Always finding a way to stay active, UK A-lister Skepta is on the brink of a massive 2024. Between his directorial film debut and heading a new festival in his home country, new music is still the chief focus. “Gas Me Up” serves as the second Skepta single in as many weeks, and is part of a rollout for his next album, which will end an eight-year gap between solo LPs.
“Gas Me Up” Showcases A New Side of Skepta as an MC
Coming off the heels of “Jangrova,” a single steeped in island tradition and one that enlisted Idris Elba of all people, “Gas Me Up” is very much an indication of a new sonic direction for the English MC. Back in 2016, Konnichiwa launched him into global star territory by playing things close to the grime tradition he grew up with and played a huge role in shaping.
These two new singles instead feature much brighter production, with “Gas Me Up” going the distance by bringing in retro, ’80s-inspired keys that sound almost unrecognizable compared to his more aggressive backlog. As always, Skepta’s verses speak to his varied creative endeavors, delivered with trademark wit and charisma. Take this section at the very start of the track, where he raps: “We don’t get angry, we don’t get even / We don’t talk about beef, by the way, did I mention I just turned vegan? / I need the pagans breathing so they can see my new Top Boy season / I need the pagans alive so they can now see that it’s still my time.”
The Single’s Mixed Initial Rollout
Unfortunately, discussion around “Gas Me Up” isn’t entirely complete without noting the controversy around the song’s artwork. Since taken down and posted with a placeholder image, the photo announcing the single alluded to 1980s skinhead culture in the UK. Though a sordid topic in and of itself, the combination of the photo in question alongside the single’s title made audiences draw a connection to WWII—a relationship that Skepta both acknowledged in full and attributed as unintentional in a follow-up apology post just days later.
Regardless of the unsavory beginnings of the single, it now stands as a much more uncomplicated topic given Skepta’s mea culpa. As such, the prime confidence he adopts for “Gas Me Up,” taken with the new production twists added into the mix, make the looming next album from the grime superstar that much more of an enticing proposition. You can find “Gas Me Up” as well as its predecessor “Jangrova” on all streaming platforms now.