Album Of The Week: Skepta Ignorance Is Bliss

“A bunch of young men in black dancing extremely aggressively onstage — it made me feel so intimidated. And it’s not just what I expect to see on primetime TV.” That voice — British, female, unmistakably white — blows through “Shutdown,” the monster single that the London MC Skepta released in 2015. Skepta had just been onstage at the Brit awards — him and virtually every other major figure from the resurgent grime scene — dancing alongside Kanye West as West performed his otherwise dead-on-arrival single “All Day.” That little monologue was staged, not sampled from a news program or anything. And yet it represented all the forces arrayed against Skepta, and against grime in general, as the genre was going through a sudden out-of-nowhere creative and commercial boom — a boom kicked off by Skepta himself.

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