Skepta Makes a Statement with ‘Ignorance Is Bliss’
Although it’s Skepta fifth studio album, “Ignorance Is Bliss” carries as much enthusiasm and fervor as that of a rookie debut. The project itself feels determined as Skepta crusades to declare himself the voice of a generation. The English grime MC is most known for his fast and fervent rhymes, showcasing subtle aphorism and eloquent rhetoric over gritty instrumentals. While his signature sound hasn’t changed, the album exhibits more maturity than its most recent predecessor, “Konnichiwa.” With the exploration of topics like fatherhood, politics, and the everyday life on the streets of London, it’s clear Skepta seeks to step into the best version of himself with “Ignorance Is Bliss,” and it’s a growth you have to witness for yourself.
Bullet From A Gun
An intro track is usually reflective of what you can expect from the album. Making a statement with your intro track sets the tone for the rest of the project. Ideally, production or the lyrics stand out. That statement can be braggadocious or reflective, as it’s definitive. Skepta’s “Bullet From A Gun” checks all of those boxes. This intro track successfully sets the theme for “Ignorance Is Bliss” as a reflective, celebratory stomping grounds for Skepta’s exuding confidence. Not only that, but the track’s statement lies on how he skims over his past experiences which have served as lessons. His experiences with girls, his family, and success have taught him to break free of dark thoughts.
Greaze Mode (feat. Nafe Smallz)
“Greaze Mode” clearly stands out from the rest of the tracks on the album. Although being a grime artist, Skepta embraces a modern trap sound that has been popularized over the years. Skepta is unyielding and self-assured in “Greaze Mode,” although it’s so gently abrasive, you can’t help but admire it. Fellow Londoner Nafe Smallz offers a dulcet break in between verses. Offering a hook so infectious that it’ll be a challenge to keep yourself from humming it for the rest of the day.
“No Sleep” serves as a dedication to the MC’s personal climb to the top. Skepta talks about the balance of overcoming struggles while also expressing how he desires to live lavishly. The urgent grime track feels like it mimics insomnia itself, reminiscent of the chaotic energy you find in a huge metropolitan city.
Gangsta (feat. BBK)
This braggadocious track feels like it was plucked straight off a radio station’s queue from 2004, back when crunk was taking over mainstream radio stations. “Gangsta” is one of my favorites off the album, not just for the nostalgia but also for how unapologetic it is. Skepta assembles other members from his collective/label Boy Better Know to address and critique the current rap/grime scene in the United Kingdom. In a line, Skepta says “No need to pretend/ I don’t wanna hear you talk greazy again/ Never shot food, never shot no skeng/ Talk about gangster, I was like ‘When?’” – which seems to be a direct jab at artists that adopt an ingenuine “gangster” persona for clout.
Love Me Not (feat. Cheb Ravi & B Live)
While this album boasts a unique mesh of sounds that is pretty extreme for Skepta to experiment with, “Love Me Not” shocks in its pop-sensibility which shuns away from the experimentation; the song embraces an electronic dance atmosphere. “Love Me Not” is a nod to the UK garage scene, containing a sample of “Murder On The Dancefloor” by Sophie-Ellis Bextor— a 2002 U.K. hit. With a fast-paced electronic beat, Skepta raps about dismissing love that feels inauthentic, “She told me she loved me, I was like how? / Must be because I’m at the top right now.”