News 19 September 2017
Author: Cam Donald

Happy Birthday Skepta! Re-live his game changing moments of 2016

Author Cam Donald
19 September 2017

Last year, on the 6th of May, Skepta finally released his fourth studio album Konnichiwa to critical acclaim. It had not only been one of the biggest years in Skepta’s career, but it was also one of the most important years for grime as well. Skepta and grime go hand in hand and the BBK artist defined the new spotlight on grime as a “revolution of freedom”.

To celebrate Skepta’s birthday, here are some of those game changing moments from the King of Grime’s historic 2016, that led to he and his Boy Better Know bredrins shelling down the O2 Arena in 2017.



 Even prior to Konnichiwa’s monumental release in May, Skepta was making headlines in April. It was announced that Skepta and Ragz Originale had been nominated for an Ivor, the top-drawer award for composition and songwriting in the UK. A grime track being nominated for an Ivor is a massive deal and a true genre-breaking achievement. This nomination recognised Skepta for his songwriting talents and disposed of a lot of the stigmas shrouding rap lyrics. Neither the scene, nor Skepta, asked for this sort of mainstream validation and recognition, but this nomination titled the spotlight in the direction of the BBK man and wider Grime culture.



Skepta’s fourth studio album was released to rapturous acclaim that is yet to be calmed. The 12-track deep album was four years in the making and served as a mature, ambitious and suitable follow-up to his 2012 release Blacklisted. This project’s release was a triumph even before rave reviews started surfacing. It could be argued that Konnichiwa, with features from Pharrell Williams, Novelist, Wiley, D Double E, A$AP Nast and Skepta’s brother, Jme,  is the most notable grime release in years and will go down as one of the most important to the culture since Dizzee Rascal’s Boy In The Corner.

’s success was paved by hit singles “That’s Not Me” and the OVO-cosigned “Shutdown”, two tracks which allowed for “Man (Gang)” to feature on radio playlists and ascend to the same heights that it’s predecessor singles had. As an album Konnichiwa cemented Skepta’s place in the grime pantheon and propelled him to heights previously unimaginable for artists of his ilk. Even calling Skepta a “grime artist” is an inaccuracy these days, as this album, cleverly created with North London’s heart beating through it from start to finish, has made an international superstar out of Skepta from Tottenham. Don’t forget, this project was successfully released independent of any record label, selling 35,000 units in its first week.



To celebrate the release of Konnichiwa, Skepta crashed Camden’s prestigious KOKO venue with a sold-out crowd of energetic fans that rapped every bar from the album less than a week after it’s much-anticipated release. After shifting 15,000 copies in its first 24hours, Konnichiwa knocked Beyonce off the top spot of the UK Charts and finished the week at number two, Skepta’s highest charting position ever. This night was the culmination of years of hard-work and speculation and saw Skep get joined on stage by his family and crew, Boy Better Know. Skepta’s KOKO show was actually less of a celebration than it was foreshadowing of things to come.



On the 24th of June, Skepta made his Glastonbury debut on the world’s most famous festival stage – the Pyramid Stage. Delivering an enthusiastic and lively set to an audience that was just as lively, Skepta was shutting down (pardon the pun) the same stage that was once walked by artists such as Kanye West, David Bowie, Adele, Metallica, Beyonce and Oasis, to name a few. This Glasto set meant that Skepta was booked to play both Glastonbury and Coachella in the same year, two of the world’s biggest music festivals. Never mind that certain situations meant that Skeppy wasn’t able to make his Coachella date, the fact that this almost happened is an achievement in itself.



Within two hours of being announced, Skepta sold out the 10,500 capacity Alexandra Palace. This incredible feat came only a week after Skepta’s Mercury Prize nomination, which we’ll get onto later. By the time the show comes to happen on December 2nd, later this year, it will have been 7 months since the release of Konnichiwa and 20 months since the seismic release of lead single “Shutdown”. Skepta is planning to close out his Konnichiwa album cycle with a show-of-ages, a night that will go down in history as the send-off for a year that saw grime make an appearance on national news and saw culture-fueled tracks win prestigious national awards.



Last Friday, it was announced on prime-time, national television, that Skepta had won the 2016 Album of the Year at the Mercury Awards. Beating out the late David Bowie, Radiohead (who pipped him to the top spot in the album charts when Konnichiwa came out) and Kano, Skepta cemented Konnichiwa’s place in mainstream music history. Not only was the album a huge success within the grime scene, it proved to be a historic release on a grander scale. Think about this for a second. Skepta, the King of Grime, beat the late, great and iconic David Bowie to a commercial, industry lead Album of the Year Award. .

Skepta has breathed new life into the scene this year and gave it the wings it needed to become an industry powerhouse in the future. With BBK’s blessing, Grime is now starting to realise the potential that a lot of us knew it had all along.

Happy Birthday from everyone at GRM Daily, Skepta!