Skepta’s long-awaited fourth album, ‘Konnichiwa’, is finally coming. Tell your mother, tell your father, send a telegram.
Yes, five long years since 2011’s now-discarded ‘Doin’ It Again’ (the product of a time in Skepta’s life that was emphatically dismissed in ‘That’s Not Me’), the 33-year-old Tottenham MC is ready at long last to bring another full-length release to the party.
Arguably grime’s foremost superstar following an excellent 2015 (there was that Kanye KOKO show, the Shoreditch car park incident, the on-stage Drake collaboration – shall we go on?), Skepta’s power and influence has even extended Stateside, with all eyes on his blossoming bromance with Drake.
And so, with ‘Konnichiwa’’s official announcement dropping last night, here are the key points about the album to get you up to speed ahead of that May release. Go on then, go on then.
When is ‘Konnichiwa’ going to be released?
This is the question that, after much guesswork and exasperation, we can now conclusively answer. Skepta announced both the tracklist (see below) and the release date for ‘Konnichiwa’ last night, giving fans a specific date to circle wildly on their personal calendar.
And that date in question? Oh, it’s: 6th May 2016.
Do we know the tracklist?
That we do – Skepta also kindly released that information to the public last night, along with a link to pre-order the album on iTunes. Have you got yours yet?
Lyrics (featuring Novelist)
Corn on the Curb (featuring Wiley and Chip)
It Ain’t Safe (featuring Young Lord)
Ladies Hit Squad (featuring D Double E and A$AP Nast)
Numbers (featuring Pharrell Williams)
That’s Not Me (featuring JME)
Detox (featuring BBK)
Text Me Back
There’s speculation that ‘Based on a True Story’ and ‘Tracksuit Mafia’ could also feature, possibly as bonus tracks. But aren’t 12 tracks enough?
Have we heard any songs from it yet?
Yes – yes we have. The likes of 2014’s ‘That’s Not Me’ and ‘It Ain’t Safe’ have already attained legendary status in the grime world, while the all-conquering ‘Shutdown’ is probably a song that even your mum knows by this point.
Elsewhere, we’ve also heard the sultry ‘Ladies Hit Squad’ (released on Valentine’s Day, of course) that features fellow London MC D Double E and A$AP Mob associate A$AP Nast. The latest track to drop, though, was ‘Man (Gang)’, which accompanied the big album reveal.
What will it sound like?
Great question. That new single ‘Man (Gang)’ samples, quite brilliantly, Queen of the Stone Age’s ‘Regular John’ to lay down an intimidating instrumental that permits Skepta to call out the clingers-on: “I don’t know why man’s calling me family all of a sudden / Like ‘hmm’, my mum don’t know your mum, stop calling me cousin”. ‘Shutdown’ co-producer Ragz Orignale has had a hand in the making of the track, as well as closing song ‘Text Me Back’ – expect him to be involved even more across ‘Konnichiwa’.
It’ll also be interesting to see what surprise guest Pharrell brings to the party with ‘Numbers’ – will his presence bring the ‘Happy’ Pharrell, or that “old Skateboard P”? Skepta shed some light on working with Williams during a recent interview with Zane Lowe on Beats Radio:
“Pharrell loves music. I don’t know how much money he has, or how much he’s trying to make. But I know whatever financial situation he’s in his music is always going to be sick. When I’m in the studio with him it’s like I’m working with someone I’ve known all my life.
“I knew I had an obligation to represent the country when I did this album. Not just different MCs, but sonically. I know what is on my back with this album and I’ve got every element from London needed. I don’t want to announce the MCs but it’s very well rounded. And Pharrell’s blessed me. People respect him. I don’t think grime has ever been respected, it’s not seen as a nice sound. But having Pharrell bless my album, maybe you can see that the freeness of his music; that’s what we’re doing as well.”
With no obvious sign of BFF Drake on that much-anticipated iTunes tracklist, what glimmers of hope are there that he might be involved on the final cut? Well, there’s the subtle owl adornment that was added to the tracklist reveal over on Instagram: peep the lettering for ‘Shutdown’:
Then there’s the obligatory BBK cut ‘Detox’ – although the credits don’t mention Drake, there’s an outside chance that he might be involved as Boy Better Know are billed to feature on the track. Might the crew’s latest Toronto recruit have snuck in a quick eight-bar?
Is he touring this year?
Skepta loves playing shows, so, yes, if you’re going to a festival this year, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ll be able to witness Joseph Junior Adenuga shutting down a stage or tent somewhere on site. And with the album now officially dropping in May, it’s likely that he’ll later embark on a solo UK tour in the autumn, too – so keep your eyes peeled for that one.
Here are his confirmed UK dates so far:
Saturday 11 June 2016
Field Day – Victoria Park, London
Sunday 12 June 2016
Wild Life – Brighton City Airport, Brighton
Wednesday 22 June 2016 – Sunday 26 June 2016
Glastonbury Festival, Worthy Farm
Thursday 08 September 2016 – Sunday 11 September 2016
Bestival, Isle of Wight