By Jack Barnes
U.K. grime MC, producer and record label owner, SKEPTA, is set to release his long-awaited album, KONNICHIWA, on May 6 (digital) andMay 27 (physical) via Boy Better Know. Konnichiwa features some of the biggest grime rappers including JME, Novelist and Wiley, the entire Boy Better Know crew, as well as global superstar Pharrell Williams.
On May 1, the veteran U.K. grime-star revealed the official music video for his newest single “Man.” The video was shot for a lively crowd during an intimate show at Visions in East London. “Man” currently lies in the No. 4 position on the Spotify UK Viral Top 10 chart and has a combined playlist follower audience of over 4 Million. Watch the official video for “Man” here.
To date, Konnichiwa has accumulated over 50 Million YouTube views for its four pre-released tracks “Ladies Hit Squad,” “That’s Not Me,” “Shutdown” and “Man.” “Shutdown” earned Skepta a Best Contemporary Song nomination for the prestigious 2016 Ivor Novello Awards (winner announced May 19) and was called the track of the year from the likes of NME, Fader, The Line of Best Fit and The Guardian.
Skepta has been named GQ’s Top 10 best dressed men in the UK alongside David Beckham and Harry Styles and was recently announced as a cultural ambassador for the stylish casual wear brand, Uniqlo. In 2015 he graced the front cover of FADER’s June/July issue and performed alongside Kanye West at Kanye’s post The Brits 2015 show at Koko, London. This summer, Skepta, is set to perform at major festivals including Glastonbury (Pyramid Stage), BBC Radio 1 Big Weekend, Reading & Leeds Festival (Main Stage), Bestival, Field Day, Wildlife, Sonar (Barcelona), Parklife, Hideout (Croatia), Roskild (Denmark), Benicassim (Spain) and more.
For more information on Skepta, and for a full listing of tour dates visit HelloSkepta.com.
- Lyrics – Skepta, Novelist
- Corn On The Curb – Skepta, Wiley
- Crime Riddim
- It Ain’t Safe – Skepta, Young Lord
- Ladies Hit Squad – Skepta, D Double E, A$AP Nast
- Numbers – Skepta, Pharrell Williams
- That’s Not Me – Skepta, JME
- Detox – Skepta, BBK
- Text Me Back
A veteran of the U.K. grime scene, MC, producer, and record label owner Skepta was influential in its shift from the underground to the pop charts, as well as its creative and commercial resurgence during the mid-2010s. Inspired by both U.S. and U.K. hip-hop, he started his music career appearing on the pirate radio circuit and performing at various MC battles. In 2005 he formed the grime label Boy Better Know with brother J.M.E. and Wiley, and a year later joined East London collective Roll Deep, although he left the following year to concentrate on Boy Better Know and his solo career. He released his first two albums, Greatest Hits and Microphone Champion, through his label before signing with All Around the World Records in 2010. In the same year, he reached the Top 40 with “Bad Boy” (number 26) and “Rescue Me” (number 14), supported Chipmunk on his U.K. tour, and was personally selected by P. Diddy to record a grime remix of “Hello Good Morning” after being recommended by his Twitter followers. His third album, Doin’ It Again, featuring the Top 40-charting single “Cross My Heart,” was released at the beginning of 2011, subsequently peaking at number 19 on the U.K. album chart. In 2012, Skepta released two singles (“Hold On” and the C+C Music Factory-sampling “Make Peace Not War”) that took his sound in a more commercially minded direction. Both songs hit the Top 30 of the U.K. singles chart, and were intended to be the leadoff singles to an album titled The Honeymoon, but the disappointing reaction from fans led to the album being scrapped, and a mixtape titled Blacklistedwas released at the end of the year in its place. After keeping a low profile in 2013, Skepta came back in a big way the following year. He contributed a verse to a remix of “German Whip” by Meridian Dan, which became a Top 20 hit in May 2014. The following month, Skepta’s single “That’s Not Me” (which featured a guest verse by J.M.E.) was released, hitting number 21 on the charts. Both tracks were praised as helping to revitalize grime, and the latter was eventually named track of the year by FACT Magazine. Skepta’s early 2015 single “Shutdown” was another U.K. Top 40 hit, and the MC received attention from Drake and Kanye West, joining the latter on-stage during the BRIT Awards. Skepta made his acting debut with a role in the 2015 crime drama Anti-Social, and worked on his long-awaited new album Konnichiwa.
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