Review: Skepta – All In


It’s not all new ground for Skepta, but if it isn’t broken then why bother fixing it?

Skepta is likely the most admired and acclaimed name in the grime scene currently. Having been credited with causing the rebirth of grime (or its second wave – whichever term you prefer) with his 2016 classic Konnichiwa, as well as other events surrounding himself and his group Boy Better Know, including the taking of the stage at the BRITS in 2015 with Kanye West during a performance of his single All Day dressed in all black (as Skepta would go on to sample a woman saying on his biggest hit to date, ‘Shutdown’) brandishing flamethrowers.

Since then, the hype surrounding Skepta and the grime scene generally seems to have died down somewhat. His 2019 album Ignorance is Bliss received less acclaim and hype than Konnichiwa did, and other than Drake’s involving himself in the UK’s drill style a couple of times, it seems that grime has again started to fade – despite the fact that the same political problems that inspired the genre in the 90s are still present today.

But, in keeping the focus on the music itself, All In sees Skepta return with a short five track EP full of his typically catchy hooks, bass-heavy beats (with those classic video game samples fleshing out the soundscape as usual) and features from other prolific artists.

Personally, the stand-out track was definitely ‘Lit Like This’, the penultimate track, which uses more traditional grime flows and lyrics with a really strong and intricate beat. However, the main focus is deservedly on the single released to promote the EP, ‘Nirvana’. ‘Nirvana’ sees Skepta venture in a different direction, rapping over a drum and guitar beat in a much more gentle fashion than his audience are used to hearing – perhaps hinting at his growth in different directions musically as he ages, and as grime starts to fade away (again).

While the rest of the EP may get a little repetitive with the almost constantly pounding bass, Skepta’s impressive flows and lyrics are strong enough to keep the energy flowing. ‘Nirvana’ acts as something of a saving grace, perfectly placed as the middle track so that it can deconstruct the sound that was built by the first two songs, ‘Bellator’ and ‘Frontline’, the latter of which also has one of the EP’s best moments in its Kid Cudi feature.

It’s not all new ground for Skepta, but if it isn’t broken then why bother fixing it?

Skepta’s All In is distributed by Boy Better Know. Listen to the EP on Spotify below:


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