CHART-topping British artists – including Central Cee, Dave and Stormzy – helped Hip Hop/Rap claim a record share of the UK albums market in 2022, according to new analysis from the BPI, the representative voice for the UK’s world-leading record labels and music companies.
Based on Official Charts Company data, the genre was last year responsible for 12.4 per cent of all album consumption, covering both sales and streams – its highest annual share to date and more than triple the level it achieved in 2015. Only Rock and Pop genres claimed a bigger share of the market.
This record-breaking share for Hip Hop/Rap is documented, alongside many other trends and stats, in All About The Music 2023 – the 44th edition of the BPI Yearbook, which is out now.
While the genre’s growing impact in the albums market can be attributed in part to global Hip Hop/Rap superstars such as Drake (both solo and with 21 Savage), Eminem and Kendrick Lamar, much of its success is down to the popularity of a number of domestic artists. These include Central Cee (23), Digga D (Noughty By Nature) and Stormzy (This Is What I Mean), who all made No. 1 on the Official Albums Chart in 2022.
Other notable homegrown Hip Hop/Rap successes last year included ArrDee, whose Pier Pressure was 2022’s biggest new debut album by a UK artist, D-Block Europe, led by their mixtape album Home Alone 2, Dave, with his chart-topping albums Psychodrama and We’re All Alone In This Together, and Little Simz, who won the 2022 Mercury Prize with her sophomore release Sometimes I Might Be Introverted.
Back in 2015, Hip Hop/Rap claimed just four per cent of the UK’s annual album consumption, a smaller share than Dance, MOR/Easy Listening and R&B. However, in each of the last four years it has commanded ten per cent or more of the market, and last year it increased its share from 11.9 per cent to 12.4 per cent.
Sophie Jones, BPI chief strategy officer and interim chief executive, said: “As 2023 marks the 50th anniversary since the birth of Hip Hop and Rap, the genre is showing immaculate timing by celebrating another milestone in its remarkable history and claiming a historic annual share of the UK albums market.
“Hip Hop/Rap has been hugely popular with British music fans since The Sugarhill Gang’s ground-breaking hit Rapper’s Delight at the end of the 70s. But while at one time most of its successes here were exported from across the Atlantic, the UK today has a thriving scene of its own, led by brilliant artists such as Dave, D-Block Europe, Little Simz and Stormzy, to name a few.
“They and many others in the genre are taking full advantage of the opportunities provided by streaming, which, with record label support, has placed them at the centre of British music culture and is delivering them hugely-deserved success.”
Rock continued as the biggest album genre overall for a fifth successive year as its share grew from 36.7 per cent to 37.4 per cent, thanks to a combination of heritage artists, including The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac and Queen, and more contemporary stars such as Arctic Monkeys, Liam Gallagher, Muse and The 1975.
Despite having the year’s top three titles with albums by Harry Styles (Harry’s House), Ed Sheeran (=) and Taylor Swift (Midnights), Pop, in second place, saw its share drop a touch year-on-year from 28.4 per cent to 27.2 per cent, while R&B increased to 7.9 per cent, Dance was on 3.3 per cent for a fourth consecutive year and MOR/Easy Listening edged down to three per cent.
Hip Hop/Rap also consolidated its position as the third-biggest genre on the singles market behind Pop and Rock, as it claimed nearly a fifth (18.9 per cent) of consumption across sales and streams. This was a slight drop on the year before but still more than 70 per cent higher than it achieved in 2015.
Eight of the ten biggest Hip Hop/Rap tracks of 2022 were by UK artists, compared to five years earlier when only three of the year-end Top Ten came from homegrown talent. These were led by Dave’s Starlight, which topped the Official Singles Chart for four weeks and was the only release in the genre to surpass 100 million UK streams last year.
Domestic success also included hits by D-Block Europe (Overseas ft Central Cee), Aitch (Baby with Ashanti), Tion Wayne & La Roux (IFTK) and SwitchOTR ft A1 & J1 (Coming For You), joined by international smashes such as Jack Harlow’s First Class and Wait For You by Future featuring Drake & Tems.
Above Hip Hop/Rap, Pop remained the dominant genre in the singles market, despite its share dropping slightly to 31.9 per cent. Tracks classified as Pop spent 36 weeks at No.1 on the Official Singles Chart during 2022, including by Gayle (ABDCEFU), Harry Styles (As It Was), Lewis Capaldi (Forget Me), Sam Smith & Kim Petras (Unholy) and Taylor Swift (Anti-Hero). In second spot, Rock claimed its biggest share of the market since 2016 with its 21.3 per cent score led by hits from Sam Fender (Seventeen Going Under), Tom Odell (Another Love) and George Ezra (Anyone For You).
Dance had its strongest showing in five years, claiming a tenth (10.6 per cent) of singles consumption as David Guetta & Bebe Rexha (I’m Good (Blue)), Eliza Rose & Interplanetary Criminal (B.O.T.A. (Baddest Of Them All)) and LF System (Afraid To Feel) all reached No.1 on the Official Singles Chart. R&B’s share of the market was in double figures for the first time since 2018 with its 10.1% share including Fireboy DML & Ed Sheeran’s Peru, Steve Lacy’s Bad Habits and Rema’s Calm Down, which were all classified in the genre.
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