Six new MCs from across the UK will come together in Manchester to battle it out over a series of challenges to win the fourth series of Rap Game UK. Two challenges per episode will be set for the aspiring artists, as they try to impress the three judges, Krept and Konan, and DJ Target. They will be accompanied by weekly guest judges, including the Mercury Prize-nominated Kojey Radical and world-renowned grime artist Lethal Bizzle. The show opened in Manchester’s iconnic music venue, The Albert Hall.
Hand-picked by the judges, the six MCs in this year’s show, P3Lz, Zoellz, Mwangi, Mayo, JClarke and Big Jest, have come from a variety of different backgrounds in the rap world. At the age of 18, P3Lz is the youngest contestant to compete on the show. Also with less experience, Zoellz, from Birmingham, only started rapping during the first lockdown.
Rap also resonates differently for each contestant. For Mwangi, a career as a rap artist is his attempt break out of the pattern of going from education into a trade. Conversely, JClarke is an alumna of the Industry Academy East London Arts and Music and so combines his musical background with his evolving appreciation for UK artists like Kano and Stormzy.
Mayo describes his style of rap as ‘real rap’, rapping ‘not because I want to but because I have to. I have a of stuff to get off my chest, I grew up with a lot of pains.’ Also coming from a personal standpoint, Big Jest’s journey into the rap world started with his desire to emulate and impress his older brothers.
With its £20,000 cash prize and mentor scheme to help the winning artist create, launch and promote new music following the competition, success on this show is invaluable for any aspiring rap artist.
This has certainly been proven by previous winners of the show, for example the winner of the 2021 series, Saidu, who released his first single within five months of winning the show. This year he worked with the government-run initiative NCS to create their mixtape for Summer 2022. This aimed to elevate the voices of young people. Saidu called the ultimate mixtape ‘the song of our generation’, expressing that regardless of background young people should be able to ‘decide where [they] belong.’
The opportunities that Saidu has embraced since winning Rap Game UK demonstrates that the platform provided by this competition is not only beneficial for the winner but also serves a wider purpose of initiating the cycle of uncovering the voices of and empowering young people.
Catch Rap Game UK every Thursday on BBC Three or watch it on demand on iPlayer. The final will air on Thursday 15th September at 21:00 GMT.