Skepta is just days away from clinching his first ever number 1 album – a moment that will go down in history as an ‘official’ changing of the guard for British music. Grime’s flirtation with the mainstream has yet to hit the heights that Garage did back in the early 2000s, or find the mass appeal Dubstep had circa 2010 – but all that is about to change.
Grime’s renaissance over the past few years, helped in large part by the likes of Stormzy, Meridian Dan and Lethal Bizzle doing well in the charts, has made the genre more accessible to a wider audience.
Though the aforementioned have championed a slightly watered down, ‘playable-on-Radio 1’s Breakfast Show’-type sound, they have cleared the path for an unapologetically raw, all encompassing certified banger of an album in the form of Konnichiwa.
Grime’s credibility in 2016 so far has been upheld by recent release of Made In The Manor – a pound for pound trademark Kano record. Glittered with stabby, rapid-fire verses, vigorous beats and reflective insight, it has all the ingredients of a certified grime classic.
At 30 years old Kano’s perspective comes across in-depth and mature, unquestionably a solid album; unlike Konnichiwa there was no immense fanfare or excruciating anticipation ahead of release.
Perhaps at some point in the future we’ll look back at Made In The Manor as an album that was as good as, if not better than Skeppy’s record, but at the moment Skepta is undoubtedly the international figurehead of the movement.
His homecoming London show earlier this week was a testament to the unforgiving, disruptive, rebellious attitude of the sound he so proudly represents. Bringing out what seemed like every single MC in the UK, it felt as if he had gathered everyone present to watch history in the making.
With appearances from Wiley, JME, D Double E, Novelist, Chip, Solo 45, Giggs, Shorty, Jammer and Frisco – the camaraderie and belief in each other felt poignant and genuine.
Presented with a silver plaque by his brother JME for his single ‘Shutdown,’ Skepta voiced that regardless of what happens in the coming days and weeks with the album, he did this with his mandem and everyone that believed in him.
“No playlist, no label hoe – just a couple real niggas and a iPhone.”
His art form is presented in an unorthodox but fundamentally organic nature, which is most certainly the reason why he’s gained such a huge following. The roadman attire and the aggressive content may be uncomfortable to the outside world, but Skepta is letting the universe know he’s arrived, whether that’s with a ‘Hello’ or a ‘Konnichiwa.’