Drake’s long-awaited playlist More Life dropped recently. On the project, the rap superstar continued his music relationship with Skepta that includes him borrowing a line from Skepta’s “That’s Not Me” on “Used To”, and Skepta repaying the favour and sampling one of Drake’s Vines on ‘Shutdown’.
The two rappers have worked and performed together in the past, but Drake took their relationship to another level, handing Skepta his own interlude on More Life. The track was produced by Nana Rogues and has been buzzing in the Nigerian internet space since Drake’s playlist came out.
Skepta referenced the legendary Fela Kuti on the interlude but it wasn’t the first time the rapper of Nigerian-descent has paid homage to the founder of Afrobeat.
1. Skepta’s Interlude
On the track, the grime MC spits about blocking catfish, shouts out his sister – Beats 1 DJ Julie Adenuga and talks about how he might direct a movie someday. But one line in particular caught the interest of Nigerians, when the rapper referenced the legendary Fela Kuti.
Pussyholes tried to execute me
Died and came back as Fela Kuti
Often seen as being controversial and opinionated, like Fela, Skepta uses death as a metaphor to describe his transformation into an artist who isn’t afraid to offer his opinion. The line is also a clever play on the Yoruba meaning of Fela Kuti’s middle name, ‘Anikulapo’ – meaning “he who carries death in his pouch”.
2. BRIT Awards 2017
Skepta performed “Shutdown” at the BRIT Awards on February 22. He failed to pick up any awards on the night, but performed his hit record, and also embedded an interlude from Kanye West’s 2015 performance at the BRITs. Watch below, from the 2 minute mark.
Dressed in a black hooded tracksuit and dancing against a red back-drop, the London grime MC struck a pose midway through his performance that was undeniably similar to Fela’s signature pose before going on to complete his song.
3. Skepta at the Shrine
Skepta was in Nigeria in December, 2016 to top off a great year that included a critically-acclaimed album Konnichiwa, a US tour and Mercury Prize in September. He was tapped to perform at Native Land in Lagos. It wasn’t the first time Skepta would be performing in Lagos though, but with his success at that point, it was more special.
There was another show that was heavily talked about in the lead up to Skepta’s arrival, it was Wizkid’s homecoming concert. Sadly, that concert didn’t hold but both artists (Wizzy and Skepta) were pictured at Fela’s New Afrika Shrine on New Year’s day, the same day Wizkid’s homecoming concert was scheduled to hold and what’s more, at the same venue.
Wizkid and Skepta had previously collaborated together on the remix to “Ojuelegba”, a song that’s heavily inspired by Afrobeat. Skepta brought “Ojuelegba”to Drake’s attention and that’s how the Canadian superstar jumped on the song.
That moment was the beginning of Drake’s relationship with Wizkid but only the continuation of his relationship with Skepta, which has culminated in the UK rapper having his own interlude on one of the biggest music projects of the year.