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News April 16, 2021

How music streaming drove Rap & Hip Hop’s sixfold growth [report]

How music streaming drove Rap & Hip Hop’s sixfold growth [report]

The rise of streaming during the pandemic last year was a boon for the Rap & Hip Hop genre.

A report from the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) –  which represents indie and major record labels – said the genre now accounts for well over a fifth of all UK singles consumption.

The change signals a remarkable six-fold increase since 1999.

The report, from BPI’s forthcoming All About The Music 2021, said titles classified as Rap & Hip Hop accounted for over 22% of all UK singles consumption in 2020, including streamed tracks.

The figures represent all-time peaks, thanks in part to the huge success of breakthrough British artists such as Headie One who has a brace of BRITs 2021 nominations, Northwest London’s Nines who got a jail sentence for marijuana possession, and YouTube personality and boxer KSI as well as more established international stars, according to the report.

Rap and Hip Hop’s market share is now over six times greater than at the start of the millennium. At that time, the genre’s singles had a 3.6% share and a lowly 2% of the albums market.

”In the 90s, when I started working as a young Hip hop fan and TV presenter, I was told that Rap and Hip Hop would be a fleeting genre not to be taken seriously, especially the UK sound,” said multimedia broadcaster Jasmine Dotiwala.

“Now it’s woven into the fabric of mainstream Pop culture – the power of Hip-hop and the influence of UK talent can be seen at every turn.

“Many of us have been privileged to have been allowed a seat at the table of Rap & Hip-hop culture by the Black community – the culture has given many people across various classes, ethnicities, locations and generations a career and chance to champion the music we love.

“To see how successful British Rap voices across cultures are soaring with success is something we always knew was possible, we just needed the internet and streaming services to galvanise the British Rap and Hip Hop movements’ DIY ethos.”

Seven of the 21 #1 singles in 2020 were classified as Rap/ Hip Hop, including those by Stormzy, Eminem and Cardi B.

British talent accounted for over a third (33.6%) of all the Rap/ Hip hop singles consumption in 2020, with songs by breakthrough artists such as Manchester’s Aitch, Tion Wayne who was discovered after uploading on YouTube, Dutchavelli who took the stage name after his family lived in Holland for a time, and DigDat (Darren Diggs) among those making the Top 10.

Women made waves in 2020, including Cardi B, Megan Thee Stallion and Doja Cat.

British female rappers making their presence known and tipped for a big 2021 included Bree Runway who grew up on a rough London street called Murder Mile and Flohio who raps about south London to where her pilot father brought his family from Nigeria.

Joseph ‘JP’ Patterson, founder of TRENCH Magazine said the Grime resurgence in 2014 from the work that Skepta, Novelist and AJ Tracey was responsible for Rap & Hip Hop’s current position.

“From the days when Grime and UK Rap was an afterthought in mainstream spaces, to now being a driving force in the UK’s musical landscape — it just goes to show that with great music and an even greater work ethic, the sky really is the limit.

“Dave, Stormzy, Ghetts, J Hus et al — some of our finest lyricists — are getting their flowers at the best point of their careers, and they deserve every last bit of it.”

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