Skepta, A British-Nigerian Grime MC, Has Won the 2016 Mercury Prize

Skepta's been awarded the 2016 Hyundai Mercury Prize for his fourth album 'Konnichiwa.'

Grime has arrived.

Well, really, it's been here for more than a long minute but, for many, the genre's climbed another step in popularity today as Skepta's been awarded the 2016 Hyundai Mercury Prize for his fourth album Konnichiwa.

Skepta's album beat the likes of Radiohead, Laura Mvula, Michael Kiwanuka, The 1975 and even David Bowie to win the award.

During his performance at the Mercury Prize, the grime MC gave a nod to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Skepta, who's of Nigerian descent (real name: Joseph Junior Adenuga), brought his crew and his Nigerian parents on stage with him to accept the award. In an emotional speech, he thanked "my mum and dad, and all my friends' mums and dads."

His album Konnichiwa features hits like "Shutdown" and "That's Not Me," and its title track shouts out Wizkid.

Skepta was also the person responsible for first playing “Ojuelegba” for Drake, which sparked the monster remix that catapulted Wizkid into his current reigning spot.

With this win, Skepta becomes the second grime act to win the Mercury Prize, following Dizzee Rascal in 2003.

See some tweet reactions to Skepta's Mercury Prize win below.



6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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