skepta shuts down koko, the charts, life
The Boy Better Know leader put on a stellar performance proving just why he’s the King of Grime right now.
It's been a pretty crazy week for Skepta. Not only has it lit up the UK charts, but new album Konnichiwa has confirmed Skepta's status as an internationally respected artist. Last night marked the first of his last-minute UK tour dates to celebrate all that he's achieved with this album. From the JME assisted That's Not Me to Lyrics, every track Skepta releases deepens the presence and acceptance of real grime as its own entity on a global scale. According to Skepta's recent Time Out cover story, this is all he ever wanted. "Everyone is trying to do a UK ting in a UK accent," Skepta declares before closing the show with Man. "This is like Independence Day."
1. Skepta can sell out a show in seconds
This mini UK tour to celebrate the release of Konnichiwa was only announced late last week. Originally billed to take place at a venue half the size, over the weekend it was relocated to 1,500-strong Camden hotspot KOKO. Even still, it only took a matter of minutes for that little email link to go all 404 on you. If you're really a true fan and didn't manage to hustle yourself in last night, then you can still catch the show across the UK this week, including Birmingham tonight, Glasgow tomorrow and Manchester on Thursday.
2. Skepta is a humble guy
Sitting atop the iTunes charts this week, amongst the likes of Beyoncé, Kanye West and Drake, is a big deal for a UK artist; especially a grime artist that genuinely dropped a grime album. But as JME makes Maximum wheel Shutdown to stress the significance of it being an Ivor Novello nominated song, Jamie turns to his brother for his take on it all. The response? A simple "thank you".
There were some mutterings about who would be the support act, or whether or not Skeppy even needed a support act. To the delight of many, BBK familia Frisco claimed the spot. Having just dropped his album, System Killer, the crowd was definitely warmed up by the time Skepta took to the stage.
4. KOKO needs new air conditioning
The swear was dripping before Frisco's set was even finished. To say things got stuffy -- and that was before multiple rums were downed -- would be severely understating things.
5. Jammer plus mic equals instant hype
Before Jahmek the World can get out his, "I'm a big man but…" or "It's the Murkle…" Maximum has automatically reloaded the track because the crowd has gone nuts. Even if Jammer just stands next to another MC, it's an inevitable reload; he hypes them up to a whole other level.
6. The UK scene is stronger united
Skepta is deep in this game of grime, so obviously there are collaborations left, right and centre. But beyond that, he took time out of his own show to allow his brothers to do their thing. Frisco opened of course, alongside fellow BBK dons JME, Jammer, Shorty and Solo. Then "youngest in charge", Chip rolled through, next up was Novelist, plus Skepta's favourite MC, D Double E. Hollowman don Giggs joined JME which sent the crowd wild, and last but not least Wiley - like actual real life Wiley - showed up. "Wiley will always be the godfather of grime", Skepta affirms, but it's when Man drops that you see genuine scenes. With over 50 man onstage, it's a miracle Skepta managed to get any of his bars out with the on-stage mosh pit antics.
7. Konnichiwa may be concise but it's pure quality
At only 12 tracks long, there may have been a few initial grumblings about the length of Konnichiwa, but when it's full of quality bangers, what's the problem? Plus, Konnichiwa is 100% Joseph Junior Adenuga. With the help of Bar Blakie, who produced Crime Riddim, Ragz who helped open and close the album (including smash Shutdown), and Pharell's Numbers (which nobody is mad at let's be real), Skepta can feel comfortable knowing he made an album with his own sound and style. It must feel good going worldwide with your own work, on your own terms.
8. Preditah and Solo created a classic
Putting aside Skepta's own stellar performance for a second, I do not care where you are, what you are doing, who you are amongst, when Feed Em To The Lions comes on, you go mad. I've witnessed EZ mix and reload this Preditah jam at a festival over and over again and it received the same reaction each time; the crowd erupts. Considering how long it's been around -- it's official airing being at 2014's Red Bull Culture Clash -- the song has serious legs; it's not turning down anytime soon.
9. The T-shirt game is still very, very healthy
Everyone seemed to get the all-black memo, with many sporting the Konnichiwa inspired collection, including the sold-out It Ain't Safe sweatshirts.
10. Skepta has become bigger than Skepta
A few tracks into his set and Skepta stops to make the crowd toast to the success of Konnichiwa. "We did this together" he begins, "this is a moment. Don't watch the operation, it's airtight. We are sitting on top of greats right now in greezemode". With Konnichiwa currently sat at Number One on the charts - ahead of Beyonce and Drake no less - all hail the King of Grime, all hail his faithful supporters! Trusssss mi daddy!
Text Nardene Scott
Photography Ashley Verse