Earlier today (Jan. 10), Skepta unexpectedly found himself in hot water over the official artwork for his upcoming single, “Gas Me Up (Diligent).” The image, which has since been taken down, depicted a group of men with shaved heads, one of whom bore a tattoo of the song’s title. As a result, many have criticized the British talent for creating a scene that was reminiscent of the Holocaust.
In response, Skepta tweeted his remorse for using the artwork while explaining its intended meaning.
“I’ve been waiting to drop ‘Gas Me Up (Diligent)’ since teasing it April last year, [and I] worked hard getting the artwork right for my album rollout, which is about my parents coming to the U.K. in the ’80s, [skinheads], [and] football culture,” he wrote. “It has been taken offensively by many and I can promise you that was definitely not our plan, so I have removed it, and I vow to be more mindful going forward.”
Not long after, Skepta returned to Twitter with a change of heart. “I can honestly see how my single artwork without context can be deemed offensive, especially in a time like this but, again, that was not my intention,” he added. “After some thought, I don’t feel like I could continue being the artist you all know and love if my art is policed. I have to quit if I can’t express my art as I see it.” He then shared a mood board that he hopes will help his followers understand his vision — both for “Gas Me Up (Diligent)” and his forthcoming LP, Knife and Fork.
Outside of the music, Skepta also announced a premiere date for Tribal Mark, which is being released through his 1PLUS1 production company. As reported by Hypebeast, the film — which the Boy Better Know frontman also stars in — will be screened in select theaters from Jan. 26 to Feb. 11.