Ten Skepta facts: Grime MC on hipster hate and ‘British dream’ at Manchester Red Bull Music Academy talk

After stepping off an eight hour flight from New York to Manchester, grime MC Skepta kicked back to sit comfortably on the Red Bull music tour sofa with journalist Hattie Collins.

The grime lyricist took his loyal Manchester crowd, who filled the chairs of the Albert Hall, on a journey of nostalgia, identity and music.

With singles That’s Not Me and Shutdown sending trebles through the scene and transcending onto mainstream music charts, the MC’s releases give a small indication into the sound of his fourth studio album Konnichiwa.  

Outfitted in his signature Sports Direct all black ensemble, Skepta’s blasé demeanor held steady throughout the conversation with long-time friend Hattie Collins.

However as the journalist delved a little deeper into the North London musician’s personal relationship with music, a forthright and refined manner took over the BBK member’s nonchalant, initial approach – schooling even the most knowledgeable of grime fan some home truths about the MC.

Here’s the 10 things we learnt about Skepta that we didn’t know before…

Skepta owes his Nazir Mazhar road inspired fashion sense to Manchester:

“You see man, in Manchester they’re chasing the p, they don’t care about all but fashion stuff.

“Manchester is straight greazy. You see a man in a black cap and black hoody tracksuit looking greazy, they’ve been on this thing for time.”

His favourite Manchester MC is Trigga:

“Trigga’s style is so sick he’s the epitome of Manchester gangster.”

Earl Sweatshirt may feature on upcoming album Konnichiwa:

“I really want Earl on my album man that’s got to happen… I was in the studio with him in LA.

“Some days nothing go made other days we’d just crack joke for the whole day and forget that we’ve not made anything. “

Skepta HATES email music:

“My whole ethos to music now is to make it as naturally as I can.

“I fucking hate email music where I’ll send you my verse and I’m going to do mine here.

“Nowadays you can hear it you can tell when two artists weren’t in the studio together and I think all that is played out.”

For the record… he is NOT a hipster:

“At one stage when I felt that the UK music scene was going a certain direction, I wasn’t happy with the music I was producing so I purposely took a risk to go back to square one and took a risk for  people to say ‘oh Skepta fell off’. People said I was shit, I got called weird.

“I also got called a hipster. What the fuck is that? How am I a hipster?”

Tour Bus Massacre was made on Skepta’s makeshift studio tour bus

“Myself, Krept and Konan were on tour and we reached Leicester and saw a music shop.

“Then I remembered the saying that goes ‘a carpenter is not a carpenter without his tools’.

“I said to myself ‘how can I be a musician without a studio?’”

“So I was like I’m going to put my studio on the bus and that’s where we made tour bus massacre… on the bus.”

Doesn’t accept drinks from ‘big’ rappers:

“I want to know before I work with you if I can fuck with you.

“Are you coming here to try and big me up just so that every radio stations get called?

“They just want to talk to me about Drake ad Kanye, like this is just free radio for them.

“I clocked it and that’s why I started moving away from that.

“If I like you as a person we’re going to make some music together.

“I’ve been meeting rappers here and in America and I don’t ask for anything, not a drink or even a fucking Rizla – nothing.

“And I think everybody should just move like that.”

He wants to build the British dream:

“We almost all aspire to make it in America, English people love that.

“The American dream just isn’t for man and the moment I realised that I just began to walk with integrity.

“We need to make the British dream and I hope I’ll still be alive to do it because I’m going to do it.”

His dad bought him Snoop Dog’s first album Doggystyle when he was just 11:

“I was waiting in the car outside Edmonton Shopping Centre… when he came out and handed me the tape.

“You know the cartoon one with the loads of rude pictures of boobs in the sleeve.

“It was that album that made me think ‘yeah I can do this’.”

The police shutdown his first ever DJ set when he was still in school… so he held it in his front room instead:

“I spent time handwriting my flyers for people at my school to come to my rave and so that girls would like man…

“Then the police just locked it off so we did it in my front room instead but I passed out an hour in because I got mad drunk.”

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