Skepta on his relationship with Adele, Black Lives Matter and winning the Mercury Prize

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2016 has been a good year for Skepta. His album, Konnichiwa was well accepted and he found the type of success not reserved for Grime artists with his winning the Mercury Prize beating out the iconic David Bowie.


In a detailed interview with London’s Evening Standard, he spoke on a range is topics- some of which we’ll highlight below.

On winning the Mercury Prize

‘It honestly hasn’t sunk in yet, I’m still in that night in my head, just remembering that it’s a moment I should always be happy about.’

‘I stayed [at the afterparty] for a little bit then I just went home, sat on the beanbag in my front room and just looked out of the window for, like, five hours,’ he says. ‘I just stayed there by myself. The thing about awards is that a lot of those moments are about the whole world telling you that you deserve it and rah, rah, rah. I’m very appreciative of that but I love experiencing stuff by myself. Because it feels different. You know the truth and you can hear what the voice in your head is saying properly.’

On bullying at school

‘Bullying is bullying, man. Even the biggest of the bullies got bullied. And what was happening in school comes from the media, innit? It comes from TV and society. How can a Jamaican cuss someone for being African, when they’re from there? It’s just complete confusion and ignorance. I don’t blame any Jamaicans, I don’t hold any grudges.’

On his attitude to Police

‘I stay away from the police, I don’t want to get killed by them. Someone I know has been killed by them and I hope no one else I know gets killed by them.’

On Black Lives Matter hitting the UK

‘I’ve been to a few protests before and the thing I protested about still happened after.’  ‘[I know] the intention of protest is to make noise and stand up for something but I don’t know if I’d actually go to a protest again. I don’t want to kill no one, I don’t want to hurt anyone, I don’t want to bomb anywhere and I don’t think my friends want to do that either. I think that’s the better solution. If it comes from within then there’s nothing to protest about. This is not me in no way, shape or form saying I support any of these things that are happening. I hate them, they shouldn’t be happening.’ . ‘One day people are going to think we’re crazy for asking why a white person can’t protest for black people.’

‘I don’t watch the news, because I understand that I’m like a science lab. Whatever I take in is how I feel. If I play GTA then jump in my car and drive around and someone tries to cut me up I’m like, “What the f*** are you doing?” I can feel it. But if I listen to some jazz or some nice Fela Kuti before I leave the house and then someone’s being foolish outside, I’m like: “Come on, bro.” I can see how I deal with them. The reason they show black-on-black crime and police killing black people is so it’s in my mind — so I hate feds. They want me to not like them. But how about I don’t even care about them? I don’t believe that they exist? Before, I used to see a police car drive past and I’d look at them and think, “Are they gonna chase me?” It was just in my mind. Now, to me, it’s just like a bus. It’s just another car. Stop looking at it Junior, you haven’t done anything so stop inviting them into your world. All these things are invited [in our minds] by these people that want us to see it and fear it.’

‘Adele texts me all the time and keeps me in check,’ he says, about his fellow Tottenham native. ‘She speaks to me about how things are going. She’s one of the people I know that, from her [example] alone, you can move in a certain way where you’re not inviting fame. She’s the biggest artist in the world, bro, and you do not see her in the papers [every day].’ So will they collaborate on a song? ‘With those kind of things, I don’t really know,’ he says. ‘With Drake and Adele, I’m happy firstly that they respect me as an artist and a man.’ 

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