There’s no denying Skepta’s influence when it comes to UK music. From his days as a DJ in Tottenham’s Meridian Crew, to forming the iconic collective Boy Better Know with his brother JME, Skepta has been repping grime music since its humble beginnings. “ ’
Skepta’s early work as a producer with beats like ‘DTI (Pirate Station Anthem)’ helped shape the aggression and authenticity that solidified grime’s place in the London streets. He continued this with his classic clash with Devilman in 2006, an iconic radio set in 2008, and his fan-favourite album Microphone Champion in 2009. In 2015, he positioned the genre for global expansion with Konnichiwa, an album that featured hit singles like ‘Shutdown’ and ‘That’s Not Me’. He’s also stormed the BRIT awards with Kanye West, crashed Drake’s Wireless Festival set in 2015, and stolen the show on ASAP Rocky’s ‘Praise Tha Lord’. He never conforms to trends, and continues to push both the sounds and ideologies of grime on a worldwide scale. Now with the release of his fifth studio album Ignorance Is Bliss, and dozens of new grime movements starting around the world, it’s safe to call Skepta both a pioneer and a progressive.
In Australia, the hip-hop scene has evolved into a stomping ground of grime-influenced youth. All around the country there’s small, grassroots musical movements doing large, mainstream numbers. From acts like the fast-spitting, fierce-witted Wombat, who is channelling the aggression of grime in a uniquely Australian fashion to OneFour from West Sydney, a collective that’s already been labelled as Australia’s answer to drill music. The group have so far demonstrated a progression of style that showcases Australia’s unique culture, yet shares that sense of authenticity that is integral to the UK’s rap scene.
It seems the love is mutual, with Skepta himself telling Triple J “I love all the Australian drill artists doing their own thing out there. OneFour, there’s a lot of vibes out there”
In celebration of Skepta’s new album, we’ve rounded up five of our favourite Australian acts to touch on the influence of Skepta, and the impact grime music has had on the local hip-hop scene.
‘Ignorance is Bliss’ is out now.