Joan Armatrading

In the '70s, Grammy nominee Joan Armatrading was one of Britain's most famous international stars.

Read Juliana Koranteng's piece grime and the new British hip-hop invasion.

Eddy Grant

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Guyana-born Eddy Grant is one of the pioneers in Britain's music culture. In 1972, he set up the first black-owned recording studio in Europe, Coach House. By the early '80s, everyone was dancing to the reggae-rock of "Electric Avenue."

Billy Ocean

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Advertisement

If you were watching MTV in 1984, it was hard to escape Billy Ocean crooning "Caribbean Queen." Born in Trinidad and raised in the U.K., the music legend is still making his mark, his latest effort "Because I Love you" was released in February.

Massive Attack

Massive Attack formed in 1987 out of the ashes of The Wild Bunch. With their dreamy, tripped-out electronica vibe, they were the pioneers of trip-hop, the seminal sound of hypnotic British dance music in the '90s. Portishead, Trick (a Massive Attace alumna) and Morcheeba followed in their footsteps.

Estelle

After her 2008 hit "American Boy" was released, British songbird Estelle topped the charts in Britain and then won fans in the U.S. and around the globe.

Dizzee Rascal

When asked what's next during a recent national-newspaper interview, the U.K- chart-topping Dizzee quipped: "I want to break the world … I definitely want world domination, and America is just another part of the world."

Chipmunk

His album's title alone, I Am Chipmunk, says a lot about the 19-year-old's ultra self-confidence. As he asserts in the song "Diamond Rings": "I gotta keep on rhymin' man, so I keep on shinin' man; I ain't gonna be a one hit wonder, I am forever, call me diamond man…"

Tinchy Stryder

Tinchy Stryder dropped out of college in favor of a rap career. This year, he scored two No.1 hits in the U.K., including the appropriately titled "Number 1."

Wiley

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Wiley, a British producer and rapper, is one of the pioneers of grime. He is also one of the founding members of Roll Deep Crew. Dizzee Rascal used to be a member, too.

Sway Dasafo

You won't ever catch Sway Dasafo using the N-word in any of his rhymes. In an appearance on Britain's Sky News, the rapper spoke out against the use of the N-word in hip-hop and R&B songs.

Kano

London-born Kane Brett Robinson, aka Kano, is a member of East London's N.A.S.T.Y. (Natural Artistic Sounds Touching You) crew. In 2005, he was nominated for four MOBO (Music of Black Origins) Awards. In 2007, he had a duet with singer Craig David in the hit song, "This Is The Girl."

N-Dubz

In 2007, multiracial rap trio N-Dubz won a MOBO (Music of Black Origin) Award for Best U.K. Newcomer. They got their start in the underground, flooding pirate radio with songs like Bad Man Riddim and Life is Gettting Sicker By the Day. In 2008, they debuted their first album, Uncle B.

Lethal Bizzle

As a kid, British-born Lethal Bizzle, aka Maxwell Ansah, was influenced by the quick rhythms of drums 'n bass and the gritty lyricism of Nas, Notorious B.I.G. and the Wu-Tang Clan. Today, his lyrics, with their violent imagery and tales of hard knock life, incite controversy.

Young Soul Rebels

N-Dubz, Chipmunk and Tinchy were among the group of artists that formed Young Soul Rebels to record "I Got Soul," a Top 10 single for the charity organization War Child U.K., which raises donations for poverty-stricken children in war-torn countries.