Rappers Little Simz and Knucks have been announced as co-winners of this year’s Mobo Awards for best album. In the 25-year history of the awards, which honor black music and culture, it was the first tie ever.
The award was an additional honor for Simz’s deeply intimate book Sometimes I Might Be Introvert, which took home the Mercury Prize in the previous month.
Knucks received praise for his jazz-rap debut, Alpha Place, which was named after the London neighborhood where he was raised.
Both performers “showed where British rap can go, both production-wise and lyrically,” according to the judges.
Nile Rodgers, the father of Chic, and R&B singer Craig David both received lifetime achievement awards at the event.
David gave a speech dedicating his award to his father, George, at the Wembley Arena in London.
“Thank you to my dad, who lived through the Windrush era. “He endured bigotry and bullying when he first arrived in our country, but he took care of me and loved me.
He frequently advised me to “never lower your light.” And I appreciate you, dad, for doing that because it’s helped me a lot in life.
The honor for the star was given to him 22 years after his initial Mobo victory for best newcomer in 2000.
He told BBC News,
“I feel the same way I did back then – simply extremely thankful.
But I am aware that the “part in between,” which we refer to as “life,” has been the most lovely thing, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
The New York-born musician Rodgers, whose work can be heard on Beyoncé’s Cuff It, David Bowie’s Let’s Dance, and Madonna’s Like A Virgin, claimed he had always felt at home in London.
He claimed that even though prejudice occasionally affected his progress in America, “the UK has always supported me and always supported my endeavors.” I frequently tell people that I have spent my entire life swimming against the current.
He then performed a medley of his classics to finish the evening, ranging from Chic’s Le Freak to Daft Punk’s Get Lucky.
Other winners during the night were London rapper Central Cee, who returned to accept awards for best male artist and video of the year for his aggressive street hymn Doja. Central Cee had previously won the 2021 Best Newcomer award.
winning BBC Sound of 2023 In recognition of the locally produced, sample-heavy singles like Just For Me and Break It Off, PinkPantheress was chosen as best female.
In response to requests for the Mobos to become more diverse, this year’s Mobos also included two new categories: best alternative act and best dance/electronic act.
The effort was spearheaded by the jungle artist Nia Archives, who wrote an open letter in April lamenting the ceremony’s lack of representation of “black music in all its manifestations.”
She was one of the nominees when the new categories were revealed, and she ultimately won the best dance/electronic artist.
I won’t lie: “I wasn’t anticipating that,” the Bradford-born musician stated. “Jungle is music with a black heritage, and I’m pleased to represent my scene and my neighborhood by waving the flag for it.”
Grime-punk duo Bob Vylan, whose riveting second album The Price Of Life is a fierce diatribe about wealth disparity and the cost of the living problem, won the award for the best alternative act.
According to vocalist and guitarist Bobby Vylan, “There’s a lot of rage in it, but it’s righteous anger. “If you look at the news on any given day, the British people should be incensed by what is happening.
“We’re musicians of the working class. We are directly involved in the conflict since we are on the ground. Although we are at an awards ceremony, we must still make rent.
Burna Boy, a celebrity from Nigeria, received two awards—best international act and best African act—while D-Block Europe took home the trophy for best hip-hop.
Dreya Mac, a dancer-turned-musician, won Song of the Year for her wildly popular single Own Brand (Baddie).
Her instantly quotable catchphrase, “I ain’t never been with a baddie,” shot to fame on TiKTok last year and ended up soundtracking more than eight million videos.
Knucks, real name Ashley Nwachukwu, a rapper from north London, had five nominations overall going into the ceremony.
The musician was pleased with the outcome even if it was his only victory—the shared best album trophy.
He told BBC News,
“It’s obviously validating.” Since it seems like I’ve been working on this for a while, it is satisfying to finally have others recognize my efforts.
“An origin narrative that demonstrates where I came from and what kind of person I am,” he said of his record.
As the drug lord Sully in the Netflix drama Top Boy, Kane Robinson (better known by his stage as Kano) won the award for best performance in a TV show.
The artist offered some advise to his fellow performers after considering how his life has altered since he took home the award for a best rookie at the 2005 Mobos.
“All artists who have other interests are welcome to pursue them, I only want to emphasize.
“No boundaries or boxes. Your artistic abilities transcend one media. Try something else if you’re interested in it.
Highlights from the ceremony, featuring appearances by Kojey Radical, Fireboy DML, Cat Burns, and FLO, will be featured on BBC One in a special program on December 7th.