After announcing via Instagram last month that his upcoming studio release “Konnichiwa” would drop on May 6, Skepta released the visuals to the album’s second single, “Man (Gang)” earlier today. The Tottenham emcee looks set to take on the world.
“Man” was previewed as early as this summer, but saw an official release last month on April 14. The Boy Better Know (BBK) rapper is spitting bars in familiar fashion over the high energy, club ready instrumental. It is what the fans want, and have come to expect, from the modern and hungry Skepta. And he is still sticking to his roots. The track follows the likes of previous, commercially successful singles “That’s Not Me” (featuring grime emcee and younger brother JME), and “Shutdown”.
Today’s released music video is very Lo-Fi. Most of the filming is done with a handheld camera, and the graphics gives of an old school, VHS-like vibe. Fitting the tracks hard-hitting energy, the visuals consist of footage of Skepta and his gang – partying at London nighclub ‘Visions’ and loitering around London’ streets. It is youth culture at its rawest – fascinating and attractive – with similarities to the punk scene in the late 70s.
We are in the final days before the much-awaited “Konnichiwa” is set to drop next week. It has been five years since Skepta’s previous studio release, and the album has been postponed several times. However, the wait appears to officially be over, and Skepta is on the verge of releasing his most anticipated album up till this date.
While he serves as a figurehead in the U.K. grime scene, Skepta did not fully catch the attention of the rest of the world until last year. Much thanks to the success of hit single “That’s Not Me” and his growing affiliation with the A$AP Mob as well as Drake, Skepta’s name started to buzz across the pond.
When “Shutdown” dropped, the world was already ready. Performances with Kanye West and Drake, collaborations with the Flatbush Zombies, Jamie XX and Wizkid all happened within months. Suddenly the torch of carrying grime on to the international scene was in the hands of the 33-year-old.
“Konnichiwa” is extra interesting, because, while not necessarily being a direct make-or-break album, it is Skepta’s opportunity of proving himself as one of hip-hop’s big dogs. A Drake co-sign means a lot these days in terms of attention and fame, but the majority of the world is yet to be exposed to a larger quantity of material from the rapper.
With “Man”, Skepta gives the fans what they want, in a familiar soundscape. He does what he does best, bragging amusingly about himself, BBK and his other companions over bass heavy production. While this is characteristic for the genre and Skepta’s music, it will be interesting to see if this will be sweeping across the rest of the tracklist, or if he will be more experimental and take risks.
“Konnichiwa” is certainly one of this year’s most exciting releases for hip hop fans. As grime has seen an enormous growth in popularity, it could serve as a landmark on the direction of the entire genre. While club-friendly music always has been a part of Skepta’s sound, he does not give of any signs of selling out or changing his sound parallel with his inclining popularity.
Watch the music video for “Man” above. “Konnichiwa” is out on May 6, and features Pharrell Williams, JME, A$AP Nast, D Double E, Wiley and more.