It’s a London thing
Grime’s popularity in its hometown has been something to celebrate in youth culture, collaboration and black British identity. In 2015, giving fans just a few hours’ notice, Skepta packed out a Shoreditch car park with an impromptu rave, free and unticketed. This moment underscored a surge in his influence and popularity which the following year proved more than true when he took home the 2016 Mercury Prize. Skepta changed the course for the genre yet again and amplified London’s distinct musical voice.
While he’s come a long way, Skepta has always shared the success (‘I've gotta do these shows / Cause I ain't tryna see another tear run down your nose / Nah, mum, your son's got ambition’, from ‘Text Me Back’). In 2017, he took all the proceeds from a sold-out show in London and gave £30,000 to Shelter, a charity tackling homelessness and bad housing in England, and spearheaded positive change in his local Tottenham community where he ran music production workshops.
Skepta tells the story of his borough and the looks that made him through his work in fashion. A collaboration with Nike (black-and-red Air Max ‘97 colourways) and his unisex label MAINS (a runway take on the classic tracksuit) prove he’s one of urban culture’s only icons that can lay claim to his origins.
“I’m not a rapper, I’m an activist.”