Grime musician Skepta wins prestigious Mercury music prize

Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — Grime musician Skepta has won Britain's prestigious Mercury Prize for his album "Konnichiwa."

The Londoner — a star of the edgy, distinctly British hip-hop genre — beat finalists including the late David Bowie. Bowie had been bookies' favorite to take the 25,000 pound ($33,000) album-of-the-year prize Thursday for "Blackstar."

Singer Jarvis Cocker, one of the judges, said the choice had come down to Bowie or Skepta — and the panel decided that "if Bowie was looking down" he would want Skepta to win.

The other finalists, whittled down from 12 contenders, were soulful singer Laura Mvula, soul singer-songwriter Michael Kiwanuka, indie darlings Radiohead and rockers The 1975.

Established in 1992 and open to acts from Britain and Ireland, the Mercury Prize often favors the eclectic and obscure over better-known performers.