Skepta Is About To Shut Everything Down With Grime Music

Skepta (June 7, 2016).jpg

Illustration by Seun Ajibola

Grime music is a very prominent part of UK subculture primarily followed by the indigenous blacks and those who have migrated to the region over the years. I don’t want to reduce the music to just black music, because after attending a Grime party in the UK, I saw all races enjoying and participating in Grime “culture”. As such, it is not surprising that a Nigerian would rise to the top of the genre and be regarded as the chosen one to bring it across the seas.

Skepta was born in September 19, 1982 as Joseph Junior Adenuga and he is an MC, rapper and Grime artist of Nigerian descent. He has released several records over the last decade independently. His debut record was titled Greatest Hits in 2007, Microphone Champion in 2009 and his third solo album titled Doin’ it Again was released in 2011. On May 6, 2016, he released his most recent album titled KONNICHIWA.

KONNICHIWA was released under his label Boy Better Know and was received with critical acclaim and became Grime’s highest charting album, peaking at Number 2 on the UK music charts. The album begins with the self-title of the album KONNICHIWA and immediately, you can feel the heavy bass and fast drums pierce through the songs with Skepta matching the production with his punchy lyrics. The first half of the album follows this very pattern, which familiarizes the listeners with Grime production, flow and rhythms.

As the album moves to the middle tracks, we see that Skepta incorporates an American down south sound. During this middle portion, the production is slowed down considerably and the southern sound gives the album an unexpected twist. I am not sure what the purpose of incorporating the sound into a “Grime” album, but if I had to speculate I think it was to make it more palatable for the American listeners who are yet to fully embrace Grime music. We get features from ASAP Nast and also production from the great Pharell Williams.

As the latter part of the album kicks in, Skepta brings the listeners back to where we started, which is the Grime sound. “Shutdown” is the standout track on the album. I remember hearing this track in a basement jam in Toronto surrounded by a more eclectic crowd was well aware of the song and proceeded to jump up and down. I realized that the genre was ready to be embraced outside of London borders.

Skepta has delivered on his the most anticipated album to date. Over the past few years he has received shoutouts from artists like Drake, while also collaborating with Wizkid. Skepta’s influence has also extended to Nike’s lifestyle brand segment which is set to release a new sneaker for him.