Boasting obtuse, rattling hi-hats and thumping 808 drum patterns, ‘Black Roses’ is one of the finest drill records to grace the UK rap pantheon. Backed by his collective OJB, Skeamer pulls from an eclectic range of soundscapes ranging from glossy soul samples to reverberating basslines. Skeamer’s 15-track epic is the crystallisation of his prolific, self-reflective lyricism and soul-bound introspection.
Hailing from Battersea, South London, Skeamer was raised by the old stomping ground of UK garage legends So Solid Crew: which proved instrumental to Skeamer’s musical inspiration. Paired alongside the hardships of growing up on the notorious Winstanley estate in Clapham Junction, Skeamer’s music reads like a deep, perilous character study.
In December 2020, the Battersea spitter linked up with Scorcher and Snap Capone for the street anthem ‘Stay Real’ – and he hasn’t taken his foot off the gas ever since. Fans were also blessed with the reflective ‘We Had Nothing’, Skeamer’s ode to liberty ‘Freedom’s Priceless’, the struggle-imbued anthem ‘Pain Is Temporary’, and his Ard Adz-assisted ‘Pride’, amassing millions of views in totality on GRM Daily.
Skeamer has also kept up his collaborative spirit, hopping on RM’s slapper ‘On Sight’, OJB’s posse cut ‘Gangsterlude’ and JB Scofield’s OJB collab ‘Hello Hi’.
With millions of views behind him, Skeamer approaches drill with a pensive slant, separating himself from his contemporaries. ‘Black Roses’ isn’t a solo affair, either – the South Londoner recruits OJB members Skore Beezy, Wrecker and Sai So, as well as rising rap polymath Potter Payper and legends Ard Adz and Scorcher, amongst a slew of other guests.
The album opens with the ominous, piano-soaked and soul-laden ‘When It Rains It Pours’. Anchoring itself as the album’s core thesis, Skeamer reflects on fatherhood, poverty and hood economics over an eerie backdrop. ‘ME vs ME’ sees the rapper chronicle the next chapter of his journey, recounting his quest for redemption whilst he battles himself internally.
The Skore Beezy and Potter Payper collaboration ‘Cold Night’ probably resembles the dark, grim reaper-themed album cover the most. The concrete-laden romp details the cutthroat street code: with the three MCs adding a new layer to the story with each verse. Album closer ‘Black Roses’ is the perfect bookend to the LP, with a gospel and R&B-tinged chorus to counterbalance the trauma-ridden qualms woven into his inward-looking verses.
Outside of his releases, Skeamer has graced the world-renowned YouTube platform ‘No Jumper’. Throughout his appearance, Skeamer the rest of OJB gave viewers a tour of his local neighbourhood, fueling the hype around his name and character.
Elsewhere, Skeamer has received major co-signs from industry tastemakers and radio personalities such as BBC Radio 1Xtra DJ’s including Target, Sian Anderson, Snoochie Shy and Kenny Allstar as well as Kiss FM’s Ellie Prohan and Capital Xtra’s Shayna Marie. The overwhelming support around Skeamer’s artistry all predates his album – poising his album as the embodiment of his creativity.