Photo: Olivia Rose
There’s simply no denying that Skepta is one of the most prolific grime artists of all time. Even in 2019, a crowd goes absolutely ballistic at the opening melody on 2015’s “Shutdown” because it’s just that influential. Skepta’s not an up-and-comer anymore — he’s been churning out music at a ridiculous pace while working on his own streetwear line, collaborating with Nike, and becoming a father — but he’s successfully stayed true to his roots through each phase of his career.
As the follow-up to his 2016 record Konnichiwa, Skepta’s latest full-length record finds the UK grime legend caught up in what life is like after a rapid come-up. Ignorance Is Bliss features 13 songs, a couple of which were released as singles in the months prior to release, complete with music videos. Opening with the honest, straightforward “Bullet From A Gun,” Skepta’s lyricism goes beyond the streets of London and delves into his new life as a father and entrepreneur — but don’t fret, he’s still got it. There’s really no one else who possesses Skepta’s signature flow; I could listen to him freestyle about literally anything and still be hooked. Thankfully, his words throughout Ignorance Is Bliss totally hit the spot, and you can still count on the man himself to offer his cheeky, overzealous attitude on each tune. As far as the production on this record, Skepta pulls from classic ’90s hip-hop and true grime sounds alike to set the back-to-basics vibe. Like on “What Do You Mean?” with J Hus, Skepta hops on the beat as if it’s meant for a freestyle session.
In regards to the all-around listening experience, there’s nothing that turns me off about this record: it’s Skepta in his most natural state, but with more life experiences since his explosive rise in the mid-2010s. Refined yet ruthless, Ignorance Is Bliss is a worthy offering from the legend himself. Listen below.