Grime Star Skepta wins £25,000 Mercury Prize with Konnichiwa album


British-Nigerian grime artist, Skepta (Joseph Junior Adenuga)

Skepta has beaten the likes of David Bowie, Radiohead and The 1975 to win the Mercury Prize.

He won the £25,000 award for self-released album Konnichiwa, which covers topics including police harassment and his anger at British politics.

The record, described by the NME as a “landmark in British street music”, went to number two earlier this year.

“I’m just so thankful. I’ve been trying to do this music stuff and work it out for so long,” Skepta said of his win.

Speaking to the BBC backstage, he said he would use the prize money to help the disadvantaged.

“Something positive, something to help other people feel as happy and as free as me,” he said.

“We’re doing a project right now, actually, building a studio in my old estate to help the young kids do music.”

Skepta’s victory meant that bookmakers’ favourite David Bowie missed out after receiving a posthumous nomination for his swansong album, Blackstar.

Judge Jarvis Cocker said the jury had faced a tough decision deciding between the two records, which had been whittled down from a longlist of 12.

“In the end, the winner came down to a contest between two black stars,” he said.

“And we, as a jury, decided that if Bowie was looking down on the Hammersmith Apollo tonight, he would want the 2016 Hyundai Mercury Music Prize to go to Skepta.”

Other albums shortlisted for the 2016 prize included Michael Kiwanuka’s Love & Hate, and Bat For Lashes’ The Bride – a concept record about a woman whose fiancé is killed in a car crash while driving to their wedding.

Radiohead received a record fifth nomination for their record A Moon Shaped Pool but went home empty-handed again.

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