May 6, 2016
Skepta from Tottenham, London, has been in the music industry for nearly two decades now. His work in international hip-hop music has only grown as time has gone on. And for anyone who has never listened to any of his work, his latest full length album is a good place to start.
He started his work with American artists in 2014 and has worked with Ace Hood, Drake, and A$AP Rocky. And his album Konnichiwa in 2016 allowed American listeners to get a closer look into his stylings.
Four sizzling singles all led up to the drop of the album. First of those singles coming in 2014 with "That's Not Me" featuring his actual brother Jme.
"That's Not Me" is an introduction to the street sound that Skepta can bring to the table. It is also a reintroduction to the new version of himself that he can clearly see.
With that New York rap battle type of feel to it, he lets the listener know that his days as a follower are over. This new path he was headed on allowed him to let go of the basic style and fashion that kept him from being him.
Just him, a microphone and a DJ gives vibes of a small local rap concert. Intimate and classic feels will get your head bobbing while you rock your Kangol hat and old school white Adidas.
Spray this 'til the clip is empty
A couple of side notes from this album. One is that "Sket" means "Slut" in British slang. And two, we cross referenced a couple of lines that are said on this album with lines that Drake has said, and everytime these lines and melodies were heard first on this album. Just saying.
Back in 1998, DMX drooped "Ruff Ryders Anthem." Skepta was 16 years old at the time, so to say that his video "Shutdown" wasn't inspired by that would be a surprise to anyone who had heard both of these songs.
Skepta and his "dargs" all look like a part of the #CozyFam with their sweats and jumpsuits. They don't look like the type of people who go out looking for trouble, but they also don't play the part of people you'd like to start trouble with.
A skit of what sounds like a British white woman alludes to the "intimidating" dancing of a group of young black men on her television screen. A representation of how little society has changed, even overseas.
A bunch of young men all dressed in black dancing extremely aggressively on stage,
It's strange that people still watch live prime time television. Especially with DVR, streaming apps, and replays on YouTube. But the speaks more to who is actually watching regular live television.
Every rap album needs a song for women empowerment, and "Ladies Hit Squad" is just the song women need to let them know they're appreciated. This would be something that would be played on the radio if it were an American song. As a matter of fact, it kinda was.
The melody to the hook sounds a lot like - no scratch that - The melody to the hook is exactly like what you hear in the hook of "Hotline Bling" by Drake. The biggest pop hit of the decade was taken by A$AP Nast to aid Drake and his long list of copycat sounds.
But this song came out before that track, so take it for what it is if you can. The sound is smooth and pure and can lead to dancing in your car. With hints of reggae and electric dance, it allows for a diverse group of listeners.
You were looking way too cold in your Reebok Ice
So far with the singles, Skepta brought in the old school New York hip hop sound, 90's DMX, something for the ladies, and his final hit gave more of a contemporary feel.
The genre for this album is technically called "Grime." This genre is a mix of electronic dance, underground UK grunge, and hip hop. This could be compared most to the stylings of A$AP Mob and Odd Future. An uptempo sound that gets the crowd going crazy in a concert.
This mix of head banging punk rock and hip hop brings together the sounds of different races over the last 50 years. Punk rock was mostly enjoyed by white people and hip hop has been generally enjoyed by the minorities. However, over time people of all races have become fans of all different types of music.
“Man” is a representation of "I don't give a damn what color you are, if you're fake we can't relate to you." It's a whole new world out there, and people are accepting each other for who they are regardless of their background.
Cause man get money with the gang, man get girls with the gang
Konnichiwa is a late introduction to an artist who has taken the Grime genre to the main stage. So much so that he has had "artists" stealing his sound and style. But it seems as if he hasn't worried about that up to this point in his career, and maybe he really doesn't care.
That's probably the best part about his personality. Without worrying about whether or not his sound is influencing others, he just continues to do his thing. With Skepta, it's not about who he is influencing; instead, it's about the fact that he is an influencer all the way from London.