Skepta Apologizes and Removes Gas Me Up (Diligent) Single Artwork Amid Holocaust Controversy
Skepta expressed regret and took down the artwork for his latest single, Gas Me Up (Diligent), after facing accusations of referencing the Holocaust.
The controversial image featured men with shaved heads, with one having the words “Gas Me Up” tattooed across his head.
Many quickly pointed out the potential connection to the Holocaust, particularly the deaths of Jewish people in Nazi gas chambers during World War Two.
Skepta later apologized, recognizing the potential for offense. On social media, he explained, “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, depicting my parents’ arrival in the UK during the 80s, exploring skinhead and football culture, has been deemed offensive by many.
Acknowledging the possible offense, he vowed to be more mindful in the future. He also shared the “mood board” for his album on X, featuring 1980s images related to football hooligans, skinheads, prison canteens, and the 2 Tone Records logo.
Skepta stated that he decided to post the images for more context after reflecting on the Gas Me Up backlash, emphasizing his desire not to have his art policed. He concluded with a clip from Beanie Sigel’s music video “Feel It In The Air,” captioned “Last 24 hours,” depicting the rapper’s house being surrounded and raided by police.
In November of the previous year, Skepta unveiled plans for his personal festival set to take place at London’s Crystal Palace Park on July 6, 2024.
He subsequently disclosed the release of his first album in five years, titled Knife and Fork, on New Year’s Day.
“It’s been a while since my last album, and I want to express my gratitude for all the love during my break,” he mentioned in conjunction with the announcement.
“I’ve stumbled upon the messages, tweets, and TikToks, and I genuinely appreciate that my music still forges connections with the world, even when I’m not actively present.”
The album will come with a movie, Tribal Mark, depicting the experiences of a Nigerian immigrant adapting to life in a new country.
Gas Me Up remains slated as the album’s lead single, set to drop on January 26. The lyrics showcase the artist in a spirited, self-assured mood, celebrating achievements in music, fashion, and his role in the acclaimed TV series Top Boy.
He also touches on his musical break, rapping: “I’m talking about taking a year out, still, I can’t see no competition / Can’t see anyone threatening my position.”