Artist News Awards

Ed Sheeran tops 1Xtra’s urban music power list

By | Published on Monday 14 July 2014

Ed Sheeran

So, Ed Sheeran is the most powerful player in British urban music, according to BBC 1Xtra, which brought together a panel of those industry experts to consider which artists are having the biggest impact in the UK black and urban music scene around about now.

Of course, there is no denying that Sheeran is a leading player in British music in 2014, though him topping a list of urban acts has caused a little controversy, mainly based on where exactly you draw the boundaries on what is and isn’t ‘black and urban music’.

1Xtra points out that black and urban music isn’t about the ethnicity of the performers, though putting top a white boy whose music is classified on Wikipedia as “pop, folk, acoustic” is going to cause a little stir. Oh, but he’s a little bit urbaney, isn’t he? Is he? Oh yes, I forgot, ‘urban’ is a made up genre label that can be pretty much applied to anything.

Explaining the decision to put Sheeran at the top of the poll, 1Xtra DJ Yasmin Evans told reporters: “Having just his music in mind, and disregarding anything else that we may have considered for other artists, there is so much power in what he produces and writes, that this alone holds so much power”. Though that says more about Sheeran’s ‘power’ than his urban music credentials.

It was Wiley, placed number sixteen in the poll, who had most to say about Sheeran’s topping of the list. He wrote on Twitter this weekend: “We influence a man and all of a sudden it turns [out] he has influenced us. England music industry is backwards. God bless those who try”.

He went on: “People think I am mad. I am not mad, I can just see skull duggery from miles away. We have been bumped basically. Not taking anything away from Ed, he is sick. But black artist in England, we are getting bumped”.

Anyways, here’s the Top 20. You can work out your own definition of ‘urban music’ and be pleased or pissed off accordingly…

1. Ed Sheeran
2. Disclosure
3. Tinie Tempah
4. Sam Smith
5. Rudimental
6. Emeli Sande
7. Naughty Boy
8. Katy B
9. Krept & Konan
10. Fuse ODG
11. Boy Better Know
12. Rita Ora
13. Lethal Bizzle
14. DJ Fresh
15. Jessie J
16. Wiley
17. Giggs
18. Laura Mvula
19. Wretch 32
20. Dizzee Rascal