How 67 took trap-rap to new heights in the UK – MOBO Awards nominee

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In our forthcoming interview with the legendary Carns Hill, he spoke about how the Canadian underground rap scene mirrors that of the UK’s. One explanation for this is due to the UK’s underground ability to essentially go ‘over-ground’, and reach a much wider audience. So it would only seem natural that upcoming Canadian MC’s take admiration from UK rappers, who are increasingly finding bigger audiences for niche content.

One such example of an underground collective reaching new heights in the UK is 67, who’s rise within trap-rap/drill music in the past few years has been monumental, so much so, that the sub-genre of rap has reached new heights.

It’s easy to forget that 67 had already released two consistently strong projects before the popular ‘Let’s Lurk’ mixtape, as their 67 and In Skengs We Trust mixtapes were more iconic than may seem. To understand how 67 have hit new levels, we need to first look at where trap rap was before 67 really took off.

Trap-rap in the UK has always been a niche sub-genre that barely gained mainstream attention. In the last ten or so years, two of the most consistent trap-rappers in the UK have been Blade Brown and Youngs Teflon. Both of these heavyweights boast superior lyrical ability and have also consistently put out iconic projects that helped make trap-rap relevant.

Blade and Youngs Teflon aren’t the only sick trap-rappers in recent memory. Far from it, as the likes of Skwilla, Youngsta and Timbar (to name a few), also took the scene to new places in its earlier days, but the two most consistent were Blade and Tef without a doubt. They played the biggest role in increasing the perceived lyrical ability of people from this sub-genre, whose music was before often dominated by a mad flow/delivery, rather than lyricism.

Another key player here is Carns Hill, who’s carved out a niche position as one of the best trap-rap producers in the UK, for providing the beats upon which superior lyrical content could be found. All those elements came together, and for a while, trap rap was slowly rising.

However, after the sound began to reach new levels in the late 2000s, it suffered a relative dip and things quietened down again. Around the time of 67 (the mixtape), in January 2015, things began to change, as drill music’s rise once again saw new life breathed into it from the Brixton Hill-based rap group.

So what exactly did 67 do that was important?

Firstly, when they rap, 67 bounce off one another with crazy synergy, something that’s only too apparent on ‘Every Year’, ‘Take it There’ and ’67 (Today)’. On each mixtape, they only get better at not just ensuring each member lays down fire vocals, but also making sure each member tries to make those around him, better as well. It’s not just a few sick spitters coming together, but rather, a group of friends who’ve clearly worked tirelessly to ensure 67 sound like 67, and not LD feat Dimzy feat Liquez feat ASAP feat Monkey.

Maybe most important of all is 67’s blend of lyrical superiority with a sense of authenticity. Lyrics like “trap house living surrounded by rocks, like Freddy and Wilma, this white girl’s too peng, this white girl don’t need no filter” and “same way I cut shapes in the rave, I’ll dip, dip, dip, dip a man’s face” can’t be found easily on another tape. Elsewhere, you’re not often hearing lyrics so lyrical but also so raw, that you’re not sure if 67 are 67 or in fact the first-gen of aliens.

That leads us to another vantage point for 67 – there are no weak links. There might be songs where some go harder than others, but all in all, everyone in 67 is bringing something to the table. From Dimzy’s mad lyrics through to Liquez’ aggression and rawness on the mic, it seems that there are no passengers here.

What 67 have also done well is taken their sound mainstream without diluting it down. ‘Let’s Lurk’ (feat. Giggs), is a huge 67 hit, as his ‘Take it There’. Between them, those tracks have been viewed over 8 million times on YouTube, and like their older stuff, represent a continuation of the 67 sound, rather than 67 trying to sound mainstream. So they’re making waves without compromising their sound, which is harder than may seem, especially when you know you could make a lot of money by changing your sound, but still choose not to, in order to develop what you started.

One of trap-rap/drill music’s biggest flaws is that not enough of its music is geared up towards clubs/raves, so to that end, it was always going to be hard to find a way into that scene.  67 have kicked off that door and trail blazed a path for other upcoming trap-rappers to follow, and now trap-rap is at one of its highest points.

67’s job hasn’t been easy either. Due to the nature of trap-rap/drill music, the police have been known to keep a keen eye on the artists involved, and have also put road-blocks in place towards said artists performing at live shows. But here’s the thing – 67 are forging a legitimate career for themselves, trying to take the right steps and putting out good music along the way. So it hasn’t been easy, but 67 have still found considerable success.

67 aren’t the only new-gen of trap-rappers helping to take the sound to new levels, but they’re probably the biggest driving force of trap-rap’s growth in the UK at the moment.

It’s no wonder the Canadian underground scene draws parallels from what’s going on over in the UK, when you consider that 67, have taken a sound many thought was dead and have now got to the point where people are sending in pictures of themselves to see who had the best LD costume for Halloween.

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