Let’s rewind back to 2016 when Skepta dropped one of the best Grime albums of this decade Konnichiwa. This project was quick to turn heads of many and undeniably did so. Soon setting pace for many of the younger generation who would sooner or later follow a similar path musically. Konnichiwa won a Mercury Prize and became a strong and bold statement for Grime specifically and has remained so to this present day. Forwarding onto to this year, Skepta has made a full return and is set to higher the mark he previously made back in 2016 with his brand new album Ignorance Is Bliss.
In between these times Skepta has released a handful of tracks and features. He has also designed and launched a high end streetwear line and Nike trainers, helped to set up youth facilities, been made a chief in Nigeria and posed alongside Naomi Campbell for a legendary shoot with GQ. Skepta also took a break from social media and changed his number to work on his album and focus on the right things. Amidst all of this, later last year he also took on the role of becoming a father.
Ignorance Is Bliss has a more honest approach. In a Q&A with Tiffany Calver, Skepta stated “I’ve never felt so vulnerable when I’ve released an album before”. Touching on responsibilities, reflecting and opening up about certain topics and feelings but still talking about the captivating lifestyle of a tastemaker. This album explores both sides of the court. Ignorance Is Bliss consists of 13 tracks with a mixture of solo material as well as features from J Hus, BBK, Wizkid, Lancey Foux and more. Skepta is no longer an underdog in the game. Having some of your cherished US rappers on call. Skepta has been helping to strengthen the UK Hip-Hop scene and making it a real force to be reckoned with over in States.
Prior to releasing the album, Skepta released both Bullet From A Gun and Greaze Mode which features Nafe Smallz. These 2 tracks ultimately set the tone and gave supporters a taste of what was to come. Bullet From A Gun opens up the album from a very honest and direct point of view. In interviews Skepta has said that his reasoning for dropping this track first was so that people will understand the comeback he is undertaking from Konnichiwa. Touching on the visuals for this track which in some ways is genius. The simplicity of the visuals allow you to still take in the depth of the bars and the message that Skepta is putting across instead of being distracted by what you are being shown. The vulnerability in the track has allowed a lot of supporters to see another side of Skepta, in some cases his thoughts have come from an introverted place allowing him to really reflect on himself. Fatherhood has also offered him a new perspective which he also discusses in the track “All I know is there’s no better feeling / Than gettin’ home and seein’ my little girl in a cot”
Whereas, Greaze Mode takes on more of a lively route with a bouncing beat and melodic hook which is delivered by no other than Nafe Smallz. LyricallyGreaze Mode celebrates the lifestyle more, Skepta delivers hard bars and comes in with a snappy flow “If I ain’t the headline then I must be a special guest!”. The visuals for Greaze Mode follows a story line which shows a dapper gangster and his partner in crime from the 70’s carrying out a bank robbery.
Glow In The Dark is another notable song on the album. This track features both WizKid and Lay-Z. In an interview with DJ Semtex, Skepta shared his thoughts on the track explaining how Glow In The Dark in particular meets in the middle of both Konnichiwa and Blacklisted. Stating that Konnichiwa was his best album sonically but Blacklisted through use of lyricism. In Blacklisted he speaks on the facts, psychology and the pain of life. Glow In The Dark represents Konnichiwa sonically through the beat but also represents Blacklisted through his use of hard and factual bars. The title of the song represents that throughout all the darkness Skepta has been through he is still out here glowing.
Going Through It has no hook but instead is just Skepta freestyling about the pain he’s been facing over the last 2 years.
What Do You Mean is one of the bangers off of the album which features J Hus channeling an inner 50 Cent vibe. An interesting yet genius sample used on the album was in Love Me Not which features Cheb Rabi and B Live. Skepta sampled UK hit Murder On The Dancefloor by Sophie Ellis-Bextor which compliments the track entirely. Animal Instinct starts off with silky synths and Skepta delivers a boastful verse “Such a poser / Front page in my boxers for the culture / Hang it on your wall, that’s a poster”. U.K talent Lancey Foux known for his hard lyricism covers the hook and second verse. No Sleep sonically represents the energy of London, really bringing back through the essence of Grime. Gangsta features the BBK crew which are undeniably hard join forces for this greazy track.
Overall, Ignorance Is Bliss is a confident and experimental album which digs deeper both sonically and lyrically. Skepta has yet again explored the boundaries of the genre and done so effortlessly.
MM Rating: 7/10
Let us know your thoughts on the album and what your favourite tracks are! You can stream Ignorance Is Bliss below.