North London's Tion Wayne is having one hell of a year. His song Body, which dropped earlier in the year, has taken over TikTok and in turn stormed the charts. Now sitting at close to 100 million streams on the remix which features Fivio Foreign, Bugzy Malone, it's bringing British rap to the forefront of the mainstream all around the world.
British drill has been taking over its home charts for a minute now but Body may be the highest scaling UK drill song in Australia, charting at number 1. Wayne may be in front of the world right now but he's been making bangers for some time now. For those who are just catching on, here are the songs you need to know. Time to do your homework.
Following up a global smash is an almost impossible task but Wayne is no stranger to a challenge. The follow-up is massive. A grandiose, monumental track with a beat that sounds both celestial and terrorising. Wayne is on form too, bouncing through with bars that bleed cool. He may have another one on his hands with this.
Deluded (Feat. Mist)
Featuring Birmingham rapper MIST, Deluded was Wayne's final single before 2020 ended. It's an icy, hard-hitting cut that showcases Wayne's ability to create a showstopping hook. We already know it thanks to Body but Deluded shuts the beat down as Wayne raps, "Yo, slap it and stop that music." He hasn't had a chance to play a festival since Deluded's release but this would go off.
Come Over (With Rudimental & Anne-Marie)
Wayne is at home on a drill beat but he's got versatility. He teamed up with pop's go-to feature Anne-Marie on the Rudimental-penned Come Over. He trades drill for a drum 'n' bass beat paired with brass instruments. It's a switch-up but he sounds great. Given he's now a chart-topper you can expect to hear plenty of different features from Wayne.
I Dunno (With Dutchavelli & Stormzy)
When I Dunno dropped in 2020, it felt like a celebration of where British rap has come from and where it's going. Stormzy has obviously been instrumental in giving grime its international cred while Dutchavelli nabbed a Top 10 album in the UK last year with Dutch From The 5th. I Dunno is a flex, as you'd expect. Three rappers at the top of their game and they know it. "Free flow, that's me in my element," Wayne raps here and you can tell.
London (With M24)
Brixton rapper M24 has been on a sharp trajectory and he caught Wayne on his way to the top on London. Wayne has been repping for his hometown North London from the beginning and he runs riot on an anthem for the city. "I like Beyonce, I like beef in a cell," he raps with a cheeky pop culture reference that matches the playfully braggadocious nature of the song.
2 on 2 (With JAY1)
Wayne has collaborated with nearly ever drill artist on the come-up. He seems to have a knack for colliding with them just as they are beginning to do big things and that was the case with JAY1. 2019 was a landmark year for Jay1, nabbing him two Top 20 hits in the UK. Together with Wayne, they showed exactly why they were on a sharp ascent with this charismatic, dancehall-flavoured cut. It's a bedroom anthem that gets explicit and yet the charts still loved it.
Drive By (Feat. Swarmz)
Following up his first Top 10 record Keisha & Becky but Drive By is a valiant effort. Giving us that dancehall-influenced sound, it's one for the summertime. London MC Swarmz comes through with an earworm of a hook while Wayne is back at it with his quotable lyrics. "Me to your girl, she's the fiend, I'm the crack," he raps here. Woah.
Keisha & Becky (With Russ Millions)
Wayne is no overnight success. He had been dropping mixtapes since 2014 by the time he got his first solo chart hit in 2019. Teaming up with Russ Millions, who he would meet with again for Body, he delivered his first platinum record. In the UK, it dominated the summer of 2019, giving the mainstream a drill anthem at a time when the genre was still finding its feet outside of cult audiences. Once again, its success lies in Wayne's instantly recognisable hook - "Very sexy, Keisha, Becky."
Options (With NSG)
Keisha & Becky may have been Wayne's first solo hit on the charts but his feature on NSG's Options was the first time he truly tasted chart success. A Top 10 record, Options is an undeniably moveable dancehall track. It's not easy to shine through on a track with a group but Wayne's verse lodged in the middle here is a memorable flex - "Ghetto and stylish/LV drop, man I rock it with sliders."