Text by Adam Lehrer
Skepta’s ‘Konnichiwa’ has finally seen release not less than five years after his previous full-length ‘Blacklisted.’ I’ll just say here: it’s a scorcher. But even more important is that after over a decade of the industry trying to break grime acts into the US pop and hip-hop market, Skepta looks to finally be the Grime artist who might make international cultural dent. Even more important is the fact that he is doing so by being a true Grime artist. Unlike past contenders to the throne of cross-continental Grime superstardom, Skepta will not collaborate with Robbie Williams (like Dizzee Rascal did) or give into Hip-hop’s obsession with luxury (like Wiley did with track “Wearing my Rolex”). Writer Josh Gray described the album well in his review for The Quietus: “To critically appraise [Konnichiwa] is to take the pulse of an entire genre; a genre that’s tentative but unstoppable ascent has provided a Ranieri-worthy spectacle of underdog triumph for both diehard fans and casual observers alike.”
With co-signs by the A$AP Mob and Drake, Skepta looks poised to take over the universe. And he will do so making Grime music and Grime along, perhaps finally getting American fans to consider British hip-hop music alongside its American counterpart. With this, I thought it wise to look back on the tracks that brought Skepta here. He’s been doing this since 2004, and a genre-defining breakout swan song like ‘Konnichiwa’ doesn’t come over night.