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Top 10 Fire in the Booth Freestyles


Written by Marc Turner And that’s a (w)rap. Welcome to WatchMojo UK, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 Fire in the Booth freestyles. For this list, we’re looking at the best freestyles from Charlie Sloth’s BBC Radio 1Xtra show, taking into account the performance itself as well as its popularity online and with fans. From the hundreds of MCs and rappers who have contributed, these are the ones who really made their mark. As usual, it’s maximum one entry per artist. Special thanks to our user ashjbow for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool: WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Top 10 Fire In The Booth Freestyles


And that’s a (w)rap. Welcome to WatchMojo UK, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 Fire in the Booth freestyles.

For this list, we’re looking at the best freestyles from Charlie Sloth’s BBC Radio 1Xtra show, taking into account the performance itself as well as its popularity online and with fans. From the hundreds of MCs and rappers who have contributed, these are the ones who really made their mark. As usual, it’s maximum one entry per artist.

#10: R.S. (aka Roll Safe)


In 2015, actor Kayode Ewumi took the internet by storm with his “Hood Documentary” that followed his fortunes as an invented wannabe grime artist called Roll Safe. Just one month later, and Ewumi appears in the booth in character to give a hilarious performance that includes this less-than-inspiring story about a girl named Chantelle. Charlie Sloth keeps changing the beats, but there’s very little he can do to help. Truly a unique showing, but it’s a fan favourite nonetheless. And if nothing else, it proves how difficult this skill is.

#9: Drake


Hip-hop star Drake is one of the biggest music acts on the planet, so there was a huge amount of hype surrounding his appearance, in 2018. And the Canadian did not disappoint, spitting a five-minute freestyle that focused on his wealth and reputation. Drake’s performance drew plaudits from around the world, with fellow rapper Dave praising it as “ridiculously hard”. And host Charlie Sloth clearly enjoyed it too – perhaps a little too much, judging by his heavy-handed use of the sound-effects board.

#8: Devlin (Part 1)


Dagenham-born Devlin featured on the BBC’s Sound Of 2010 list, and was once described by fellow rapper Wiley as the best grime MC of all time. Well-known for his rapid-fire lyrics about poverty and crime, Devlin has produced two legendary performances in the booth, with his first freestyle just about edging his second - but only just. This guy is one of those rare performers who has it all: energy, flow and technical ability, together with what’s often regarded as the best vocabulary in grime.

#7: Krept and Konan (Part 2)


This award-winning rap duo started working together in 2009, and once broke the world record for the “Highest Charting UK album by an Unsigned Act”. Krept and Konan are probably best known for their lyricism, and their freestyle in the booth featured so many punchlines, you may need a few listens to even catch them all. Spitting over what was then considered to be an unusual beat choice, the duo give a freestyle that scores highly on both style and substance.

#6: K Koke


Part of rap crew USG, K Koke grew up on the notorious Stonebridge estate in London. His one and only appearance on “Fire In The Booth” has achieved iconic status, amassing more than 12 million hits on Youtube. Renowned for his wordplay, K Koke is in reflective mood here, as he drops bars about his family and upbringing. K Koke once revealed he’d been shot at over 100 times in his youth, and his second verse uses a clever metaphor to convey his thoughts on gun culture.

#5: Bugzy Malone (Part 1)


When Mancunian Bugzy Malone was invited onto Charlie Sloth’s show, he originally thought he was being pranked. His appearance in the booth turned him into an overnight sensation though, quickly becoming the most viewed “Fire In The Booth” clip available on Youtube. Performed in a single take, it’s one of the best grime freestyles that the show has ever given us, with an on-the-money consistent flow and high-octane delivery. In fact by the end Bugzy Malone is sweating so much, it’s as if there’s an actual fire in the booth with him.

#4: Akala (Part 1)


Award-winning rapper Akala has appeared on “Fire In The Booth” multiple times, and any one of his performances could have featured on this list. But in the end we went with his first freestyle from 2011. Not just a rapper but also a political activist, Akala uses his mic-time to cover social and political issues ranging from racism to materialism. And he leaves it all out there. Showcasing both his inspired lyrics and his technical ability, it’s a breathless performance that’s sure to leave listeners with plenty to think about.

#3: Stormzy


A rapper since the age of eleven, London-born Stormzy used his 2014 single “Not That Deep” to call for an appearance on “Fire in the Booth”. And when he got his wish, he didn’t hold back, spitting a hard-hitting freestyle that’s seen by many as an early high point in his career. That’s how influential this show can be! Another artist with outspoken political views, Stormzy shines a light on rap culture in a performance that shows why he is so often credited with bringing grime into the mainstream.

#2: Lowkey (Part 1)


Hip-hop artist Lowkey once won a rap battle in order to keep his name, rhyming against another artist who had been using the same alias. So this is familiar territory for him. Lowkey performed one of the first ever “Fire In The Booth”s, and he set the standard by which all subsequent freestyles are judged. Considering the complexity of his lyrics, it’s remarkable how he maintains his flow and breakneck pace – all whilst incorporating a range of internal and multisyllabic rhymes. And if that wasn’t impressive enough, he performs the 8-minute freestyle live, and in just one take.

#1: Wretch 32 and Avelino


Another one-take performance, this freestyle features what Charlie Sloth considers to be the best verse ever recorded on the programme. Covering everything from childhood nightmares to the search for fame, this particular “Fire In The Booth” was the fastest ever to reach one million hits on Youtube – until Drake took the honour three years later. After Avelino performs the warm-up duties, Wretch spits a freestyle so impressive it achieves something we never thought possible: it leaves Charlie lost for words.
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