We make no secret of our fondness for music here at Life After Football, with the likes of Memphis Depay more than most, proving that there is a relationship to be found between football and rap.
But we didn’t need anyone to swap their football boots for a microphone to find that out – as our LAF PLAYLISTS have shown, a lot of players prepare for matches with rap and hip-hop music. Whilst naturally, our friends stateside seem to dominate the genre, there’s also a huge amount of talent on European shores when it comes to rap and, to bring in the new year, we want to give you five European rappers that you should know about.
Some you’ll know, some you won’t, but all of these artists are worth checking out:
We get one of the more obvious choices out of the way here first, as this French-born artist went from strength to strength in 2018.
His breakout song, Party Here, became a hit on both sides of the world as none other than Drizzy Drake himself backed what was becoming a UK anthem in Octavian’s hometown of London. Fusing all sorts of modern rap sounds with a huge Drake influence, his Spaceman mixtape received a lot of love last year and just as the year was ending, a string of new videos was being filmed and released.
Expect a lot more from Octavian in 2019.
2. Ray Fuego
Amsterdam’s own, Ray Fuego, comes across as a real man of his people.
He represents a strong, always growing underground scene in the Dutch capital which is embodied by the Smib Collective and endorsed by forward-thinking brands like New Originals and streetwear legends, Patta.
Ray Fuego ticks all the boxes. Originality? He has it in abundance with the ability to switch up between more ‘traditional’ rapping and trapping, occasionally taking influence from his beloved rock and punk music, too. He is an award winning artist in the Netherlands thanks to his masterpieceful, Zwart record.
Fue is his latest body of work that looks set for an assault on 2019. Don’t miss his shows, either. He killed Appelsap last summer and more recently, the iconic Paradiso – and he’s still under 24 years of age. A young legend destined for more.
Many consider France’s rap and hip-hop scene to be second only to America in terms of output, depth of talent and even flows. There is a huge audience for such music in France and especially with the modern trend of trap.
Gradur embodies this and the 28-year-old blew up with a series of freestyles known as Sheguey. In releasing these, he unintentionally or otherwise created his own subgenre with his sound being one that it’s easy to vibe with. This has made it hugely popular with a younger, energetic audience and whilst old-school heads may not feel it so much, Gradur’s presence is being felt all over France and beyond.
Here is another rapper who packs originality.
Born in Northampton, a town barely known outside of the UK, slowthai takes inspiration from all over the place with punk and grime being two obvious stops on a musical journey that has picked up thousands of fans along the way. The energy he brings to live shows, along with his enigmatic DJ, Kwesington, is infectious – a jump or be jumped on vibe.
The Runt EP was the most complete body of work slowthai released in 2018 along with several singles that became underground hits almost instantly after dropping, complete with dramatic visuals that show his artistic vision. In 2019, we might just get a full length album.
5. Lava La Rue
Sticking in the UK but back into the melting pot of music and culture that is London, we have Lava La Rue.
An all-round creative, Ava Laurel is a rapper, singer, producer, fashion designer and artist – she is also the mother of one of the city’s most exciting underground movements, nine8collective. In 2018 Lava put out her debut EP, Letra, which was met with great critical acclaim and an even better response from listeners, many of whom were waiting for a female British rapper to come and take over.
Her perspective is as original as her sound, as a queer artist in a heteronormative, male-dominated scene. Last year she introduced herself to a larger audience thanks to platforms like Colors, and this year she might well become a superstar… but one with a fondness for keeping it real, as her alter ego Lil Rue wouldn’t have it any other way.