Skepta’s Konnichiwa not only cemented his legendary grime status, it is a testament to the independent label. It illustrated what can be achieved through grit, determination and loyalty in the fact of conformation and pop stardom.
The album had been teased since 2013, so to say that Konnichiwa was heavily anticipated is a bit of an understatement. Humorous slang is welded together with vicious lyrics, the crosshairs aimed in the direction of the media, the police, the government and pop culture.
It’s this DIY culture, that other grime artists such as Novelist have adopted, that has drawn comparisons with the punk scene. Grime is viewed as a modern version, a constant struggle against the establishment, ideally leading to an uprising and revolution.
In a musical sense, Konnichiwa has taken grime to a popularity level that did not seem possible. A grime album held of Beyonce’s ‘Lemonade’ in the album charts. Drake, arguably the biggest rapper around right now in terms of popularity, has signed to BBK, an independent grime label from London. The BRIT’s may not have recognised grime as a major influence on modern music, but Skepta as well and truly established the UK scene is a force to be reckoned with.
In a genre that is primarily single based it’s hard to choose an album to compare it to. Boy In Da Corner is the obvious choice, but I feel it’s unfair to draw comparisons between the two. After all, Dizzee’s album is something of legend, only time will tell if Konnichiwa leaves as big a mark on UK culture as Rascal’s masterpiece.
09 / 09
Redeye to Paris w/ Flatbush Zombies
When I look at the US/UK grime hip hop crossovers I get my screwface on. Some are very questionable; Chip went and turned to pop. Krept & Konan jetted off and I don’t think I’m the only one that lost complete interest. Even a few of Skepta’s collaborations have been poor; Ladies Hit Squad on Konnichiwa was arguably the weakest track on the album and Ojuelegba with Drake wasn’t what I was expecting at all.
Redeye to Paris with Flatbush Zombies is Skepta’s strongest US collaborate to date. Every artist kills it. Meechy Darko, Zombie Juice and Erick Arc Elliott do an excellent job on not only their verses, but the production too, and I can’t help but feel they kept Skepta’s verse to last just to formally introduce him to their US fans.