When Skepta released his Mercury Prize-winning studio album 'Konnichiwa' in 2016, it was seen as a watershed moment in both the rapper's career and grime music as a whole. With the genre waining in public support the previous decade, the London MC brought the sound back to the commercial scene, giving many names in the game a much welcomed revival. And after three years of producing small one-off singles, the rapper now returns with his fifth full-length 'Ignorance Is Bliss', a record that now looks to reflect the international presence that he has built for himself.
While 'Konnichiwa' was this heady mix of British grime and American trap-influenced beats, 'Ignorance Is Bliss' certainly looks to focus itself more on the latter, with US artists such as Travis Scott and Rick Ross clearly having an impact on the frontman's new direction. But rather than indulge the mainstream focus of those artists, Skepta takes plenty of opportunities to blend the two styles together, resulting in a hybrid sound that looks to merge the commercial and underground styles. And while he could have collaborated with dozens of well known names on this release, he has instead chosen to bring in new and lesser-known artists to feature on his tracks, showing that he is more than willing to use his newfound superstar status to expose the next generation of rappers.
It may not have the instant grab factor that 'Konnichiwa' managed, but it certainly keeps itself together throughout. 'Ignorance Is Bliss' is the next level of grime music, one that has a mainstream presence and looks to make itself as comfortable on the radio as much as it will in the clubs. A solid return from a frontman that seems to be continually evolving.