Skepta’s highly anticipated fourth studio album ‘Konnichiwa’ has had fans waiting not so patiently since his first single ‘That’s Not Me’ dropped in March 2014. Prior to ‘Konnichiwa’ Skepta has enjoyed some mainstream success, most notably his third LP ‘Doin’ It Again. His single releases from this album, however, have taken him to new levels of notoriety, and by the release of ‘Shutdown’ in spring 2015 Skepta was white hot.
The album itself is very solid. The production is the highlight as to have been expected, now that is not to criticise Skepta’s flow, which is excellent, but he is always going to be overshadowed by these clattering instrumentals. ‘Konnichiwa’, ‘Crime Riddim’ and ‘Detox’ were highlights as far as the beats are concerned, all incorporating the usual deep basslines and crisp hi-hats/snares. Going back to Skepta’s flow, he rides every song well and his voice seems to have been made specifically for this kind of sound so sonically there are few complaints.
Unfortunately, the album does not go much further than this and really is just a selection of hard grime bangers, other than ‘Ladies Hit Squad and ‘Numbers’ which feel out of place on Konnichiwa. Skepta does not really say anything thought provoking in his lyrics that hasn’t already been said by him before and this album does little in progressing him as an artist. He instead plays it very safe just expanding on what made the singles from the album so successful. It’s nothing ground-breaking; which maybe it should have been.
It almost feels that Skepta has been the victim of his own success. The early singles were so popular and released so long ago that the album feels like it’s very late and should have been released when the hype around this sound was at its peak. This album will be remembered for its incredibly successful and catchy singles and not necessarily for the quality of the LP. The best thing that will come out of this is the exposure it will get will hopefully allow people to discover other Grime/UK Hip-Hop artists that deserve the type of recognition Skepta has already been receiving.