Grime has been travelling to America with momentum over the last few years, and it feels as though Skepta is at the centre of the export. His latest release goes a little further to prove this with featured appearances from British and American rappers including Pharrell Williams.
Existing fans should find a lot to like on Konnichiwa, with some impressive lines on tracks including “Lyrics” and “Crime Riddim”, and a healthy portion of bass led instrumentals that have a familiar grime feel. Those listening more closely however, will hear some slightly more awkward rhymes across the album, with a notable reduction in British slang compared to other grime releases. Collaborations with US rappers also have a noticeable change in instrumental style with “Ladies Hit Squad” and “Numbers” both sounding distinctly different to other tracks.
Conversations scattered throughout the album combine with primary tracks to make something of an introduction to Skepta for newcomers, offering some insight into the artistry that went into constructing the record. A strong anti-establishment theme lines the album, which is nothing new but very distinct.
While there are issues to be had with Konnichiwa, it makes for a good listen even for those outside of the genre. If you’re just looking for some jumpy, bass driven rap, you’ll certainly find it here. “Crime Riddim” and “Numbers” are notable highlights, and many will be happy to see the inclusion of the already well known “Shutdown” and “That’s Not Me”. If nothing else, it’s good to take note of Konnichiwa as it comes at a time when grime continues to develop and grow on an international scale, and it will be interesting to see what impact the album has.