We’re fans of diversity here at NBT Radio, so it was only fair that we picked an extremely eclectic three albums for this snapshot of UK music just before Summer 2019. From heavy duty drill rap bangers from the grimy ends of Digga D, to catchy pop ballads from international superstar Ed Sheeran or riotous metal of Slipknot’s first album in five years – there’s surely something here for the music fan of every persuasion.
Ed Sheeran – Collaborations No. 6
The follow up to the floppy haired Ed Sheeran’s breakout mixtape No. 5 Collaborations Project from way back in 2011, you’re guaranteed to hear songs from this album grace festival stages, radios and advertisements across the country. The last Collaborations Project featured a who’s who of grime music in the UK at that time – with every MC dropping the more usual ghetto tales and boisterous flows in favour introspective poetry and emotional rawness. This album is a little more upfront and pop, but with a huge list of international superstars onboard such as Justin Bieber, Chance the Rapper, Bruno Mars, Travis Scott and J Hus, it shows you just how far the Norfolk born singer-songwriter has come in eight short years.
Digga D – Double Tap Diaries
Whether you like it or not, UK drill rappers now make regular appearances in the top 40 charts. Artists such as Section Boyz, 67, DigDat and now Digga D have made a real impact with young music fans across the country. Often cited as a cause of inner-city violence and crime, there is no doubt drill rap is lyrically dark, dense with urban slang and – yes – violent. Regardless of the politics, Digga D’s bassy staccato flows are a great example of the energy and vibe that drill rappers bring to the table. With standout single No Diet racking up 10 million views in less than a couple of months, you’re also guaranteed to hear this song this Summer – although more likely from a teenager’s phone or blaring out of a BMW than on a festival main stage. Especially since Digga has apparently gone back to jail since it came out.
Slipknot – We Are Not Your Kind
The legendary nu-metal rockers are back in 2019 with their first album since 2014’s The Grey Chapter. To put how big they are in perspective, their new single Unsainted has racked up 35 million views on Youtube alone – in less than a month. The track itself is an interesting hybrid of their earlier and newer sounds.
It features an anthemic and pop-tinged chorus reminiscent of the best tracks on their highly regarded 2008 album All Hope Is Gone. However, with clear stylistic influences from their more raucous and guttural early days on tracks such as Spit It Out, the single is a real statement of intent before the release of the Iowan band’s album in early August. You might not hear this one as many radio stations as Sheeran’s effort, but you can always count on Slipknot to be hugely popular with a dedicated subsection of music fans.