Marcus on the Beats: K Koke


You might surprise me, but I doubt too many readers of GIITTV would have heard of Kevin Georgiou, otherwise known as the rapper K Koke? Outside of his music, he probably will become a central figure in how UK hip hop develops.

And when we talk about UK Hip hop, I don’t mean grime. Grime has never gone away, it still exists in its natural surroundings; it was always likely to be too parochial to stay in the mainstream for too long. Grime MCs having careers is one thing, but most if not all have very little to do with the music that spawned them. There is clearly now a legitimate space for UK Hip hop; not just the underground heads who churn out albums of brilliant credible music without the commercial success (Roots Manuva, Jehst etc) but genuine mainstream ‘street’ hip hop that America has had for nigh on a generation.

Encouragingly, America attitude of ‘there are no hoods in Britain’ has changed no end.

For a start K Koke is signed to Jay-Z’s ‘Roc Nation’ imprint, a pretty impressive ‘co-sign’ if ever he needed one (he also has 2.5 million youtube views his fire in the booth appearance – He follows on from Giggs, who made an impressive start to his XL career. Ultimately, Giggs and even more so K Koke represent a new development for UK Hip Hop – an attempt at mainstream success using a British sound of the streets.

K Koke has recently just got out of prison after 7 months on remand before being acquitted of charges of attempted murder. Giggs famously served time for gun charges and had Trident ring XL to ask them not to sign him. These stories matter; they are authentic, British and matter to their audiences. Many less authentic stories have been used by US ‘gangster’ rappers (Honestly, Rick Ross is an absolute phoney) to great effect.

I don’t expect that responsive an audience for K Koke’s street tales on this website; he is hardly Wordsworth and the tales misogyny, homophobia and a general warped logic on the general nastiness he says he has carried out might make you actively disapprove. What he does have is an authentic voice, a raspy delivery and a pained aggression that can make him a star.

Much like American needed Eminem, perhaps a white rapper tells tales of the hood will be the match that lights the fire of UK Hip hop in the mainstream. Much will rest on the shoulders of K Koke’s next album. The very nature of how UK Hip Hop develops post-grime is at stake.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.