British rapper Skepta has returned with his latest track, "Gas Me Up (Diligent)," produced by Cardo, providing a sneak peek into his highly anticipated album, 'Knife and Fork, ' alongside the announcement of the line-up for Skepta’s Big Smoke Festival.
Serving as the final song in his debut film, "Tribal Mark," "Gas Me Up" explores the narrative of a Nigerian immigrant in London. With Skepta starring in, co-directing, and executive producing the project, notably, the film features a 90% minority ethnic cast and production team, reflecting Skepta's commitment to diverse storytelling.
The original artwork for the single, featuring a group of people with shaved heads and the words "gas me up" tattooed on one individual's back, sparked controversy for its perceived resemblance to Holocaust imagery. In response, Skepta promptly removed the artwork and issued an apology, explaining the album's theme centred around his parents' experiences in the 1980s UK, skinhead culture, and football.Skepta addressed the controversy on social media, stating,
"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, and it has been taken offensively by many."
Emphasising that the overarching theme of 'Knife and Fork' revolves around his parents' experiences in the UK during the 1980s. The album explores elements of skinhead culture, football, and the broader cultural landscape of that era.
Aligning with the announcement of Skepta’s Big Smoke Festival lineup, the festival will feature performances by Skepta, Mas Tiempo, Mahalia, and headliner The Streets.
Skepta's journey continues to be marked by artistic exploration, pushing boundaries, and addressing themes with social and cultural significance.