It's been two weeks now since Skepta released his fourth studio album, Konnichiwa. After repeatedly listening to this game changing piece of art, I have come to the conclusion that this is the most influential UK album since Dizzee Rascal's 'Boy In Da Corner'. Skepta initially announced that he would be working on this project in 2013, after almost 3 long years we can now appreciate the hard work and journey that the Tottenham boy has been on through Konnichiwa.
The UK scene is definitely going to reap the benefits of Skepta's work. In my opinion the journey began in 2013, and this is when the UK grime scene really started make noise and appeal to a wider audience. For whatever reason this was, Skepta was at the forefront of this and talent from within London, and major city's like Birmingham and Manchester started to get more attention. Skepta laid down his views on things with 'That's Not Me' and it was at this point that everyone realised that Skepta was bringing his style back to the roots and was going to get straight to the top his own way and the only influence he would have was from what he felt passionate about. It was always going to be the North London MC's power and drive that would bring him his success. During this time he released a number of interviews with a number of people including Rosenberg, Hattie Collins at the Red Bull Music Academy tour in 2015 and more recently with DJ Semtex from Radio 1xtra. It was when I was watching these music videos that I really recognised how focused Skepta was and I knew from there that he would be the man to break down doors for future generations, and he has done exactly that with Konnichiwa. I feel that Skepta sound has developed into something so real and genuine that people can relate with and if not relate with it is an eye opener to the lifestyle that people like Skeppy are living. He carries a powerful legacy now as he has shown that pure determination and belief in yourself can take you from a hood kid to someone who competes with worldwide celebrities like Beyonce for no.1 spots.
Not only Skepta's but the UK sound on the whole became a lot more real. In his interview with Hattie Collins Skepta said: 'because life got really real, grime came back.' Whether this is true or not it seems to be a pretty fitting explanation for the come up. This album for me is a landmark in grimes journey and will be remembered as grime's journey continues to reach mad heights on a global scale.
The significance of Skepta releasing it independently also adds to the greatness of this piece of work. The majority would have said it was impossible to reach no.2 in the UK album charts and sell 35,000 copies with no label. Again, all this says to us is that it was Skepta's power and belief in himself that made him follow his own path and break down doors for future generations along the way.
Track for track the album is totally unique. It is raw and traditional with tracks like 'Lyrics' and then moves onto a completely new vibe with 'Numbers'. The album ranges in features with people he grew with and his BBK family, to worldwide superstars like Pharrell. Skepta has made it pretty clear as of late that his work has happened 100% organically and it is evident in the sound, but this means that all the features also happened naturally. This has given Skepta the opportunity to showcase his talent and diversity on a global scale, but at the same time he is exposing a traditional UK sound which can only result in positive outcomes.