His rise to fame has been meteoric in 2015, and widely documented in the media as once again bringing grime music to the mainstream. Joseph Junior Adenuga, better known as Skepta has arguably been at the forefront of the genre since it’s inception with Boy Better Know co founder, brother and fellow MC JME in tow as well.
Of course when it comes to mainstream “urban” (awful word) music, american rap seems to dominate the airwaves, with pockets of sub cultural movements, at times being exploited by bigger, major label artists to fit with the trends going on at the time.
The first grime artists to crossover in the early 2000’s, at least in the UK, and spark interest across the pond were Dizzee Rascal and Wiley. It seems that curiosity has peaked once again with artists such as Drake and Kanye West calling upon grime artists for inspiration and collaboration.
Without listing all of Skepta’s accomplishments, this year has seem him share the stage with these aforementioned artists, a big accolade for an independent artist. This kind of grind and work ethic is admirable to any creative, regardless of your preference in style of music. The ability to create on your own, making your own tracks, composing your own lyrics, whilst aligning yourself with musicians that have so much of a team behind them at times, and doing it with integrity is possibly Skepta’s biggest achievement yet. He was quoted recently as saying “I’m not making music to try and break America”. Yet, that’s exactly what he’s doing, through endorsement or not, the raw talent and work ethic has brought him to where he is today.
From Rock n Roll, to Punk and Ska, Jungle and Garage, Skepta manages to pull influence and create one cohesive sound that he can lend his cadence and incredible energy to. Performing on stage with punk band, Slaves as they covered his track "Shutdown" is a nice example of this.
This is certainly not an over night thing either, as he’s been tirelessly plying his craft for well over a decade. An inspiration then to any person with creative sensibility that just maybe, you eventually see the fruits of your labour. Another example of the hustler’s mentality, winning the MOBO award for best music video for the track “That’s Not Me” ft. JME, a production made for £80. GQ named him as one of the 50 best dressed British men in 2015, a testament to his unwavering affection for a couture level style inspired by the likes of Sports Direct and JJB. It’s a pleasant dichotomy. You will usually see him in a curved brim hat from his label BBK, draped in Nasir Mazhar, Supreme or Helly Hansen.
It will be pleasant to see Skepta remain humble in his rise, and despite the flakey nature of musical trends, I believe he will stay true to his passion unwaveringly. Skepta’s highly anticipated “Konnichiwa” drops later this year and if this type of music grabs you, there’s an abundant back catalogue to discover. Tim Westwood released a nice compilation you can find here. Other artists you might want to check out beyond those previously mentioned are Stormzy, Giggs, Novelist, Tempa T, Kano and I’m sure a plethora of others.