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Grime star Skepta wins 2016 Mercury Prize

Story by Jack Foley

GRIME star Skepta won this year’s coveted Mercury Prize for his self-released album Konnichiwa.

The British artist beat the likes of David Bowie, Radiohead and The 1975 to the sought after trophy, thereby winning the £25,000 award.

Konnichiwa has previously been described by the NME as a “landmark in British street music”. It reached No.2 in the UK album charts.

In true grime fashion, album covers many topics, including police harassment and his anger at British politics.

A delighted Skepta commented: “I’m just so thankful. I’ve been trying to do this music stuff and work it out for so long.”

He continued: “All these songs, we’ve travelled the world – no record label, nothing. We just did this for us but the love is very appreciated. We all won today. Konnichiwa!”

He later told the BBC that he intended to use the prize money to help the disadvantaged, adding that he wanted to do “something positive”.

Skepta’s win came at the expense of pre-awards favourite David Bowie, who had received a posthumous nomination for his swansong album, Blackstar.

But Judge Jarvis Cocker said the jury had faced a tough decision deciding between the two records, which had been whittled down from a long-list of 12.

“In the end, the winner came down to a contest between two black stars,” he said. “And we, as a jury, decided that if Bowie was looking down on the Hammersmith Apollo tonight, he would want the 2016 Hyundai Mercury Music Prize to go to Skepta.”