Following the announcement of his own Big Smoke Festival in London last year, UK emcee Skepta has recently unveiled that he is planning to release a new full-length album after a long hiatus.
The ‘Shutdown’ star has been working on several musical events and has partnered with a vast array of brands since the release of his 2019 album Ignorance Is Bliss. Alongside his Boy Better Know counterpart Jammer, last year, the grime icon launched his record label and series club nights Más Tiempo. A venture dedicated to the rise of Afrobeats, Amapiano and the resurgence of Garage.
However, he also partnered with Havana Rum to release his own rum blend and signed a brand deal with the German sportswear company Puma. Unfortunately, as he prepared to roll out his album last week, the emcee (real name Joseph Adenuga) faced some backlash for artwork that many said was reminiscent of images from the Holocaust.
The single entitled ‘Gas Me Up (Diligent) featured a photo showing crowded males with shaved heads, one with a tattoo reading “Gas Me Up.” However, many highlighted how the group of males with shaved heads looked very similar to existing photos of concentration camps. As such, Adenuga decided to remove the artwork from all of his social media channels.
Releasing a statement to address the imagery used and why he chose it, Adenuga tweeted, “I’ve been waiting to drop ‘Gas Me Up (Diligent)’ since teasing it April last year, worked hard getting the artwork right for my album rollout which is about my parents coming to the UK in the ’80s, Skinhead, Football culture.”
He continued, “It has been taken offensively by many, and I can promise you that was definitely not our plan, so I have removed it, and I vow to be more mindful going forward. I can honestly see how my single artwork without context can be deemed offensive, especially in a time like this, but again, that was not my intention.”
Prior to his statement, many were likening him to Kanye West and were already asserting that the British-Nigerian rapper was purposefully being anti-semitic. Fortunately, once he explained his intention, many accepted it was a mistake on behalf of the rapper. You can see Skepta’s tweets and artwork below.