5 things we learned from Skepta’s YouTube Music Q&A with Tiffany Calver
Last night to celebrate the release of Skepta‘s brand new album Ignorance Is Bliss, we were invited to sit in at YouTube Music where Tiffany Calver hosted a Q&A with the Boy Better Know artist, who took questions from people online and in the room.
During the half an hour session, he discussed everything from the album’s title, his input on videos, his outlook on fatherhood, collaboration, introspection, purpose and more.
Here are five things we took away from Skepta‘s perspective and the process behind Ignorance Is Bliss…
Skepta took a social media detox while making the album.
Skepta took time away from social media and changed his number while making the album. He says he hopes that anyone trying to get in touch didn’t take it personally, but he sees the disconnection as something he had to do for himself, admitting that he’d definitely consider it again in future: “Now I know if I need to need to do something, I’m gonna do that again. Because that’s the way to do it.”
He named the album Ignorance Is Bliss because he felt like people weren’t listening.
The title, Ignorance Is Bliss, comes from trying to share the blueprint for success that he enjoyed with Konnichiwa with others, but his words falling upon deaf ears. “They’re asking me how, and I’m telling them how,” he says. “But they don’t listen…I kept trying to tell people what I did, tell artists what I did. Just tell people what I did and how I did what I did. And they weren’t listening, they didn’t care what I was saying and it was making me upset.”
Ignorance Is Bliss is Skepta’s favourite album
“If I may say so myself,” he offers, “It’s a classic! That album’s amazing to me.” He paid particular attention to making every song have its own sound and purpose within the set, with no two songs alike, admitting that he feels ‘Man’, ‘That’s Not Me’ and ‘Shutdown’ were all too similar. “When you’re making art, you’re always very conscious that it could be the last piece of art you make,” he says. “And you want to explain yourself and leave it there like a full stop. This is all sides of Skepta.”
Skepta considers himself a producer, mores than an MC or rapper.
“I’m a producer more than an MC or rapper,” he says. “I could be in the studio with someone who doesn’t make music and make them a hit.”
As a result of this outlook, each of the features on Ignorance Is Bliss was chosen specifically to fit its respective track. Skepta spent a lot of time listening to the album on his way home from the studio, and chose the features based on their voices and perspectives. He says that songs like ‘Love Me Not’ and ‘Animal Instinct’ wouldn’t have had the impact without the contributions of B Live and Launcey Foux.
Dev Hynes also made a contribution on the album, helping out with the hook on ‘Love Me Not’: “When I made the beat for ‘Love Me Not’ we was in the studio, me, [Cheb] Rabi, Dev Hynes was there as well,” he says. “He actually wrote one line in the hook. We got stuck and Dev was like ‘Ah say this’. He doesn’t even care about credits, but shout out Dev!”
Skepta also reveals that he made a different song with J Hus originally, but after Hus went away he wanted to come back with something fresh and the pair came up with ‘What Do You Mean?’ “When he was away he had different ideas and felt different,” says Skepta. “We just went into the studio and it didn’t even take that long. It was really natural the way he works, no pen, no paper, same as me. We were just banging away at the beat, while I was making the beat I was thinking of the lyrics. That track is something else. I’m happy that I got to work with Hus because I really admire him as an artist.”
He wants his music to inspire listeners to find their purpose.
“I don’t rate no older black guys, or famous guys in England. I think that when they get to a certain place they just all turn jelly,” he explains, when asked about his purpose as the session comes to a close. “So I feel like I owe it to the boys that are born here to parents that are not from here, to direct away and to show them what their true power is and to show them something bigger, than all the stuff they’re buying and the retail therapy that they’re getting. That it doesn’t save you, you have to get with it and you have to understand your purpose. I hope that my music gets them there.”
Press play on the full Q&A above, and stream Skepta‘s Ignorance Is Bliss here.