Skepta aka Joseph Junior Adenuga born in 1982 is an MC from Tottenham North London. He started his musical career as a DJ and began to develop his own sound as part of the roll deep crew with his brother JME. Grime was still underground at this stage and a lot of the music and MC’s sounded the same. Skepta didn’t really stand out at this point as Wiley, Kano and Dizzee Rascal became the evolving faces of the scene. Skepta branched out to form Boy Better Know which was a truly independent record label. From here Skepta’s originality and audible proficiency was showcased on a variety of singles, mix-tapes and clashes. The sound remained within genre, with typical grime beats and a jabbing flow. Listen to ‘Microphone champion’ and you can see the potential of the artist swallowed up by what the status-quo expected from a grime artists at the time. This is why the grime scene stayed stagnant for so long.
There is beauty in, progression to perfection, and this is seen when Skepta goes from the ‘ Been there done that’ mixtape to the ‘community payback’. The rhymes become witty and realistic. The stories are vivid in description and the delivery is purposeful. The mindset of the artist comes to fruition and the mixtape spits out an assorted selection of bangers. The steps Skepta is taking to perfect his art and provide good music can clearly be seen. His fanbase grew as they appreciated the honest vibes and his level of consistency. Keep in mind we were now seeing artists like ghetts, wretch, scorcher and j2k come up making consistent music too. So it was going to take something special for Skepta to be given critical acclaim.
In 2012 he made the Blacklisted mixtape which is one of the best mixtapes out and solidified Skepta as one of the top MC’s of our generation. Riddled with hallucinogenic bass lines and tempered drums. The rhymes ooze authenticity and the flow crawls its way to your ears then seeps into your brain. The music is through and through English. The references, style, lyrical content and beat format make it pleasingly obvious that this is the sound of the UK, and this is the foundation of what Skepta has based his music on.
He blows most other grime MC’s out of the water and has had the underground scene on lockdown for the past 10 years. Secret shows and pop up appearances show that Skepta has a genuine connection with his fans and adores the entertainment process. Skepta epitomises the voice of the disenfranchised youth of the UK like no other MC and he delivers with a compelling melodious clarity. His latest body of work ‘Konnichiwa’ is definitely as good as I expected it to be. He chooses quality over quantity every time when providing music for the fans, and you can tell he has a operational understanding of the music industry he is in. The music rarity, timing, soundbites, snippets, features and shows make Skepta not only a musical genius but also a sound business man.
There has been the recent Drake co-sign of course which can only do good for the Boy Better Know squad. Its isn’t needed but will expose Skepta to a completely un-tapped demographic. There’s also been the very candid Hot 97 interview with Rosenburg where he explores human nature and expose the heartaches he’s recently felt in his life. This can be clearly seen in his music which makes it so much more powerful. I’m not sure if America is ready for Skeptas artistry but it doesn’t matter. He will continue to make dope music and I know eventually a UK underground MC will break America and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was Skepta.