Skepta Australian Headline Debut

Rebecca Varidel
10th Jul 2018

Globally renowned UK grime pioneer and MC Skepta will make his Sydney Opera House debut this September with one bass-heavy evening in the Concert Hall.

"Now Sydney Opera House has welcomed the first rapper to headline Vivid LIVE in Ice Cube and presented RnB wunderkind Bryson Tiller, it’s only proper we’re throwing open the doors for the first time to one of grime’s heavyweight champions, the mighty Skepta. A true grime pioneer and still a master of the form in its renaissance, Skepta’s forceful, distrustful presence is reaching new heights of ferocity, vulnerability and relevance. Come witness Skepta’s powerful art ignite on the Concert Hall stage this September" Sydney Opera House Head of Contemporary Music, Ben Marshall announced.

As the eldest in the ‘First Family of Grime’ – his sister Julie is a Beats 1 DJ and brother JME is an MC – Skepta has been making music for over a decade, operating behind the scenes during grime’s early days before founding independent label, Boy Better Know in 2006 with his brother. From Tottenham pirate radio stations to packing out venues worldwide, Skepta has developed into a landmark contemporary artist, leading “one of the most urgent, unique and important music subcultures since punk” (i-D).

His breakthrough album Blacklisted (2012) was self-released and distributed from his living room, before his fourth album Konnichiwa (2016) took out the coveted Mercury Prize (2016). In 2017, Skepta secured three BRIT Award nominations and an NME Award with multiple nominations, catapulting him into the mainstream with high profile collaborators and admirers including Drake, Kanye West and Pharrell, not to mention a guest cameo from Idris Elba on a remix of his hit single, ‘Shutdown’.

Throughout his career, the 35-year-old Nigerian-British artist (born Joseph Junior Adenuga) has been ‘breaking down glass ceilings and paving the way for others’ (Clash). Widely recognised for his lyrical commentary on the British socio-political climate, Skepta has spearheaded positive change in his local Tottenham community where he runs music production workshops and used a sold-out show in London to raise £30,000 for homelessness charity, Shelter. He has also been bestowed a chieftaincy title in his family’s home state of Ogun, Nigeria.