A South London native, rapper Blade Brown found underground success in the 2000s and 2010s with popular mixtape series Bags & Boxes. Working alongside London legends like Skepta and D Double E, he won Mixtape of the Year at the 2012 Official Mixtape Awards for critically acclaimed project Financial Times. Brought up in a rap-loving household, South Londoner Blade Brown (born Jonathon Wrate) started focusing on a music career of his own at the age of 17. While taking stylistic inspiration from childhood influences (most notably N.W.A.), Wrate added a distinctive U.K. flavor, penning narratives about hustling and street life in South-West London. His debut mixtape, Nothing Long, Vol. 1, was released in 2004 through Defenders Entertainment, and received significant airplay on U.K. radio stations. After scrapping second mixtape Nothing Long, Vol. 2, Wrate released his sophomore tape, Hollow Meetz Blade, with London MC Giggs. Wrate consolidated his release strategy by starting two mixtape series, Best of Blade (2009) and Bags and Boxes (2010), the latter of which received a nomination at the 2010 Official Mixtape Awards. 2011 saw the release of his fifth mixtape Financial Times, which won Mixtape of the Year at the 2012 Official Mixtape Awards and included features from Wretch 32 and Skepta. He continued with his Best of Blade and Bags and Boxes series: the second volumes of each were released in 2012, with the third arriving in 2014. After a five-year break from the industry, Wrate released Bags and Boxes. Vol 4 in August 2019, which included his first charting single "Joints." ~ David Crone
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