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Best Grime And UK Rap Tracks: 2020

Once, rapping in a British accent was a novelty. Today, UK MCs are the envy of the world. Grime has broken through into the mainstream, even as its biggest stars stay true to the clash culture that spawned it. The potent but controversial drill scene is racking up serious YouTube numbers. And an injection of Afrobeats flavour has led to fertile rap subgenres like Afrobashment and Afro-swing.

You'll find all of the above in the playlist below. Click here to follow it on Spotify, then scroll down for videos of 10 of the best grime and UK rap tunes of the year to date.

Pa Salieu – Betty

One of two brand new tracks from Coventry newcomer Pa Salieu demonstrates why he's being spoken of like UK rap's young star in waiting. Salieu's cooly assured delivery floats over an ambient-tinged instrumental sampling '80s cult outsider David Sylvian; we can't wait to see what he's got up his sleeve next.

NSG – Grandad

The highlight of NSG's new mixtape Roots gets a must-watch video, complete with shopmobility scooters, dance moves on a golf course, and a cameo from rap pensioners Pete and Bas.

Trillary Banks – Drillary

Trillary's showing her versatility, the Leicester-bred artist jumping on a beat by drill producers Zenith & Chris Rich and firing off some of her hardest lyrics to date: "It's about to be a carnage/Everybody is a target". She handles a snake like a pro, too.

Jme ft Skepta – Nang

Jme's album Grime MC had a CD-only, no digital release last year – but it's finally finding its way online in the form of a number of typically high concept videos.

AJ Tracey ft MoStack – Dinner Guest

AJ and MoStack spin a sample from '90s dance hit Push The Feeling On by Nightcrawlers into an addictive UK rap bomb packed with slyly funny lines.

Octavian ft Take A Daytrip, Obonjayar, Santi – Poison

The new drop from Octavian marks a return to the laid-back, melodic style of his breakout hit Party Here. It's produced by Take A Daytrip, and is a celebration of Octavian's African heritage – inspired by a recent trip to Nigeria.

Br3nya – Plenty

"So we were meant to shoot a mad ting for this," writes Br3nya. "But since we can’t leave our homes at the moment we decided to get creative!" Cue brilliant DIY video shot in her West London home.

Hardy Caprio ft SL – XYZ

"I want to encapsulate my whole personality in my music," Hardio Caprio told Red Bull last year. It's all on show on XYZ, Hardy pulling out some of his cheekiest bars over a snappy UKG-flavoured production.

Headie One x Fred again – GANG

Headie One's new mixtape GANG, written with producer Fred again, is a bold step forward, transmuting his drill flows into something melancholic and atmospheric.

Aitch – MICE

We all know Aitch is cold. And he sure looks it in this video, roaming round some snowy Swiss peaks in his North Face jacket, dwelling on his quick-fire success and dropping some of his best bars to date.

Listen to a mix of the best new UK rap tracks from iLL BLU on Red Bull Radio in the player below.

Watch what happened when Brazil's best grime MCs came face to face with the best of the UK scene.

UK x Brazil grime cypher

Like Red Bull Music on Facebook and follow us on Twitter at @RedBullUK


Everyone works differently—some people can’t get anything done unless it’s quiet, while others prefer the white noise of a coffee shop or busy office. Plenty of us are music folk—be it to drown out unwelcome noise or just to give us a little something to groove to through a long afternoon. So we’ve collected some of the best playlists on Spotify to listen to at work or while you study.

Classical Essentials

You knew this was coming. Mozart won’t actually make you smarter (not in any significant way, at least), but classical music is complex enough to be interesting while usually quiet enough that it doesn’t pull focus away from your work.

Film & TV Favorites

I actually like this playlist better than its classical cousin—maybe because I know more of the songs. Movie scores are often relatively nonintrusive but always entertaining. Think of it as the common man’s classical.

Binaural Beats: Focus

Full disclosure: I don’t care for brainwave entrainment (binaural beats or its buddy, isochronic tones). I’m so used to music that I find it distracting since there’s no musical pattern. But some people out there swear that brainwave entrainment has changed their work habits. So give it a shot, see if you like it!


If you dig a groovy bassline and more than a touch of Americana, then “Swagger” is definitely for you. Steady rhythms are great for focus—deviation from the beat you expect can be majorly distracting, and while the songs on this list are relatively straightforward, they’re pretty dang good.

Instrumental Pop Covers

If a song holds up when you strip it down to a simple piano or acoustic guitar solo, it’s probably an awesome song. This playlist takes all the hits and brings them down to something more relaxing than when you pump up the jams in your car.

Video Game Masterpieces

Okay, hear me out. Video game music is actually designed to make you focus—that’s how they keep you playing. It’s not all chip-tune stuff anymore, either (the beep-boop music you associate with games from the olden times)—think more along the lines of grand, sweeping scores. And maybe some chip-tune.

80s Smash Hits

I mean … duh, right? Nothing pumps you up quite like '80s pop tunes. If Whitney Houston and Wham! don't perk you up enough to get you through a grueling data-entry session, then I have no idea how to help you.

Low-Fi Beats

If you’re looking for something a little chiller, but by no means lacking in style, check out these hip-hop-inspired tracks. They’re perfect for bobbing along to, and by and large lack any vocal parts you might find distracting.

Brain Food

Another chill playlist, though this one leans more towards the electronica side of things. I personally can’t get enough synths and drum machines, so these instrumentals are my go-to when I need to get stuff done ASAP.

Feel Good Friday

Exactly what it says on the tin—all your favorite jams in one spot, from the new stuff to the throwbacks. Try not to sing your way through your Friday afternoon.


