Back in April 2014, the UK Urban music scene was kick starting again. Skepta & JME had released their huge hit “That’s Not Me” and Stormzy was a name few had heard of. The rest is history as they say. With all success stories, there are plenty of “What happened to them?” or “Where are they now?”. Tempa T had previously burst onto the scene in 2009 with his debut track, “Next Hype”. During the dreaded period that was 2008-2012, the UK Grime/Rap scene was a drop in the ocean. Artists were either going commercial with tracks that were far from the typical sounds we are used to nowadays or they were nobodies in the music industries eyes.
There were exceptions though and “Next Hype” managed to cultivate a momentum behind it. The music video alone says it all. Low budget and looking like it came straight from a struggling underground scene. The song built up another surge in the 2014/2015 era and rebirth of the UK scene, as previously mentioned. Tempa T would find himself on the remix of “That’s Not Me” and tracks such as “Box On My Head” furthered his name as the scene’s go too hype man. He would later be BBC 1Xtra’s #SixtyMinutesLive with artists such as Skepta, JME, Chip and Fekky. Once 2014’s Red Bull Culture Clash came about though, things went a bit south for Tempa T. Boy Better Know would be coming up against Rebel Sound, A$AP Mob and Stone Love. Many would be correct in assuming that Tempa T would arrive on stage as a guest for Boy Better Know. Instead, he arrived as a guest for Rebel Sound, which caught everyone off guard. Since then, Tempa T is still working on his music but he seem’s to have taken quite a fall from grace. The rapper is rarely seen associated with other members of the scene, particularly the Boy Better Know crew. A collaboration with Giggs on “Little Pickney” back in 2018 was the last big track from Tempa T. Since the collaboration, there has been no project either, it appears via his Instagram (@tempa_t) he is still about but mainly to still be focused on working out if anything.
We sought to look at some other UK artists that were once big names in the up and coming lists or were once dropping plentiful music in our playlists but appear to have disappeared…
This list is no particular order
A promising rapper in the early years of Grime. Arriving through at a similar time to the likes of Chip, the rapper went commercial in 2011. The track “Invincible” has over 2 million views on Youtube as of today. This was all during the years of Tinie Tempah’s dominance in the charts with the likes of “Written in the Stars” and “Pass Out”. The Commercial/Pop sound was the only way for an underground artist to get into the charts. Griminal appeared to be the next one up with this formula. After “Invincible”, a few other tracks and features came to fruition but the East London rapper appeared to suddenly fade off the scene. After much research and a lot of speculation, there does not appear to be any new music from Griminal or known whereabouts of him. The last upload on Spotify was Old Skool Grim back in 2013. The rapper also had Twitter but his last post was in February 2018 stating “BRB”.
This guy made one of the hooks of the year in 2010. “Traktor” with Wretch 32 would go on to be one of Wretch’s biggest and most commercial hits to date. The singer, albeit, a very talented one has gone on to do absolutely nothing more notable in the UK scene.
Bursting onto the scene on Bashy’s track huge breakout hit, “Black Boys”, as well as during Chip’s Commercial/Pop era. The singer showcased his huge vocal ability on “Beast”. The UK R&B scene has struggled for years now and only few artists have really made a way for themselves. Loick Essien appeared to be one of those artists in 2011 after his “How We Roll” track took the stations and music channels by storm. It reached #1 in the UK and this was followed by “Me Without You” which achieved a #4 place. He has not released an official single since 2012.
Marvel (Vertex, Shocka and Double S)
In the prime time of SB.TV and when getting an F64 was a big achievement in the UK scene, Marvel were the group to watch. The trio were making waves with their punchlines before Krept & Konan were known. In 2010, their breakout track was “Marvel Music”. The hit was somewhat of a success but they failed to capitalise. Double S has arguably had he most success as a solo artist but nevertheless, the group Marvel are still around. No longer are they a trio as Vertex seems to have left the group. No major releases since the early 2010’s though.
Another artist that rose during the years of 2011/2012, the rapper’s last notable moment was his supposed beef with AJ Tracey. The beef did not exactly accumulate to anything as Tracey barely acknowledged it. An aggressive yet clever lyricist, the last known project from Righteous was his 2016 album Dreamland.
Much like Stormzy, Bonkaz was just starting out his career in 2015. “We Run The Block” was his breakout hit and fans, critics and radio stations alike had it on repeat. The catchy hook and UK Rap vibe sat well with many listeners. A year later, Bonkaz would release “And Dat” featuring Stormzy. Even more well received than his previous hit, “And Dat” proved to be his last big hit to date. Bonkaz had a lot of promise and many people were expecting him to flourish further in the scene. In 2016, news broke that Bonkaz had been dropped by his agency after his convictions of robbery and sex offences had come to light. Whilst Bonkaz still makes music now, his level of success has diminished drastically.
Breaking through as one of the first UK Hip-Hop artists, along with the likes of The Streets and Lady Sovereign, Sway would eventually be signed to Akon’s Konvict Music. The release of The Signature LP in 2008 indicated the height of his career. Sway was brought into mentor KSI during the YouTube’s first steps in music. This collaboration briefly brought his name to the forefront. Sway still aims on making music but his latest releases of Verses from the Vault (2018) and Verses from the Vault 2 (2018) were hardly ground breakers.
“German Whip” became so overplayed that it was always hard for Meridian Dan to follow the track up. The release of the track in 2014 took Meridian Dan to the heights of the UK scene. Many younger fans do not release that Meridian Dan had been around the scene for years. One of the earlier artists from the early 2000’s, he did not stick around the music scene for consistent releases. “German Whip” was essentially his biggest release to date. He’s still making music but is far from his 2014 days.
The winner of BBC Radio 1Xtra’s #NextInGrime, back in 2015, the Nottingham based rapper was set for big things. A collaboration with Stormzy on “Lex Luther” had a Grime classic sound to it. Features on Lord of the Mics and other platforms kept his movement up. The Stormzy collaboration was a success. Still young, Mez has a lot to offer to the UK scene if he wishes and multiple project releases (Tyrone 2 EP and Tyrone 2 The Lost Files) last year show that is still around.
Section Boyz/Smoke Boyz
During the same period of time that Stormzy was coming through, Section Boyz were making a name for themselves. The UK scene were craving a group since Roll Deep’s failings to sustain their 2010 Pop/Commercial success. Section Boyz matched the exact sound that the UK scene was heading in. “Trapping Ain’t Dead” and “Lock Arf”, from their debut album Don’t Panic, took off and Section Boyz were the group to be. The group sustained the success built for the next few years. Both Drake & Chris Brown had recognised their rise. The former surprised fans at a Section Boyz concert in 2015 and become one of THE moments of the year. Chris Brown brought them onto his OHB mixtape in 2016. Later that same year, Chris & OHB dropped a collaborative mixtape with Section Boyz entitled “Attack the Block”. Section Boyz were at the top of their game and seemed like an unstoppable force. All of sudden, the music dried up. No more music was being released with only the odd member doing solo work/features here and there. Since then, they have changed their name to Smoke Boys and the release of Don’t Panic II in 2018 got the ball rolling again. With that being said, the only stand out track was “Outside” featuring Belly Squad. A Kenny Allstar #MixtapeMadness freestyle was the closest they have found themselves to their old selves. The video has nearly 2 million views on it since it’s upload in February 2019. With that being said, their inclusion was not an easy one. The group can never be forgotten for what they have brought to the UK scene.
Let us know if you have any other suggestions in the comments…