The 2016 Mercury Music Prize winner Skepta will perform at November’s Sole DXB.
It may not grab the headlines in the same way a Zayn Malik concert would do, yet it marks a significant point for Dubai as it shows an ability to attract leading performers from the more niche musical genres.
London-born Grime MC Skepta is a legend of his scene, a pioneer for a style of music that originated on the tough council estates of the English capital and has, through the hardwork and perseverance of a marginalised majority, broken new ground in the USA and rest of the world.
Born Joseph Junior Adenuga, the star is one of the most exciting musicians on the planet, as well as one of the most respected, having ditched mainstream record labels to propel himself to stardom on his own.
His 2016 album Konnichiwa was a five-star smash hit and earned the coveted Mercury Prize earlier this year, following the likes of Dizzee Rascal to the gong. Tracks like That’s Not Me and Shutdown spoke to an entire generation, both of which are likely to be performed in Dubai at the pop-up festival in d3 next month.
Joining Skepta at the regions’ biggest street culture festival, which returns on November 18 and 19 for the fifth time, is Little Simz and BJ The Chicago Kid. Brands including adidas, Puma and Nike will also all be taking part.
Simz, real name Simbi Ajikawo, is, like Skepta, north London born and raised. The rapper, singer and actress is on the cusp of a major breakthrough in her homeland following the release of album A Curious Tale of Trials + Persons.
Meanwhile, BJ is, as one might suspect, coming straight out of Chicago. The 31-year-old can lay claim to collaborations with some of hip hop's biggest stars, including Schoolboy Q, Kendrick Lamar, Warren G and Kanye West.
The 2015 instalment saw the likes of Stan Smith and DMC from Run DMC make guest appearances, as well as a headline slot from Mobb Deep.