Skaiwater, a UK rapper based out of Nottingham, isn’t your typical British rapper. Countrymen like Central Cee and Dave are squarely in the drill category—the 808-heavy, hip-hop subgenre that has influenced scores of other regional versions, from Brooklyn to Chicago. In the case of Skaiwater, that cultural exchange runs the opposite way. His production is full of EDM staples, with thumping drums and heavy synth work often cropping up in the background of his biggest singles. It’s somewhere between Playboi Carti’s brand of rage rap and Lil Uzi Vert’s take on Jersey club, but either way, it’s something you can’t find anywhere else in the world.
Outside of attentive listeners tracing back his influences, the Nottingham product has garnered attention from those same artists. This attention has resulted in some official co-signs. Lil Uzi Vert features on “miles,” the biggest cut-off of Skaiwater’s debut album RAVE. Earlier, he nabbed Lil Keed for his debut mixtape and opened for Lil Nas X for the European leg of his most recent tour.
A Turn Towards Traditional EDM on “Molli”
So, clearly, momentum is building for Skaiwater, who is laying a strong claim for the ever-shifting title of “next up” in hip-hop. With the release of his latest single, “molli,” we’re getting more proof of that. Simply from a numbers perspective, it’s his most popular single yet, but it’s in the music that there are the clearest signs of growth. The rapper brings the electronic influences of his earliest work and takes them to their furthest extent.
The wailing synths that pepper the song sometimes make it resemble a house or techno cut, while the drums that begin in the middle of the song reveal an eye towards more international genres. The influence of the club bleeds into the lyrics as well. True to its title, “molli” is a drug ballad, albeit one of the more unconventional ones you could come across. Half-rapping, half-singing, Skaiwater croons “I ain’t never been scared / But I’m a lil scared to try it.” Of course, the music video carries that same energy as well. Shot in a rave-worthy warehouse space, the visuals are as lively and colorful as the song it arrived alongside.
We’re convinced that Skaiwater is a name you’ll hear a ton in the next few months. In interviews, he teased what his next chapter would look like. Notably, he hinted that he’ll be in the credits on PinkPantheress’ next album, coming later this year. We don’t have official word on what the rapper’s own next project will be, but “molli” absolutely adds to the anticipation for it.