Skepta Acknowledges Critics Claiming "Gas Me Up (Diligent)" Artwork Invokes Holocaust, Ponders Quitting ‘If My Art Is Policed'

"I can honestly see how my single artwork without context can be deemed offensive, especially in a time like this but again that was not my intention," the 41-year-old wrote.

Image via Getty/Joe Maher/BFC

Skepta took to social media late Tuesday to speak about what he believes to be misconceptions regarding the artwork for his upcoming song "Gas Me Up (Diligent)."

After deleting an Instagram post showcasing the art, the 41-year-old explained that the controversial image is tied to his forthcoming album Knife & Fork, and how he associates specific elements—such as "skinhead and football culture"—with his parents coming to the UK in the 1980s.

Skepta acknowledged that the art "has been taken offensively by many and I can promise you that was definitely not our plan so I have removed it and I vow to be more mindful going forward."

He has faced accusations that the cover, which shows the back of a white man's shaved head with "Gas Me Up" tattooed on it, evokes the Holocaust, including in the comments section of the since-deleted IG post.

Looks like another grime artist has headed into what could easily be seen as Antisemitic territory. This is ‘Skepta’s’ cover for the charmingly named “Gas Me Up”. Tattooing these words on a shaven headed man in a hunched group obviously evokes Holocaust gas chamber analogies.

— Alan Mendoza (@alanmendoza) January 9, 2024
Twitter: @alanmendoza

A few hours after his initial post, Skepta tweeted another message in which he once again agreed the artwork could be considered offensive, "especially in a time like this," though that was not his intention.

"But after some thought I don't feel like I could continue being the artist you all know and love if my art is policed," he wrote. He floated the idea that he will "have to quit if I can’t express my art as I see it."

Skepta offered to "help with context" by providing a few images on what he called his mood board for "the 1980's UK story for my album Knife & Fork."

Despite the backlash toward the artwork for "Gas Me Up (Diligent)," the grime MC assures it "will be out January 26th as planned."

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