Skepta will no longer use the controversial artwork to promote his new single Gas Me Up (Diligent) (Picture: Getty Images)
Skepta has apologised for his new single artwork which was accused of making light of the Holocaust.
The Shutdown rapper, 41, shared the artwork for his new single Gas Me Up (Diligent), which is set for release later this month, but it quickly drew criticism.
Created by artist Gabriel Moses, the image shows a crowd of men with shaved heads and one in particular with ‘gas me up’ tattooed on the back.
Many drew comparisons between the image and the song title – Gas Me Up – with the genocide of Jewish people in concentration camps during World War II.
Skepta, real name Joseph Adenuga, has since announced he will no longer be using the artwork to promote the song and vowed to be more ‘mindful’ with his future work.
He wrote on X: ‘I’ve been waiting to drop Gas Me Up (Diligent) since teasing it April last year, worked hard getting the artwork right for my album rollout which is about my parents coming to the UK in the 80’s, Skinhead, Football culture and it has been taken offensively by many and I can promise you that was definitely not our plan so I have removed it and I vow to be more mindful going forward.’
In a follow-up message, the rapper shared a screenshot of his mood board for his 1980s-themed album Knife & Fork, featuring photos of skinheads.
He explained: ‘I can honestly see how my single artwork without context can be deemed offensive, especially in a time like this but again that was not my intention.
‘But after some thought I don’t feel like I could continue being the artist you all know and love if my art is policed, I have to quit if I can’t express my art as I see it. So to help with context here are some pictures from our mood board for the 1980’s UK story for my album “Knife & Fork”.’
He concluded by confirming that the song will still be released on January 26 ‘as planned.’
Reacting to Skepta’s apology, @OGAride commented: ‘Thank you for taking and down and going with different artwork.’
Sharing their thoughts, @JShuriye said of the backlash: ‘Its definitely not a stretch , Youve got the nazi germany coat of arms on a bald head. (Second line, second photo) definitely a miss with the art work concept.’
The rapper is gearing up for his big musical return after five years (Picture: Getty Images)
@DallasFoodBlog had stated: ‘Kinda holocaust vibe in the image (concentration camp).’
@SSJBens was shocked by the image and commented: ‘Oh NO. See, at first glance, it was just bad artwork of skinheads, possibly at a football match with an awful Photoshop tattoo of the the title. Then it hit me what it also looks like and with that title… how many people saw this but NO ONE noticed? So bad.’
@Fiyasohollywood suggested: ‘Skepta couldn’t use a gas nozzle instead?? Like there are so many ways to illustrate “gas me up”.’
However, @wawansu defended Skepta and referred to the controversy surrounding Lil Nas X’s artwork which has been accused of mocking religion, writing: ‘I understand the situation with anything related to Skinhead culture.. But, that artwork is fire for real. Meanwhile some other artist just come out with new song with him being put on the cross like he is Jesus, it’s corny af & i didn’t see anybody complaining about it.’
@baggythescribe also said: ‘If the artwork really means what you say it means to you then I don’t think removing it was a good idea. Reflect the times unapologetically. Skepta is an artist and that’s what artists do.’
Knife & Fork will be Skepta’s first album since 2019’s Ignorance Is Bliss, signalling his anticipated return to music. A release date is yet to be announced.
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