Unless you’ve been around the block for more than a handful of years – as in before grime’s sharp rise to international status during the mid-2010s – it’s unlikely that you’ve ever experienced a Skepta DJ set. That all changed last week for those lucky enough to be bringing summer to a close at Ibiza’s DC-10.
A venue world renowned for the island-shaking event that is Circoloco and its line-up of international star electronic DJs, DC-10 should be at the top of any Ibiza newcomers itinerary.
Birthed during the Balearic Islands’ peak summers of the 90s, DC-10 began as a humble music bar catered to a capacity of just 80 people. Just over two decades later, that number has risen to 4000, while its line-ups have come to be decorated by everyone from Loco Dice to The Martinez Brothers, Low Steppa, Michael Bibi, Peggy Gou, and of course, Skepta.
As someone that’s done their time at DC-10, I was just as surprised as the next person to see Skepta taking a headlining spot at an event typically reserved for techno and house, even more so to see that these genres are what his set consisted of.
Many of you will be familiar with Skepta’s origins as a DJ and producer for his younger brother JME before grabbing the mic himself and rising to legendary status as an MC throughout the mid-2000s. Although Skepta's cultural icon status was cemented in the UK during these years, it wasn’t until a famed trip to the States during the 2010s that he truly reached international heights, carrying the weight of the grime scene on his back.
Since that fateful trip to the US, Skepta has become a worldwide household name. His musical influences aside, there's no doubting that his blossoming relationship with Virgil Abloh through fashion over the last 5+ years played a pivotal role in ensuring this global success as a cross-cultural icon.
Remember, this is the same man that once rapped: “I used to wear LV but put it all in the bin ‘cause that’s not me” before Virgin took the reigns at the luxury house, bringing Skep' into the fold.
Of course, Skepta has referenced Virgil and their shared interests in global fashion and music circles countless times within his tracks; and this Circoloco performance was another celebratory moment for this friendship.
In an Instagram caption promoting his then-upcoming performance, Skepta wrote: “I know you can see this Virgil Abloh, haha. Full circle,” likely referencing the late creative’s own Circoloco sets in New York.
Virgil has worked closely with the event-turned-lifestyle brand since 2018, launching several collaborative merch collections via Off-White, as well as a radio set in place of what would have been his Ibiza debut had the pandemic not led to the shut down of the island’s clubs. Unfortunately, this never came to fruition before his passing.
Frankly, nobody had expected to see Skepta step back behind the decks, and if we did, it would have been for a grime and drill set. Perhaps even a Culture Clash or Sidewinder comeback. However, fans, DJs, and MCs alike have celebrated his move back to his roots, reveling in the historic moment that celebrated the ceiling-shattering life of Virgil Abloh.
Whether or not we’ll see Skep’ hit the island or take on the festival circuit as a DJ again next year is to be seen, but I, for one, am ready. Shoreditch car park, anyone?