NORTH LONDON grime star Skepta has beaten the likes of David Bowie, Radiohead and The 1975 to win the Mercury Prize.
He won the £25,000 award for his self-released album Konnichiwa, which tackles police harassment and his anger at British politics.
Described by the NME as a “landmark in British street music,” the record 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.
The visibly shocked star said on stage: “I was like’ let’s do it for ourselves’. All these songs, we’ve travelled the world – no record label, nothing. We just did this for us but the love is very appreciated.”
“For everybody who knows what it takes to put an album together, cos it’s so much more than just making the music.”
He added a shout out to fellow nominee Kano – “Kane – for life bro – we did it.”
Before concluding: “And lastly, my mum and dad, and all my friends mums and dads – because they made us, they gave us that voice in our head that’s talking to keep us in line to keep us in check.
“We all won today. Konnichiwa!”
Skepta is the second grime artist to win the Mercury, following Dizzee Rascal’s victory in 2003.
The genre is in the middle of a resurgence, with Skepta key in helping recalibrate the sound back towards its inner city roots.