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The Best Spotify Playlists to Use as Background Music

With more than 3 billion playlists, it's safe to say that Spotify has a playlist for every occasion. So, of course, there are quite a few full of background music.

So, if you’re looking for music to play in the background at a social gathering, or music to help you study or work, then Spotify has your covered.

To help you sort the wheat from the chaff, we've found the best Spotify playlists to use as background music.

1. The Ultimate Background Music Playlist

The Ultimate Background Music Playlist lives up to its name. It’s a playlist of nearly 250 songs, with over 14 hours of play time. The songs are soft and instrumental, created using soothing instruments like guitar, piano, and violin.

It’s the perfect set-it-and-forget-it playlist suitable as background music for an office, home, or social gathering.

2. Lo-Fi Hip-Hop Playlist by Chilledcow

Chilledcow became popular with its 24-hour livestream of lo-fi hip-hop songs. Using this playlist, you can get a similar experience, but without the need to open YouTube.

This playlist is definitely more lo-fi beats than hip-hop but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s a great playlist for working. The beats are quite consistent and the songs provide a bit of the variety which you will appreciate while you're trying to be productive.

3. Japanese Lo-Fi Hip-Hop

This is one of those delightful discoveries that the internet is now famous for. You wouldn’t think that Japanese, lo-fi, and hip-hop would go together. But it does, and how.

This playlist of 30 tracks will get your feet moving with the beats, but will still help you keep your focus on what you’re doing. If you like listening to game soundtracks, you should enjoy this playlist.

4. Pure Mellow Jazz

Jazz music is a good fit for work and study. But sometimes, jazz can go a bit over the top, and end up distracting you from the job at hand. This is where the Pure Mellow Jazz playlist comes in.

As the name suggests, mellowness in the music is a priority here. You’ll be able to enjoy the signature sounds of sweet jazz---piano, sax and drums---all while focusing on your work.

5. Lo-Fi Beats

Spotify’s own Lo-Fi Beats playlist is quite good. It’s a 99-song playlist that is designed to help you relax and focus. If you’re new to the lo-fi genre, this playlist is a good place to start.

The songs featured here have all the hallmark traits of a lo-fi song. The quality of production is lower than a mainstream song so you can hear the imperfections in the songs. As this is digitally generated music, you’ll find it similar to electronic and house music.

6. Instrumental Pop Covers

If you’re a fan of instrumental music and pop songs, you’ll enjoy this playlist. It has a huge collection of instrumental covers of popular pop songs. So there are songs you’re probably familiar with, but presented in an unfamiliar style.

7. Instrumental Study

If you find the instrumental pop songs distracting, try this Instrumental Study playlist from Spotify. It has a collection of smooth and mellow instrumental tracks designed to help you focus on the task at hand, whether it’s studying, writing, or working.

8. Deep House Relaxing Study Music

The Grand Sound makes some of the best mixtapes on YouTube, and this Spotify playlist is no exception. It’s a constantly updated list of 100 deep house songs that will help you focus and work.

Deep house is a subgenre of house music. If you’re new to electronic music, it can seem like all music is trance music. But there’s a huge variety there. Deep house is not your everyday DJ music. It is mellower, has lyrics, and there are no huge beat drops.

Oddly enough, this makes deep house the perfect music for both relaxation and concentration. You can play it at work or to relax when you finish for the day. For most people, deep house music can be a reliable and inspiring writing partner.

9. Classical Essentials

If you’re a fan of classical music, use this playlist as your background music when working or studying. The playlist features artists like Beethoven, Philip Glass, Charles Ives, and more.

10. Piano in the Background

Sometimes simplicity is all you need. This playlist is all about mellow piano tracks. Nothing fancy or over the top, just relaxing piano music that lasts for hours on end.

11. The Chillhop Cafe Playlist

This playlist of chill instrumental hip-hop beats merges classic jazz and instrumental sounds with modern electronic music. It’s designed to be played in cafes but it works great as background music for working and studying as well.

12. Ambient Relaxation

As the name suggests, this playlist is filled with ambient sounds. Simple yet larger-than-life notes stretched through time. If you’re looking to play something in the background at a low volume, this can be a good fit. It’s a noticeably marked contrast from the lo-fi hip-hop and deep house mixes featured above.

13. Peaceful Meditation

Just like these calming apps to relax you, this Spotify playlist is designed to help you meditate. If you can’t meditate in silence, this playlist can be the next best thing. It features calming songs and instrumentals. They give you a serene feeling. But for some, this playlist can also act as writing or studying music as well.

14. Girl Talk - All Day

Girl Talk - All Day is a mixtape created by sampling dozens of hip-hop and rap songs. If you’re looking for something upbeat, use this playlist which features multiple mixtape albums by Girl Talk.

15. Nature Sounds

This is the perfect playlist when you need to add a bit of calm to proceedings. You can forget about lo-fi beats and instrumentals, and play some nature sounds instead. This playlist features everything from rivers, forests, trees, birds, and more.

Master Spotify With Our Unofficial Guide

Listening to playlists created by other people is just a small part of the Spotify experience. You can also create your own playlists and collaborate on them with your friends, listen to artist radio, and listen to podcasts as well. Read all about it the many things you can do with Spotify in our unofficial guide to Spotify.


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About The Author
Khamosh Pathak (115 Articles Published)

Khamosh Pathak is a freelance technology writer and User Experience Designer. When he's not helping people make the best of their current technology, he's helping clients design better apps and websites. In his free time, you'll find him watching comedy specials on Netflix and trying once again, to get through a long book. He is @pixeldetective on Twitter.

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