Reflection and Growth : Skepta ‘Ignorance Is Bliss’ Album Review

Ignorance Is Bliss is a the fifth studio album from one of the biggest and most influential names in the UK Scene. The 13 track project features collaborations with J Hus, WizKid and also some refreshing yet fairly unknown artists such as B Live. Although, this is a slight contrast to the collaboration with Pharrell Williams that appeared on “Konnichiwa”, the album does still keep to the Skepta album tradition of having a track with Boy Better Know.

It has been just over three years since Skepta released his 5th studio album Konnichiwa. The Mercury winning album that featured the hugely popular tracks “Shutdown”, “It Ain’t Safe” and “That’s Not Me” featuring JME is the pin up album that reopened the UK scene into what it is today.

Three years on and the UK scene has progressed swiftly and very effectively with the exposure of the scene increasing drastically. Artists such as Dave have fully broken through and a new wave of artists are already establishing themselves. A lot has happened for Skep himself, becoming a father and progressing himself in the fashion industry with his own trainers.

Since 2016, Grime has almost taken a step back, with the introduction and rise of Drill taking the spotlight for the most popular sub-genre in the UK. Regardless of this, Skep is not afraid to stick too the scenes roots that he started out in. The majority of the album sticks to classic sounding Grime/Garage loops throughout. In a couple songs, Skepta even plays homage to one of the Grime scenes greats in Dizzee Rascal with some classic Dizzee lyrics from 2003’s “Jus’ A Rascal”.

“Stress on the brain, complain” in track 6, “Going Through It”

“Definitely I hussle blud, definitely I grind” in track 2, “Greaze Mode”.

The album is, as most fans would expect, filled with Grimey beats and heavy punchlines. “Greaze Mode” featuring Nafe Smallz and “Not Going Through” epitomises this with the flows not sounding too dissimilar to a mix of previous Skepta hits, on “Konnichiwa” such as “Man” or “It Ain’t Safe”. Old school Garage beats make an appearance on the album in track “Love Me Not” featuring Cheb Rabi and B Live and sample of a typically British track “Murder on the Dancefloor” by Sophie Ellis Bextor.

It is intriguing that the extremely popular track “Energy (Stay Far Away)” featuring WizKid, released in 2018, did not end up making the cut on the album. The track “Glow In The Dark” which also features WizKid and Lay-Z is most likely the track that took its place due to the WizKid with both artists have a strong connection.

Skepta and WizKid in the “Energy” music video – Credit:

Potentially “Energy” did not end up on the album due to it not really matching the greazy and grimey feel of the album. The energy of the album literally does not match “Energy” due to a complete contrast in sounds, with the 2018 hit having more of a chilled/party vibe.

Overall, Ignorance Is Bliss is typical Skepta and nothing is placed on the album that is necessarily shocking or surprising. Skepta has delivered once more but being one of the head honchos in the Grime and UK scene, it may have been anticipated that Skep would have surprised us with a certain track or feature. Regardless, he sticks to the originals and what worked for him before, particularly on Konnichiwa, which you can never knock an artist too much for doing that. “What Do You Mean” featuring J Hus is most likely going to the main focus of the album. Older fans of Skepta will appreciate this album for what it is and the similarities with his 2016 album are clear and no there is no doubt, the album is great project, but it remains to be seen whether this will go down as Skep’s best work and eclipse his previous success…

4.0/5 Stars

The cover art for Skepta’s fifth studio album, Ignorance Is Bliss – Credit: Boy Better Know

Listen to Ignorance Is Bliss below:

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