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July: The 20 best rap tracks this month

Words: Dylan Murphy

With the fresh avalanche of new music landing every month and new artists popping up, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to cut through the noise. That’s why we curate the best new rap tracks to keep you abreast with the most exciting new artists and biggest anthems from acts pushing the needle.

With the bank holiday out of the way and as we stumble into the final month of the summer, we’ve looked back at the 20 essential rap releases of the past 30 days to keep you in the loop. We’ve got new music from Little Simz, some huge UK link-ups and a party starter from a Vermont seven-piece.

Little Simz – I Love You I Hate You

Equal parts heartbreaking and headnodding, ‘I Love You I Hate You‘, is Little Simz at her best. Sometimes I Might Be Introvert is set to land on September 3

JULS – WICKED Feat. Sam Wisae, Kadiata & Knucks

Following link ups with the likes of Tyler, The Creator, Burna Boy, Lauryn Hill and more, Juls has crafted a collaboration of gigantic proprortions inviting some of the UK’s most forward thinking MCs together.

Denzel Himself, Lord Apex – Def Jam: Fight for LDN

A face scrunching distorted cut fit for any ring walk, Denzel Himself and Lord Apex have London’s rap game on lock with their latest collaboration.

ATO – No Caroline

Melodic croons make way for a drum and bass break on ‘no caroline’ that sees ATO pour out his soul on a closing verse that gets better with each repeat listen.

Curtisy – It’s Not What It’s Not

In the internet era, even the most underground sounds find themselves on the other side of the globe being twisted and skewed in new and exciting ways. We saw it with drill before it became a staple of the mainstream and we’re witnessing it again in the dreary rap style popularized by Earl Sweatshirt and the now-defunct New York collective sLums.

Taking the approach on a redeye across the Atlantic, Dublin native Curtisy is bringing something fresh to the capital. Rambling over the beat at the casual pace of someone ordering a pizza on the phone, ‘It’s Not What It’s Not’ feels like the spitter trying to get his shit together – but not right now, maybe tomorrow or after he has a smoke.

Finding its feet in its lack of urgency, it’s a paradoxical smoke break song that simultaneously provides ample room for Curtisy to drone in the absence of any drums.

Swindle – Lost Feat. Loyle Carner, Kojey Radical, JNR WILLIAMS

A UK heavy weight link up of the biggest proportions.

Swindle’s ‘LOST’ brings together mainstays Loyle Carner and Kojey Radical on a record together for the first time. The pair go back to back whilst Femi and TJ Koleoso from Ezra Collective hold it down on the rhythm section.

Planet Giza – Out of Touch Feat. Ivy Sole

Drums swinging like a pro in a batting cage, earworm melodies and an A1 feature from Ivy Sole make for another in a long line of certified heaters in Montreal trio Planet Giza‘s rise to the top.

Manga Saint Hilare – Activated

Manga Saint Hilare came through with what sounds like a grime’s answer to a flight or fight response. What else do you expect from the MC who routinely brings unmatched energy to his tracks?

Dena Anuk$a – Boy Bye

Belfast based rapper and singer Dena Anuk$a has been on the circuit for a minute but this might just be her best song to date. Try to feel stressed when you listen to this, I dare you.

Kevin Abstract – SLUGGER Feat. slowthai & $NOT

Brockhampton frontman Kevin abstract celebrated his birthday this month with the release of ‘Slugger’.

The zany offering sees the singer-rapper team up with Northampton spitter slowthai and $NOT.

Brady Watt – The Narcissist Feat. Westside Gunn, DJ Premier

It takes a lot of skill and charisma to carry a track with no percussion and for the first minute or so on ‘The Narcissist’ Westside Gunn does so without breaking a sweat. By the time dusty drums and a gorgeous bassline are introduced the Griselda spitter has already stamped his authority on the dreamy cut.

Isaiah Rashad – Runnin’ Feat. ScHoolboy Q

Two TDE powerhouses teamed up ahead of the release of Isaiah Rashad’s long-awaited album The House Is Burning.

Boldy James & The Alchemist – First 48 Freestyle

Boldy James and The Alchemist are back with a bang. Following the release of 2019’s Boldface EP and 2020’s The Price of Tea in China, the pair have shared ‘First 48 Freestyle’ ahead of Bo Jackson, which lands August 13.

HUNNALOE & REED – MAKE A LANE Feat. WIKI

HUNNALOE & REED tapped up WIKI for an aspirational streem anthem in ‘MAKE A LANE’. The vocal loop harks back to a certain Mr West’s soulful days.

A92 – Mamacita Go

With a few festivals going ahead in the UK it’s only right Drogheda’s A92 came through with a super soaker-filled, drill anthem for the return of live music. Play this one loud.

Pink Siifu – lng hair don’t care

Is there anyone more unpredictable than Pink Siifu right now? Through a number of aliases, he weaves through punk, jazz, rap and whatever else tickles his fancy like an experienced skiier on fresh snow. For his latest effort, he goes off-piste on a bubbling instrumental courtesey of Ted Kamal.

Unknown T – Driller sh!t

One of London’s most distinctive voices speaks street politics on ‘Driller sh!t’.

Dave – In The Fire Feat. Fredo, Meekz, Ghetts, Giggs

The lineup speaks for itself. Dave is carrying the flag for UK rap at the moment and he invited two of the godfathers in Ghetts and Giggs for a huge crew cut.

99 Neighbors – Live A Little

Vermont seven-piece 99 Neighbors came through with huge new cut teeming with personality ahead of their forthcoming record.

ROMELL – Yesterday’s Problems

Yesterday’s Problems’ is Romell showcasing how he processes his pain.

On the evocative effort the MC is holding the weight of the world on his shoulders and he hasn’t finished his reps yet.