Edinburgh-based hip hop trio Young Fathers have won this year’s Mercury Music Prize for their debut album Dead in a lavish ceremony at London’s Roundhouse surprising both the music industry know-it-alls and the betting industry.
The prize was contested by 12 artists including FKA Twigs, who as of yesterday was the bookies’ favourite, Damon Albarn and Bombay Bicycle Club, but it was the spiky trio who were up on the stage collecting the award, and the attached £20,000 cheque for their debut Dead.
Young Fathers, who have been given the tag ‘a psychedelic hip hop boy band’ are certainly worthy winners, their sound pulling together a wealth of musical sounds, styles and attitudes which reflect both their diverse influences and homes – which range from the north of the city to Liberia – while also bringing an element of the city they call home to the table too.
“We’ll take it in our stride,” said band member G Hastings of their awards success.
“We always wanted to make something bigger than the city we were living in.” Despite trumping all expectations and predictions for the night, the trio looked thoroughly nonplussed throughout the whole thing, barely braking a smile at any point in the evening, despite performing and taking to the stage to accept their award in person.
Perhaps it could be a little something to do with the Mercury Prize ‘curse’ which has seen previous winners over many years quickly disappear into obscurity shortly after picking up the award.
Roni Size won in 1997 for his New Forms album but struggled to keep anywhere near this amount of critical or commercial interest afterwards, while The XX were media darlings and walked away with the prize for their self-titled debut, but also struggled to make such an impact with the sophomore effort, Coexist, two years later.
Only time will tell how Young Fathers will fare, but Dead is a cracking record, and you can catch the boys out on tour att XOYO on December 10.