Skepta has spent the best part of 20 years at the helm of contemporary British culture. Constantly moving to secure his relevancy, his maturity within grime demonstrates a story of growth rarely seen in the genre, carrying him right through the fatherhood and ‘no fake friends’ attitude that fuels his fifth album.
The beats and melodies of ‘Ignorance is Bliss’ are noticeably more commercial throughout, and it suits him. In a manner not dissimilar to the likes of Drake, he balances vulnerability in his lyrics with the kind of fire braggadocio that connects, inspires and perhaps most importantly, amuses. The music may be slicker (‘Bullet From A Gun’, ‘What Do You Mean’), but the inimitable sense of Britishness remains intact; from ‘Love Me Not’’s ‘Murder On The Dancefloor’ sample to ‘You Wish’’s quip “must have been talking about sex if I ever said I was gonna come second,” there’s no doubting that this is the same top boy we fell in love with all those years ago.
Grime is bigger than ever, and having been the force that provided the platform for many younger artists to come through and thrive, 2019’s Skepta finds himself in a position where he has the opportunity to step out of the melee and secure the next stage of his future. On ‘Ignorance Is Bliss’, he more than succeeds, displaying ambition in a way that feels both authentic to his roots but reflective of the global audience that his music now affords. Don’t be surprised if he’s still around in another 20 years.