Grime has well and truly become the greatest export in modern British music. The process was cemented last night (September 15th) as Skepta, one of the most respected and loved figures in the genre, won the widely coveted Mercury Prize with his fourth studio album, Konnichiwa. Not only did he beat other UK artists such as Radiohead and Stormzy to the award - but he also beat David Bowie, who ran with his final album Blackstar
Konnichiwa is Skepta's fourth studio album. It was released after a number of delays on May 6th 2016 by Boy Better Know. Greatly influenced by Japan, the album was launched with a party in Tokyo on May 5th 2016 and broadcast around the world via live stream on the Boiler Room. Skepta performed the entire album live alongside supporting performances from Japanese artists such as Dutch Montana and DJ Riki.
The album had four singles - including three anthems such as "Shutdown", "Man" and "That's Not Me". He's joined on various tracks in the album by the likes of JME, Novelist, Pharrell Williams and Wiley. The album peaked at number 2 on the UK albums chart, as well as charting well in countries such as the United States, Sweden and Belgium.
As he received the award to a rapturous applause, surrounded by his crew, he took the podium in tears. He thanked everyone that made the album possible, from his producers and A&Rs, through to his parents and childhood friends. In his speech, he wanted to make sure that it was known that the award was not a win for him, but a win for grime, the genre that has grown up in the pirate radio stations of East London into a global phenomena. As a result, the movement is set to garner a great deal more attention from publications such as the Guardian, Billboard and NME. In our editorial opinion, it's about time.
Watch Skepta's acceptance speech after winning the Mercury Prize 2016