The Wrap Up caught up with Skepta in Camden just before the lyricist took to the stage at youth charity event vInspired Live. The north Londoner spoke to us about his upcoming album ‘Konnichiwa’, saying we can expect a “fashion influenced, 8-bit grime based album”. The ‘Lay Her Down’ artist also spoke to us about receiving underwear from his female fans, what he sees in the future for Boy Better Know, and why he’d like to work with Kanye West…
The Wrap Up: What are your thoughts on vInspired Live?
Skepta: Anything that’s about youths being empowered, feeling stronger and believing in themselves more… I’m all for that.
TWU: You’re set to release your next album ‘Konnichiwa’ soon. What can you tell us about it?
Skepta: I’m a guy who always thinks back to the beginning of things; I wanted to take it back to the old school style of music, like 8-bit sounds - really basic sounds. The name ‘Konnichiwa’ just came from my love of the fashion in Japan. I thought of the name and tried to fuse it all together – a fashion, 8-bit grime based album.
TWU: Can you talk to us about who you’re working with on the album and have you got a release date in mind?
Skepta: ‘Lay Her Down’ is out now with Kano - that’s doing the rounds. So Kano is on there and I’m doing a track with, erm… I don’t really wanna say my features yet! I got some big features on there, it’s gonna be an exciting one.
I haven’t really released my first title track yet, but when I put that out and I gage how it’s doing and how people are receiving it, then I’ll decide on a [release] date closer to the time. I would like to give you so much more information!
TWU: How do you balance your love life with touring?
Skepta: I’m a grown man now, so I don’t need that much attention and that… I just focus on my music and whenever that time comes, it will come. But right now, I’m really focusing on what I love… and that’s music.
TWU: Do you have any crazy tour stories?
Skepta: Yeah, quite a lot. [Laughs] Most of them aren’t really about me; they’re about the people that I go with. I like to keep a crazy bunch of people around me, because especially with tours, I really just become this machine that works.
TWU: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve been given by a fan?
Skepta: I get the regular stuff; bras… knickers sometimes. Somebody gave me a poster one time of their name, number and a picture of them stuck to it, saying they wanted to sleep with me and s**t... I don’t think it’s got that crazy, [I haven’t received] something that makes me think ‘woah, what the f**k is going on?’ But it’s getting crazier.
TWU: You’ve worked with a lot of UK artists. Have you got any international collaborations coming up or is there anyone you’d like to work with?
Skepta: If there was one person I could work with it would probably be Kanye West. When I first started coming up, I always used to wanna work with people, but I realised people are at different stages of their career. So I try and really enjoy what I’m doing and somehow music always just makes you drift into people’s paths, you know what I mean? Five months ago I didn’t know [that] Dev Hynes would be hollering at me or Jessie Ware would be speaking to me. But since I’ve made ‘Lay Her Down’ - and I made that just because I love music - it makes me drift into their lives, with that old school disco genre.
TWU: Why would you like to work with Kanye?
Skepta: I think he’s one of the few Americans that are free. A lot of artists - and it’s not a bad thing, we all do it - we get into the music industry and think we’ve got this blueprint that we have to follow. But [with] Kanye West, I just feel like every time he brings a CD out, it might not be for everyone - just like my music, it might not be for everyone - but it’s always fresh, it’s always free. No one knows what Skepta’s gonna do. I’m just gonna do whatever I wanna do and just hope that the supporters keep supporting. I think Kanye’s one of those guys in the States that has that vibe for me.
TWU: Where do you see Skepta and Boy Better Know in the next five years?
Skepta: I just see us enjoying life. Music is life, innit. If everything goes wrong, if the radio stops supporting grime music then I see BBK in five years just really depressed somewhere, but still making sick tunes… I just see us doing us. That’s the main thing a lot of artists always need to remember; no matter what happens – money, fame, all this stuff, remember why you picked up the microphone in the first place. And that’s because you love music.
TWU: Have you got a message for The Wrap Up readers?
Skepta: If you enjoy my music just keep supporting; my album ‘Konnichiwa’ is in the making now and I’ve got some really good features on there from overseas and the UK. Love and peace to everyone, respect... I wish I could tell you some horrific stories, but my mum, she reads my Twitter all the time. Lately, I’ll tweet something and she’ll text me about it!
Words: Maz Khan (@MazHalima)