Published Jun 10, 2019If you're new to Skepta and hoping to settle into his sound, Ignorance Is Bliss is not the place to start. While Skepta is far too seasoned to make a truly bad album, for much of his latest effort, he seems to rest on his laurels.
Longtime fans will be relieved — a good chunk of the album is enjoyable. "No Sleep," with its chaotic, industrial feel, is hallmark grime and "Going Through It" is moody and introspective, supported by a murky, mechanical beat that brims with grit. Skepta flirts with trap on "Greaze Mode," but doesn't lose himself in the sound. And overall, his punchy delivery is smooth and effortless; on each track, Skepta's breakneck cadence serves as secondary percussion that delights the ear regardless of what's being said.
But for every shining moment on the album, there's another track dragging it down. Tinny and repetitive throwaways like "What Do You Mean?" and "Same Old Story" encapsulate the worst elements of early 2000s ringtone rap, and glossy, commercial tracks like "Love Me Not" are pleasant, but forgettable.
Maybe it's the tedium of a career spanning nearly two decades, or a shred of complacency settling in after winning the highly coveted Mercury Prize in 2016, but Skepta seems subdued on Ignorance. A decent album, but not his best. (Boy Better Know)