Since 2016’s Mercury award winning ‘Konnichiwa’, a lot has happened in the life of, real name, Joseph Adenuga. Tirelessly helping the growth of the grime scene, the U.K. rap legend has also infiltrated streetwear, innovating his own clothing line, ‘Mains’, whilst scoring several successful collabs with Nike.
This project comes at an invigorating time for urban music in Britain; Slowthai will drop his debut LP two weeks prior to Skeppie’s ‘Ignorance Is Bliss’, and Octavian is due to offload his first record sometime soon too. With a younger demographic consuming UK music, in comparison to 2016, it will be interesting to see if this album is as provocative as ‘Konnichiwa’; will it be more successful? Or has the meteoric rise of genres like drill taken the light off his legacy?
The album artwork is incredibly striking. Although we know little about the LP, there is a lot to talk about the cover. Lucien Clarke and Blondey McCoy, two of the most influential British models and Skaters of our generation, feature, as well as Slowthai and Skepta’s sister Julie Adenuga. The artwork shows just the influence Skeppie has on British culture, his inextricable links to fashion and music, but also he’s a human being experiencing natural changes, like the birth of his baby. The latter could be a strong narrative throughout the project, his partner had a miss carriage before ‘Konnichiwa’, which he addresses on one of his deeper cuts: ‘Lukey World’.
The feature list is yet to be revealed. We may finally get the rumoured Earl Sweatshirt collaboration, but we see Skepta hanging more with the A$AP Mob in America. Rocky may return a favour after the meteoric success of ‘Praise The Lord’, and Skep’s unreleased song with Playboi Carti, ‘Cancun’, would equally gain hype in the US. As for UK features, literally anyone could be on there… bar Wiley of course. Their feud still seems rife, but another track with Dizzee or his brother JME should satisfy the grimeheads out there.
We are hoping for a project as experimental as ‘Blacklisted’, but one that feels as accomplished as ‘Konnichiwa’. One of the reasons Skepta is the biggest don in grime, is he blends genres in a way no other rapper can. His incorporation of ‘Regular John’, by Queens of The Stoneage, in single ‘Man’ was a moment of genius; his afrobeat classic with Wizkid, ‘Bad Energy (Stay Faraway), equally shows just the scope of sounds the North Londoner can integrate into a tune.
Tune into BBC Radio 1 later tonight for Annie Mac's show, she will be spinning the second track off the LP - which proceeds Skepta's psychedlic first single 'Bullet From A Gun'.
Roll on the 31st of May