Mercury Prize 2016 winner: Skepta beats David Bowie with Konnichiwa album

'The star is the person on the mic who always gets seen but I want to say thank you to every single person who made Konnichiwa happen.'

Christopher Hooton
Thursday 15 September 2016 22:30
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Grime hero Skepta has beaten David Bowie, Radiohead, Anohni and more to win the 2016 Mercury Prize with his politically-charged album Konnichiwa.

Skepta is the first grime rapper to win since Dizzie Rascal picked up the award in 2003 for Boy In Da Corner.

“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, “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."

The judging panel commented: "This is such a great record! Confident, funny, clever, scary, personal and political. Skepta makes music for our times."

The Tottenham-born rapper’s triumph came as a surprise to bookmakers, as David Bowie had long been expected to win posthumously for his final album, Blackstar.

Mercury album of the year shortlist:

Anohni - 'Hopelessness'

Bat For Lashes - 'The Bride'

David Bowie - 'Blackstar'

Jamie Woon - 'Making Time'

Kano - 'Made in the Manor'

Laura Mvula - 'The Dreaming Room'

Michael Kiwanuka -  'Love & Hate'

Radiohead - 'A Moon Shaped Pool'

Savages - 'Adore Life'

Skepta - 'Konnichiwa'

The 1975 - 'I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it'

The Comet Is Coming - 'Channel the Spirits'

During his acceptance speech, Skepta also gave a shout-out to fellow nominee Kano.

"Kane - for life bro - we did it,” he said, before adding: "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. Konichiwa!"

Grime has enjoyed a huge resurgence over the past year or two, with Skepta very much at the fore.

The ceremony saw performances from Michael C. Hall (David Bowie’s ‘Lazarus’) and Radiohead.

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