UK Culture Minister Matt Hancock has claimed to be a fan of Mercury Prize-winning grime MC Skepta despite not being able to name a single song by the artist.
The Mirror reports that Hancock was speaking backstage at the Mercury Prize after-party on Thursday night (September 15) when he said: “I’ve just met Skepta, why wouldn’t I be here? We listen to it in the back of the ministerial car.”
Asked to name his favourite track, Hancock reportedly turned to an aide, asking: “Jonathan, help me out here.” The aide is said to have then prompted him of the song that Skepta performed live at the ceremony, ‘Shutdown’.
Hancock – the Tory MP for West Suffolk – added of Skepta: “He tells a story of his background, but the thing that excites me is he can break through. I don’t like to wallow in poverty. I think wherever you come from, you can make it.”
“Grime represents modern Britain… the entrepreneurial, go-getting nature. It speaks that wherever you come from you can make it.”
Hancock later took to Twitter to congratulate Skepta on winning the Mercury Prize. See that tweet beneath.
— Matt Hancock (@MattHancock) September 16, 2016
Skepta’s winning album ‘Konnichiwa’ beat David Bowie’s ‘Blackstar’ and Radiohead’s ‘A Moon Shaped Pool’ to take home the award.
Speaking at a press conference after his win, Skepta said: “I really did this for people to see freedom. I want to inspire people who do other genres of music too to be: ‘Why am I with this record label? I don’t understand what they’re doing for me. They tell me what to do. When I first came in here, they told me I’d have all the freedom I could have, but now I’m in this deal, I don’t feel like myself any more, I’m getting out. Because Skepta and Boy Better Know did it.’ I want this to get into people’s heads. This is real. I’m not signed. This is independent.”
Skepta added that, nine years after his debut album ‘Greatest Hits’, he was glad that his win had come at this stage of his career.
He said: “I’m happy that it’s happening at this stage in my life. When I was younger, I was very wild and I didn’t really have my head screwed on properly. So I’m happy that people are finding me at this stage of my life, because I’m much more content, much more comfortable, much more relaxed, and my swagger’s the one I want to go out to the world. The positive one, rather than the negative one.”