Skepta Wins 2016 Mercury Prize
Skepta hadn't dropped an album in five years, so it's fitting that his latest project is a winning one. The grime MC's latest LP, Konnichiwa, recently took home the 2016 Mercury Prize, beating out Laura Mvula’s The Dreaming Room, Radiohead’s A Moon Shaped Pool, David Bowie’s Blackstar, Michael Kiwanuka’s Love & Hate and 1975's I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It in the process.
If you're familiar with any of the acts that were in contention for the Mercury Prize, you know Konnichiwa beat out some heavy hitters. If you listened to the project, you understand why. Konnichiwa earned nearly universal acclaim from music critics and was called by Hot 97’s Ebro in The Morning co-host Peter Rosenberg the most impactful grime album in the U.S. since Dizzee Rascal's Boy in Da Corner.
Skepta's latest LP may have just taken home a U.K.-based prize, and he may still be a bigger force there than he is in North America, but his increased presence in the U.S. is no doubt a huge accomplishment for a rapper who was heavily influenced by the music of iconic American cities. A quick listen to his newest album will make you realize that he's combined the sounds of grime with some of U.S. hip-hop's sensibilities.
“It’s crazy that all these places we used to imagine, from music we listened to and films we watched growing up, are in big American cities. So, people were emulating the lifestyle but the ends [hood] is so small,” Skepta told XXL this summer. “It’s exactly this mixture of global rap energy and locally-ingrained London neighborhood claustrophobia that is unmissable in grime’s relentless double-time spittin’ and rapid-fire beats.”
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