No Arctic Monkeys this year, which means the award was wide open. “But if the debut album by London-based rapper Speech Debelle isn’t the most musically adventurous of the nominees – it certainly doesn’t deliver anything like the forward-looking sonic shock provided by the last hip-hop album to win the Mercury, Dizzee Rascal’s Boy in the Corner – and the artist who made it has some deeply peculiar opinions about her fellow pop stars (“Jesus went around preaching the gospel and touching people to make the blind see and making lepers better. Michael Jackson’s gone around the world and done that,” she opined in a London freesheet yesterday), it’s an intriguing, beautifully made album, with a sound based less around samples than acoustic guitars and pianos.”
For once, the Mercury Prize might have lived up to its purpose to help promote very good albums by unheard of musicians (Speech Debelle got a 4,000% sales increase from the win). And yet, if you read the comments after the article, most Brits kind of feel like this album was boring and didn’t deserve to win.