For grime British rapper Skepta, things are looking good. It had been a little while (five years to be exact) since Skepta released an album, but it’s quickly become his highest-rated release to date. The album is called Konnichiwa. And everyone is talking about it (especially his hit single “That’s Not Me”).
When it comes to grime, Skepta is basically the guy making it happen. It isn’t just a genre of music (combining American hip-hop with techno and British dance). To him, it’s creating a revolution, and he isn’t taking it for granted, either. Last year Skepta won the Mercury Prize (one of the most coveted awards you can get), beating David Bowie and Radiohead for Best British Album of the year. He’s performed with Drake and Kanye, which has also brought some major attention to the states, and he’s planning a collaboration with the band the 1975. He’s also released a music documentary called Greatness Only (which you can find on Apple Music), which docs his whole musical journey and how he’s gotten this far, weaving in his Nigerian roots, to his life in London, to why his main focus will always be about the music and not what the labels want.
Skepta’s released three albums before his latest this year, the first being Greatest Hits in 2007 that he released on Boy Better Know Records, a label he co-founded the year prior. And since then (even with his brief hiatus) he’s become a leading artist, not just in the UK but globally. But fame isn’t it for him. Skepta measures success by representing where he’s come from, by being his best self, and by owning what grime is without even trying. There’s no bullshit. There’s a rawness to his character that’s humbling, that’s rare. And as he says in his incredibly insightful music doc that perfectly showcases that side of him, he says: “I feel that I am the chosen one. But I chose myself.” To choose oneself. Now how many artists these days can you say that about?