Album of the Week
Inside the rapper's assertive and intimate second album, Heavy Is The Head.
British rapper Skepta unleashes his highly anticipated fifth studio album Ignorance Is Bliss, his first since 2016’s Mercury prize-winning Konnichiwa.
Producing much of the record himself, the result is mature and uncompromising. He continues to deliver the tracks at speed and with a discipline and precision we’ve come to expect but with an air of sophistication which elevates it up from its predecessors.
Collaborators include J Hus appearing on What Do You Mean, the Boy Better Know collective charging in on Gangsta, Nigerian superstar Wizkid turning up on Glow in the Dark and 2 Step originator B-Live joining for Love Me, each bringing their unique twists to 9 of the 13 tracks.
Beating out the late David Bowie to the Mercury Prize three years ago, fans knew his previous album would be a hard act to follow, however while Ignorance Is Bliss is more of a moody, slow-burner, the emotions, intensity and convictions are all still there, and set to a new batch of grime beats and solid melodies.
There’s a growth there, highlighting how far the Tottenham rapper and DJ has come since breaking onto the scene some 15 years ago during grime’s golden age. The now 36-year-old became a father for the first time last year and was made a chief in his Nigeria – things he references often throughout the record.
Opener Bullet from a Gun is beautiful, and heart-breaking. The stark lyrics “You realise she was never your girl, it was just your turn” references a break-up which contrasts with a synth-heavy backing track and his detailing of the joy he gets from seeing his baby daughter.
Redrum is precise and flawlessly delivered, while Same Old Story frets about love, break-ups, a woman’s number of previous partners and exploring the insecurities that go with it.
The record hops between rare flashes of vulnerability or intimacy, and flourishes of political disinterest and balancing new responsibilities.
Ignorance Is Bliss is sharp, innovative, grown-up and sublimely delivered.
Catch Skepta live this June at Field Day in London. [Find tickets]
1. Bullet from a Gun
2. Greaze Mode Ft. Nafe Smallz
3. Redrum Ft. Key!
4. No Sleep
5. What Do You Mean Ft. J Hus
6. Going Through It
7. Same Old Story
8. Love Me Ft. Cheb Rabi & B Live
9. Animal Instinct Ft. Lancey Foux
10. Glow in the Dark Ft. Lay Z & Wizkid
11. You Wish
12. Gangsta Ft. BBK
13. Pure Water
Listen to Ignorance Is Bliss on Spotify: