Skepta, still unsigned, wins major Mercury Prize award

  /  09.16.2016

UK-bred rapper Skepta won the acclaimed annual Mercury Prize yesterday, beating out the likes of English legends David Bowie and Radiohead and making him the first grime artist to do so since fellow lyricist Dizzee Rascal in 2003.

The unsigned rapper received the award for his Konnichiwa album to the shock, awe, and applause of both himself and his contagiously supportive entourage:

During his acceptance speech, Skepta noted that he achieved the feat sans major label support, saying:

“I’ve been trying to do this and work out this music for so long…No record label, nothing, and we just traveled the world. We just did this for us. But the love is very appreciated.”

He elaborated when speaking to the press at a post-show winners conference, saying about his victory:

“It’s not a revolution for grime, it’s a revolution for freedom. I just wanted to know what happens when you do it yourself. This [winning awards] happens. People are going to listen to grime more. I want to inspire other genres, not just grime. I want people to think ‘Why am I with this record label? What’s it doing for me? I’m getting out because of Skepta.’”

Sharing the win with Skepta, it seems, were other musicians who took to social media to congratulate him, like collaborator Drake and fellow English artists Adele and Disclosure:

Prior to his win, the MC used his performance of major single “Shutdown” to make a social statement, spitting his rhymes in front of photographs of Black Lives Matter protests.

But it was Skepta’s mother who stole the show upon dancing alongside him during his acceptance speech and dropping gems in a backstage interview:

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