Drill heroes Skengdo x AM today make a powerful comeback with their first full-length mixtape, ‘Back Like We Never Left’.
It follows a rollercoaster couple of years: the pair have sold out multiple UK tours, made triumphant appearances at Reading and Leeds and crashed into the iTunes hip-hop charts at #1, surpassing Stormzy and Jay Z. They also collaborated with drill godfather Chief Keef and recorded the most-watched episode of Mad About Bars.
However, the fame brought the envelope-pushing pair to the vortex of a shrill campaign led by the police – accused of being responsible for London’s rising crime because their harsh lyrics drawn from life experiences were too real. As a result, Skengdo x AM received suspended prison sentences for performing their track ‘Attempted’ at their sold-out KOKO show last December.
Since then, the duo haven’t remained silent. They initiated a petition to call on police to stop criminalising young black artists, collaborated with blood artist at Saatchi Gallery to protest artist censorship, and addressed parliament on the power of drill to prevent crime.
Their new mixtape was recorded in South London in the months following the police injunction, and is an artistic response to everything they’ve gone through in the last 18 months.
The outcome is a snapshot of young London, buoyed up with all the ambition, humour, and pain that runs through the city streets. Not limited by genre, ‘Back Like We Never Left’ consists of drill tracks, club-ready rap, wavey, lyrical bombs, as well as the occasional burst of colourful R&B.
The tape paints vivid tales of their lives – taking shots at the police and at their opponents in South London, alongside songs dreaming of a world away from the darkness where they party and have a good time.
Production-wise, there’s contributions from BKay, Gotcha and Yoz Beatz, as well as vocal appearances from Brixton rap icon Sneakbo, Peckham’s hotly tipped Zone2 member PS Hitsquad, much-rated duo Stickz x M24, the original 410 crew, Davido protege Oxlade, drill originator Grizzy and more.
The project is dedicated to keeping-it-real and local. It’s a tape made by the streets, for the streets, with all of the innovation and hunger that comes with it.
Listen to the mixtape in full:
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