Alternative hip-hop trio Young Fathers, took home the coveted Mercury Prize last night, despite being tipped to be the least likely to win.
The group, a “Liberian/Nigerian/Scottish psychedelic hip-hop electro boy band” is like nothing the world has seen before, drawing on influences from the member’s countries of origin, as well as various musical styles.
They beat off fierce competition from other artists, including FKA Twigs, who was favourite to win, and despite the fact that so far the winning album has only sold just over 2,000 copies.
The band, made up of Alloysious Massaquoi, Kayus Bankole and Graham “G” Hasting, was formed in 2008, after the members met at an under-16 hip-hop night in Edinburgh and they have been making music in their basement ever since. However they told The Guardian that the £20,000 prize “doesn’t change a thing.”
“What happens with the money is not our priority,” they stated. “We are constantly writing and trying to be as creative as possible, so we are just continuing with that. We are not trying to hide anything, we want as many people to listen to our music.”
Despite the somewhat surprising nature of the group’s win, judge and XFM Radio DJ John Kennedy praised the group, saying:
“The great thing about Young Fathers is that they are such a unique band that could really only come out of Britain and could really only come out right now.”
“One of things that distinguished them from other bands on the list was that ability to create music that is so rich and diverse in terms of its references, but be really catchy but aggressive at the same time. They really draw you into their world. It’s a really powerful performance, and it’s quite intriguing how they manage to be punk, angry, aggressive yet soulful and full of rich, hip-hop history. This is a different British voice.”
He added: “I think it’s crazy how few albums they’ve sold, because they are one of the most unique groups around at the moment, and it’s not as if the songs aren’t catchy. They just need to be heard, and if this helps them be heard, then it’s a great decision.”
The Mercury prize also known as the Barclaycard Mercury Music Prize, has been taking place since 1992 and is seen as the alternative to the Brit Awards. Previous winners include dance band M People, singer Ms Dynamite and rapper Dizzee Rascal.