Rap reached a new highpoint in 2019, breaking record shares in terms of both single and album consumption according to data measured by the Official Charts Company and published today by the BPI, the record label association.
In the single market, releases from the genre accounted for just over a fifth (21.5%) of all consumption – up from 20.9% in 2018, and a new high since the BPI began measuring the share of the genre in 1998.
Most noteworthy is that the UK artists’ share of Rap’s sales and streams rose from 10.0% to 26.9% on albums and from 15.5% to 42.2% on singles in the years from 2015 to 2019.
James Walsh, Neighborhood Recordings general manager said: “It’s great to see Rap at the heart of popular culture and to see how big its footprint has evolved and grown over the last few years. There’s so many talented British artists within the genre that are connecting with people of all backgrounds on their own terms, and that’s really powerful.
“Audiences today are very tuned in – artists who are the most authentic to themselves have shown time and time again that integrity in their message and music wins out.”
Although American artists like Post Malone and Lil Nas X were among those to have last year’s biggest hits, UK talent really stood out. Stormzy achieved his first-ever Official Singles Chart No.1 with Vossi Bop, and both AJ Tracey (Ladbroke Grove) and Aitch (Taste and Make it Shake) made the top three. Additionally, British artists such as Dave, Russ, Tion Wayne, Young T & Bugsey, and Mist had top 10 hits.
It was also a big year for UK rappers in the artist albums market, of which Rap/Hip Hop claimed a 10.8% share. Stormzy took Glastonbury by storm with a victorious headline slot, and his second album Heavy Is The Head went on to earn him another number one.
There was also huge success for Dave, both commercially and critically – his debut Psychodrama went straight to No.1 on the Official Albums Chart when it was released in March, and won the Mercury Prize in September.
A variety of female rap artists have also achieved success in what was mostly seen as a male-dominated genre in recent years. UK artist Little Simz was shortlisted for the Hyundai Mercury Prize with Grey Area in 2019, with Stefflon Don earning platinum singles for both “Hurtin’ Me” and “Boasty” (with Wiley, Sean Paul, and Idris Elba).
The U.S. rapper Cardi B’s Invasion Of Privacy made the top five of the 2019 Official Album Chart while artists like Megan Thee Stallion and Doja Cat look set for great success in 2020.
Recent indications for Rap / Hip Hop in 2020 remain positive, with the genre landing three of the top 10 albums of the first quarter – by Stormzy (Heavy Is The Head), Eminem (Music To Be Murdered By) and J Hus (Big Conspiracy).