Skepta sets the standards of success in the new dawn for grime.
Skepta, real name Joseph Junior Adenuga, is a musician making a name for himself in his native UK, North America and globally. He’s a grime artist hailing from North London famed for his uncompromising bars, alpha posturing and, most importantly, staying true to his roots.
He is part of the grime collective Boy Better Know, generally abbreviated to BBK. Made up of roughly six full time members, namely Skepta himself, Jme (his brother Jamie Adenuga), Wiley, Jammer, Frisco and Solo 45. Drake is the seventh, honorary member of the collective.
Skepta’s Latest Album: Konnichiwa
Skepta’s latest album, Konnichiwa, came out in May 2016. It was his fourth studio album. It was released to broad critical acclaim, with NME referring to it as, “A landmark in British street music that takes on the world”, while The Guardian’s Alexis Petridis called it, “a thrillingly unreconstructed splurge of choppy rhythms, low-rent electronics and pummelling bass.” That’s a good thing, trust us.
The record won the UK’s 2016 Mercury Prize. Apple Music named it as their album of the year.
While largely about taking his musical career back to its UK-centric beginnings, the album also showed signs of a savvy artist at work. Tracks such as "Numbers," which features Pharrell, and R&B- flavored "Ladies Hit Sqwad" were surely included with one eye on the American market. A market that, up until recently, had turned its nose up at the breakneck agro of grime music.
In releasing the album he paved the way for the grime renaissance currently taking place, with the likes of Stormzy, J Hus, Dave and AJ Tracey all breaking into the limelight.
The album was released in the wake of two out and out classics, released in the years before. They were:
Skepta - That’s Not Me
Skepta’s track "That’s Not Me," released in 2014, announced the relaunch of his career, in some style.
‘Successful grime artist’ used to be a contradiction in terms. It was widely accepted that sticking to the genre meant limited returns, both financially and in reach. The only route to success was following the likes of Dizzee Rascal and renouncing the genre altogether.
Skepta walked in those footsteps to solid returns. But felt this betrayed his true roots and calling.
Then he dropped "That’s Not Me."
In just over 3 minutes he vows to no longer wear Louis Vuitton, to no longer wear Gucci, to no longer lips [kiss] just any girl and to no longer act like a wasteman [fool]; vowing that was no longer him.
The video, which won a MOBO award, cost the artist just £80 (about $100). It used a backdrop of compiled images from grime’s early days in early 2000s East and North London council estates (government provided housing).
One year later he dropped "Shutdown."
Skepta - Shutdown
If "That’s Not Me" called out his own double standards, "Shutdown" called out everyone else’s. Combative from start to finish, he takes aim at the music industry, fake rastafarians and politicians. Hitting the bullseye every time.
Lacking in both Gucci and Louis Vuitton, "Shutdown" was the Guardian’s track of 2015. His ‘tracksuit mafia’ (his words, not mine) took over London’s iconic brutalist masterpiece the Barbican Centre to shoot the video in its maze of concrete walkways.
Skepta - Nasty
Grime is a genre that doesn’t sit comfortably with well-packaged album releases. Rather it grew out of dubplates, pirate radio and diss [insult] tracks, shared over bluetooth from one cell phone to another.
Skepta reverts to form with his track, "Nasty." Deploying the same sparse bass rumbles and spiky electronic crunches, this is a track that shoots from the heart of what grime music is. Reigniting a decade old rivalry with Devilman, this diss track sits apart from any album release, spraying Devilman with bars and leaving him dead in the water.
What is Skepta’s Net Worth?
Skepta has an estimated net worth of £1.5 million ($2 million).
Skepta is on Instagram
You can find Skepta on Instagram. He updates regularly under the name Skeptagram. It’s a good barometer of his success, the below image shows him sat alongside Lily-Rose Depp, Cara Delevingne, Pharrell Williams and Rita Ora.
He’s been making ground in the fashion world as well. GQ named him as 2016’s seventh best dressed man. Not bad for a man who “don’t wear no bait [obvious] designer brands”.
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