Exclaim!'s Top 15 Hip-Hop Albums Best of 2016

7. Skepta
(Boy Better Know)

Toronto and London share many similarities, from the Caribbean-infused slang to the names of certain neighbourhoods, but the most endearing parallel between the two cities is the history of each destination's hip-hop scene. Much like Toronto hip-hop's long and arduous uphill climb, British grime is unique, vibrant and locally thriving, yet has remained a bit of an underdog in the mainstream sense until recently. That said, Skepta's fourth studio album, Konnichiwa, was a game-changing release that went a long way to cementing grime's place in the international spotlight this year.
From the anarchic and regional  "Shutdown" and "Detox" to more mainstream hits like "Ladies Hit Squad," Skepta showcased his versatility throughout the album without ever diluting his style. Both on his diverse production and through his agile cadence, he flirted with North American sounds yet held unapologetically onto everything that makes grime distinct. Bold and gritty, Konnichiwa was crossover without compromise.
A. Harmony