Skepta has long been considered a pioneer of the grime scene. Hailing from Nigerian descent, the North London visionary is a man of many talents with a long resume encompassing most roles in the industry, from his roots as a a DJ in Meridian Crew, to rapper/songwriter and even more recently a producer. In recent months he has shown no signs of backing off the game, with an endless stream of bangers and new album expected to drop this year (we told you this was his year). Far from allowing his Grime niche – typically a fundamentally British and urban genre with very little mainstream success – to box him in; he’s no stranger to big time collaborations.
A close friendship between himself and Drake unexpectedly arose earlier this year, with the Canadian rapper even immortalising the bond with a BBK tattoo. The good thing is Skepta’s efforts are often recognised, having picked up a MOBO award last year for a music video which cost him just £80 to put together and yesterday winning his second, this time round for ‘Best Song’, on account of his sensational and definitive ‘That’s Not Me’.
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But last night was a very different affair from his previous MOBO success. As his name was called there was some clear confusion on stage before it became very obvious that Skepta was not there to receive his award. In an attempt to breeze past the incident it was announced:
Skepta couldn’t be with us tonight but we’ll make sure he gets this.
It’s not uncommon for artists to miss award ceremonies; if they’re good enough to be winning awards they’re likely in high demand and have commitments across the globe. Usually if a star is abroad they might accept the award via video link or by pre-recorded message, sometimes someone else will collect on their behalf. But this was not the case. Skepta had made no prior arrangements, there was no video, no apology, no one to stand in for this Tottenham rude boy. Furthermore, there was no real reason that he couldn’t attend.
In the end, it didn’t take a detective or hours of sleuthing to uncover where the rapper was last night: there are pictures of him on FaceTime to his fans plastered all over social media:
And yesterday afternoon, while his peers were getting ready for the evening, Skepta tweeted the link to new tune ‘Top Boy’, which begins with the rapper giving out what is apparently his mobile number.
The song, which is from his recent Tim Westwood mixtape, features the line:
I won a MOBO last year, still they ain’t sent me an award to put on the mantel piece.
Which is, perhaps, simultaneously a dig at the MOBO’s and an explanation of his absence this time round. He seems to have decided that rather than spend an evening at an event he neither supports or believes in, he wanted to give back to the people who got him there; using the best part of the evening to text, FaceTime and take calls from his fans.
Later on, Skepta then cryptically tweeted this after the MOBO’s aired:
Regardless of the meaning behind all of this, it’s great to see an artist give back to their fans as Skepta just did. It must have had all of the people who were lucky enough to get through to him pretty excited. I belled him up too but haven’t had a reply, I guess he must just have too many man trying. If you’re a sad case like me redialling Skepta’s number waiting for him to pick up, minimise the tedium by taking a look at these unbelievable paintings of grime stars.