UK rap is repping to the fullest for this year’s nominees for the Mercury Music Award – and there’s a distinctly anti-establishment tone across the board in the wake of Brexit and proceeding a Boris Johnson-led Britain.
Dave, Little Simz and slowthai all produced exceptional bodies of work this year. South East London rapper Dave tackled societal issues and growing up black and working-class in his album ‘Psychodrama’. Complete with cutting lyrics that deal with Dave’s back story and drawing in features from Burna Boy and J Hus, the LP is the early favourite from bookmakers to bring home the award.
25-year-old Little Simz’s third album was her most accomplished work to date, with the introspective LP was widely lauded for it’s breadth of soundscape and polished lyricism.
slowthai’s debut LP, ‘Nothing Great About Britain’, found the Northampton rapper in cold and calculated form, bringing together a number of tracks slowthai has dropped off over the last few months alongside some new heaters, with Jaykae and Skepta linking up with the Northampton rapper on the project.
The panel of judges for the award this year include Jorja Smith, Stormzy, Annie Mac and Clara Amfo, along with other music critics and broadcasters.
The judges said: “This year’s Hyundai Mercury Prize celebrates both the striking diversity of British and Irish music-makers and their shared purpose in exploring issues of identity and belonging at a time of division and disagreement. And all this is done with music of passion, wit, insight, ambition and heart-stirring optimism!”Check out the shortlist in full below.
Mercury Prize 2019 Shortlist:
Anna Calvi – Hunter
Black Midi – Schlagenheim
Cate Le Bon – Reward
Dave – Psychodrama
Foals – Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 1
Fontaines D.C. – Dogrel
IDLES – Joy as an Act of Resistance
Little Simz – Grey Area
NAO – Saturn
SEED Ensemble – Driftglass
slowthai – Nothing Great About Britain
The 1975 – A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships