WHO: Kanye-approved MC from Tottenham, north London. 2015 has been by far the best year of his career.
WHY: Skepta began the year much like he would any other: by minding his own business and working on new music, in this case his upcoming fourth album ‘Konnichiwa’. His 2014 single ‘That’s Not Me’ was heralded as spearheading a grime revival, but holed up in his parents’ Palmers Green house, the 32-year-old rapper (real name Joseph Junior Adenuga) wasn’t thinking of world domination.
But on February 25, Skepta found himself at the centre of a flamethrower-touting mob of UK grime MCs (including Novelist, Stormzy and Skepta’s brother JME) surrounding Kanye West onstage at the BRIT Awards. That performance thrust Skepta under the spotlight, where he’d remain for the rest of the year. When Kanye followed it up by admitting he and Skepta had been hitting the studio together, the buzz intensified.
In April, Skepta and his mates brought a corner of east London to a standstill with a guerilla gig in a car park to celebrate the launch of ‘Shutdown’, which went on to be named NME’s Track of the Year.
Last month, Skepta tried to explain his seismic year: “I’ve grown up with all different cultures. Somewhere inside I’ve always known people all over the world would understand me.”
WHAT HE SAYS: “I believe in my talent so much, it’s crazy.”
WHAT PEOPLE SAY ABOUT HIM: “Watching Skepta is a reminder that whenever you think you’re good at what you do there’s most likely people out there that will yam your food.” – Drake
HOW HE MADE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE: Skepta’s rise has been based on hard work and good vibes, and you can never have too much of either.
Read about why we picked the rest of our People of the Year 2015:
Taylor Swift – For establishing herself as the most powerful pop star on the planet
Kendrick Lamar – For making rap righteous again
The Libertines – For the year’s most beautiful (and unlikely) comeback
Mhairi Black – For changing the face of British politics
Miley Cyrus – For refusing to conform, and celebrating diversity
Nicki Minaj – For speaking out on race, gender and sexuality
Mathieu Flamini – For trying to save the world with his geo-energy company GF Biochemicals
Adele – For breaking every record in music history
Jennifer Lawrence – For being the year’s best role model
JJ Abrams – For re-awakening The Force
Noel Gallagher – For cutting through the crap and making us laugh