Charlie Sloth’s Fire in the Booth series has become renowned for being the best place to witness the country’s top MCs effortlessly glide over a plethora of BPMs, showcasing their lyrical prowess.
None other than Drizzy Drake has been the latest to grace the famous booth, following in the footsteps of some of the very best of our own; with this in mind, we thought we’d take the opportunity to have a look at the very best to set fire to the booth.
1. Big Shaq
In 2017, comedian and actor Michael Dapaah aka Big Shaq gave us one of the most memorable moments in Fire in the Booth history as he instantly became a global internet sensation.
Next up we have Tottenham MC Chip, who absolutely bodies the legendary “Ghetto Kyote” grime instrumental made by Treble Cleff. Rather than just drop the usual braggadocio, Chip chose to aim his lyrical barbs at some big names in the scene. This now iconic Fire in the Booth kick started some of the most monumental beef the scene has ever witnessed in recent times.
A staple member of the second wave of grime MCs, Dagenham’s most prized lyricist and member of infamous grime collective The Movement. Devlin steps up and merks in this sick FITB as he rips Ruff Sqwad member Rapid’s “Top 3 selected” grime instrumental to shreds.
Next up he bodies the UK rap instrumental for Klashnekoff’s legendary track “Murda” earning himself a rare wheel up from Charlie.
Showcasing his versatility, and earning himself a kill streak; Devz goes on to murder Wiley’s great “Morgue” instrumental. Most definitely one of the hardest Fire in the Booths to date.
The Harlesden native, Nines comes through and blesses Charlie Sloth with a Fire in the booth that would go on to achieve legendary status.
A slightly different sound to what we have heard from the legendary Peckham artist in the past. The Landlord linked Charlie for a hot freestyle back in 2013, which remains one of the hardest. Hollowman switches up his flow for this one, providing us with an example of his versatility on the “Pop” instrumental, originally used by Wretch 32.
For his second and third verses, Giggler slows it down over Drake’s “Started from the Bottom” and A$AP Rocky’s “F**kin problems” instrumentals completing a sick FITB freestyle.
Back in 2011, the polymath Akala came through and brought a different vibe with one of the most original freestyles Charlie’s had on his show. Akala kicks a ridiculous amount of knowledge and when this is fused with his nutty flow it makes for one of the hardest freestyles that Fire in the Booth has ever seen. Although he set the standard very high, Akala’s following freestyles are also high up on the list of G.O.A.T FITBs.
7. Bugzy Malone
With a freestyle hard enough to earn him a co-sign from Charlie, when the King of the North came down to the 1xtra studio for his FITB, he wasn’t taking any prisoners. With a verse full of sick similes and metaphors, Bugzy throws it back with some story telling as he’s done so well on many occasions. To this day it might remain one of the most viewed FITB of all time with 16 million views.
Lowkey remains one of the most successful underground UK rappers, never compromising on his politically charged content. Back in 2010, during the formative FITB years, Charlie Sloth brought Lowkey down to the studio for one of the most memorable FITBs ever. Lowkey drops knowledge in style with an insane ABC rhyme scheme for a large chunk of the verse. It’s been eight years since this dropped, and it’s still undoubtedly one of the hardest.
9. K Koke
Another sick FITB also occurred in 2010, when Charlie recruited Stonebridge rapper and USG head huncho K Koke.
In his first verse Koke comes with proper realness as his pain is almost tangible from his lyrics and tone of voice, however as the instrumental changes, Koke switches up his lyrics to a clever metaphoric double entendre about his girlfriend and gun.
Similar to Lowkey’s Fire in the Booth, K Koke’s one is still regarded as one of best, despite there being countless other MCs that have shelled in the booth during the eight years since.
10. Wretch 32 & Avelino
Three years ago Avelino and Wretch 32 stunned as all with two of the greatest FITB verses of all time. A stupid amount of ridiculous one liners and insane bar structures, this FITB is lyrics galore from two of the most talented rappers from England. The second verse from Wretch over The XX’s “Intro” instrumental saw another rare wheel up from Charlie. This very much set a benchmark for contemporary Fire in the Booths.
Easily one of the greatest Fire in the Booths of all time, from easily one of the best MCs of all time. East London’s Kano goes off for almost 8 minutes of pure fire over an old school Hip-Hop instrumental produced by the legendary Detroit based J Dilla. Coming a year after Wretch and Avelino’s, Kano definitely reached if not surpassed the levels set for a FITB freestyle, and we should have expected nothing less from KA, as he’s most certainly one of the best lyricists on these shores.
In no particular order, we have to give a shout out to Roll Safe the original parody Fire in the Booth, no doubt inspiration to Michael Dapaah. The punch line kings – South London duo Krept and Konan especially for their Part two, and fellow South Londoners P Money and Stormzy who ripped the 2014 FITB Cypher.
North London has also come very strong over the years, with Dappy, Joe Black, and Black the Ripper who along with Chip, Nines and K Koke have provided some of the hardest freestyles for Charlie on multiple occasions.
Compared to these, some of the newer generation who went in on their FITBs is the silver tongued and motor mouthed Brighton resident Ocean Wisdom, MTP collective members AJ Tracey and Big Zuu who represent West London, and the legendary J Hus from East and Kamakaze repping the Midlands.