New Gen: meet the rising stars behind the electrifying new XL compilation

Meet five of the artists on XL's ‘New Gen’, a new compilation showcasing London’s most exciting grime, R&B and spoken word talent

Kojey Radical

Track: ‘F*** Your Feelings’

What he’s about: A poet and visual artist, this east Londoner trades in spoken word, addressing racial inequality and class struggle.


He says: “The UK scene is a perfect example of diversity. You’ll find everything from trip-hop to indie to grime to poetry; it exists in one space.”


Track: ‘Thoughts’

What he’s about: Remember boom bap, the bass-drum and snare-led strand of hip-hop that dominated the ’90s? Dotty’s bringing it back.

He says: “This is our time. There’s so many dope artists in the game, they can’t deny the UK any more.”

Tiggs da Author


Track: ‘Ring The Alarm’

What he’s about: SouthLondoner Tiggs is equally inspired by Motown and grime – and has a passion for writing poetry and short stories.

He says: “The UK music sceneis a real melting pot. You’re not going to hear a mixture of all these genres anywhere else in the world right now.”


Track: ‘Flexing’

What he’s about: The executive producer on ‘New Gen’, he’s equally talented as a rapper, singer and deskman

He says: “UK artists are unapologetic about being ourselves, our sound and what we want to say.”


Track: ‘Life Support’

What he’s about: Tottenham has proved fertile ground for rappers, but 25-year-old Avelino takes a more soulful direction.

He says: “What makes our scene so special is the diversity and rawness.”

Caroline Simionescu-Marin

The album’s mastermind 

What defines the ‘New Gen’ sound?

“There are influences from everywhere – it would be really hard to pick one label. All of these new artists are less genre-confined.”

Were you making a conscious effort to say, ‘This is where London was in 2016’?

“This was supposed to be historical, the same way people would talk about [grime compilation series] ‘Run The Road’. There hadn’t been something original like that in a 
while — it was our responsibility to do it.”

Ray BLK is on the album. How did it feel to see her win the BBC Music Sound Of 2017?

“I texted her, ‘This is the craziest thing ever!’ She really represents London.”

People say London has become a place of finance, not creativity…

“It is hard in London, but it’s one of the best places in the world to be young and creative.”