With the passing of Brexit a year ago, there seemed to be a clear interest in isolationism for the British, and Europe-at-large. Thankfully, this did not translate to their European music scene, which is becoming more fluid than ever. Each country is breeding their own sound, story and style. Get to know these five European music artists before the invasion arrives.
Imagine your dream woman. She’s probably beautiful, melanin-rich and has that je ne sais quoi, maybe has an accent and is musically talented. Meet IAMDDB. The British-born vibress fully embraces her African roots while adding a modern, wavey groove to her music. Her unapologetic love of weed, blatant non-give-a-f***ery, and petite figure allow her to pull you into her frequency like a Greek siren.
Her drug use also gives way to a trippy tempo that’s reminiscent of Houston’s Chopped & Screwed scene matched with a jazzy yet Hip-hop voice like in her track, “Leaned Out”. IAMDDB defines her genre as ‘urban jazz’—an appropriate label for such a natural mixture of sounds and energetic adlibs. She represents the possibility of the power of a woman’s self-expression to make a vibe all her own. As one of music critic friends told me the first time I played her music, “She’s perfect.” Honestly, I just want to be friends with her. #Facts
Black and Irish aren’t two adjectives you’d typically think of together. I didn’t either until the YouTube algorithms put this trio of two MC’s and one vocalist on my autoplay. Signed to Sony Music’s UK branch, Lilo Blues, Tony Konstone, and Jessy Rose, all children of African immigrants, met while skateboarding in Duplin. They bonded over their love of music and then similar box cuts (thus the group name).
Hare Squaed is the fun that much of hip-hop has been missing yet they still maintain musicality and comprehendible lyrics. Their sound varies from hip-pop in tracks like “Flowers” to hip-rock in joints like “Loco”. They blend the carefree elements of the punk/skater scene with an appreciation a good groove—held up by their soulful vocalist and cheerful melodies.
Lady Leshurr first invaded the American radio waves with the new classic, “Queen’s Speech 4” where she encouraged us all to ‘brush our teeth’. Lady began her writing career as a poet, which eventually translated into her immaculate freestyling skills. Because of the strength of her rhymes, Lady prides herself on not using profanity.
She spits hard and is serious about what she says. Being British and the daughter of West Indian parents, her strong accent punctuates each sentiment. As of late, she’s reportedly been working with Timbaland for her debut album…and we can’t wait to hear it.
If I know anything about West Indian women, it’s that they care about their looks. From Nicki Minaj to Rihanna and now Stefflon Don, for these island gals, high-fashion is paramount and the beat is always twerk-able (Think bright-colored hair, furs, limited clothing and a dancehall vibe). Stefflon takes it further by not only giving off a ‘boss lady’ vibe but having a gangsta name and delivery to match.
Do you remember when Nicki had just released “Super Bass” and broke through the underground hip-hop ceiling? Stefflon is in a comparable era of her career. Her track with French Montana, “Hurtin’ Me” is SURE to be a smash and she is undoubtedly the next up in British hip-hop.
Paris is a city known for its refined culture and general fondness of the arts. Multi-instrumentist French Kiwi Juice, or FKJ, merges styles and cultures to create a musical concoction of his own. He’s already played Coachella and is considered to be one of the pioneers of French House music.
The dreadlocked Parisian’s engineering and production backgrounds are apparent in the way he skillfully layers various instruments into one cohesive sound. Plus, he flawlessly matches the vocalist for each track, which further distinguishes his gifted musical ear.
His self-titled debut album effortlessly blends different elements to create a groove that has one foot in the past, with his extensive use of samples, while bringing in the sounds and capabilities of modern technology, evident in this incredible performance with Masego.
Two American jazzy cats of a similar style are Robert Glasper and Terrace Martin. So, if you’re looking for some new git-it-done tunes, French Kiwi Juice is an ideal candidate.
With so much great music coming out of the States, sometimes you have to make a deliberate effort to incorporate international artists in your playlists. The variety and quality of Euro hip-hop has added dimension to the hip-hop scene and expands the genre’s influence in every corner of the world. These artists also embody how wide the hip-hop lane can be, from dancehall-esque Stefflon Don, pop and punk Hare Squaed to FKJ’s jazziness. There’s room for everyone, you just have to be along for the ride.