2021. Cench had already established himself as a hot new artist in the UK but his single Commitment issues crossed the borders due to TikTok trends and his distinctive flow over drill beats but not necessarily talking about killings and violence caught on and boosted his profile to global star to the point where most of his streams come from outside his home nation. Central Cee’s performance at Wireless was watershed moment for the twenty somethings who realised there is a new generation of music enthusiasts, and they go hard for Cench.

2. Tion Wayne, Russ Millions & Arrdee – Body remix

In terms of a song that launched someone’s career “Body oddy oddy” took Arrdee from countryside rapper to nationwide hottest property! It also brought Adeola Patronne (and every Adeola in UK) back to the top echelons of influencer life probably as she was considering making a drill song or creating some sort of scandal (I’m joking, relax). Body was one of the first songs to be deliberately targeted at TikTok with a fantastic transition which can easily recreated by Tik Tok users and due to this smart marketing strategy ‘Body’ will forever be in the records as the first UK Drill number 1. The song transcends through various cultures and now I too want to roll with the geezers.

 

1. Fireboydml ft Ed Sheeran – Peru

Arguably the biggest song of the year. Peru has been going viral and even more viral throughout 2021 for different reasons ending with a Christmas Remix featuring Ed Sheeran speaking Pidgeon English! The song goes off in clubs, memeable, and particularly relevant to those who were lucky enough to experience this unique time in human history. When considered on their own, the chorus to the song might not offer any philosophical or deep meaning or pop culture references. But when it comes to vibe delivery and replay value, it’s a golden egg.

 

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