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Little Simz And Knucks Tie For Best Album Prize – Mobo Awards

Indians at UK - Mobo Awards

Rappers Little Simz and Knucks have been named joint winners of the best album prize at this year’s Mobo Awards. It was the first-ever tie in the 25-year history of the awards, which celebrate black music and culture. The win was a further accolade for Simz’s intensely personal Sometimes I Might Be Introvert, which won last month’s Mercury Prize last month. Knucks was honored for his jazz-rap debut, Alpha Place, named after the London estate he grew up on. Judges said, “both artists showed where British rap can go, both production-wise and lyrically”.

Indians at UK - Mobo Awards

The ceremony also saw R&B star Craig David and Chic legend Nile Rodgers win lifetime achievement awards. On stage at London’s Wembley Arena, David dedicated his award to his father, George. “Thank you to my dad, who was part of the Windrush era,” he said. “He came over to this country and he experienced racism, he experienced being bullied… but he nurtured me and showed me love. “He always said to me, ‘Never dim your light’. And I love you dad for that, because that’s served me so well throughout my life.”

Indians at UK - Mobo Awards

The star’s honour came 22 years after his first Mobo win, for best newcomer, in 2000. “I feel the same way I did back then – just really thankful,” he told BBC News. “But I know that the bit in between, which we call life, has been the most beautiful thing – and I would never change it for the world.”

Indians at UK - Mobo Awards

Rodgers, the New York musician whose credits include Madonna’s Like A Virgin, David Bowie’s Let’s Dance and Beyoncé’s Cuff It, said he had always felt at home in London. “The UK has always supported me and always supported my efforts when sometimes in America racism played a part in my development,” he said. “I always say to people, I have been swimming upstream my entire life.” He went on to close the show with a medley of his hits, from Chic’s Le Freak to Daft Punk’s Get Lucky.

New categories

Elsewhere at the ceremony, London rapper Central Cee made good on his 2021 best newcomer award, returning to the ceremony to pick up best male artist and video of the year, for his provocative street anthem Doja. BBC Sound of 2023 winner Pink Pantheress was named best female, recognising the home-spun, sample-heavy of hits like Just For Me and Break It Off.

Indians at UK - Mobo Awards

This year’s Mobos also featured two new categories – best alternative act and best dance/electronic act – in response to calls for the awards to diversify. Jungle musician Nia Archives led the campaign, posting an open letter in April saying it was “frustrating” that the ceremony didn’t represent “black music in all its forms”. When the new categories were announced, she was among the nominees – and ultimately won best dance/electronic artist. “I weren’t expecting that, I can’t lie,” said the Bradford-born musician. “Jungle is music of black origin and I’m proud to be flying the flag for my community and my scene.”

Best alternative act went to grime-punk duo Bob Vylan, whose gripping second album The Price Of Life is a furious polemic about wealth inequality and the cost of living crisis. “There’s a lot of anger in it, but it’s righteous anger,” singer and guitarist Bobby Vylan told BBC News. “If you look at the news on any given day, the people of Britain should be angry with what’s going on. “We’re working-class musicians. We’re on the ground, we’re not removed from any of the struggle. We’re here at an award show but we’ve got to pay our rent.”

Nigerian superstar Burna Boy claimed two prizes, winning best international and best African act; while D-Block Europe won best hip-hop. Song of the year went to dancer-turned-musician Dreya Mac for her viral smash Own Brand (Baddie). Best known for the line “I ain’t never been with a baddie”, her imminently-quotable earworm became a sensation on TiKTok last year, ultimately soundtracking more than eight million videos.

Indians at UK - Mobo Awards

Knucks, aka north London rapper Ashley Nwachukwu, went into the ceremony with the most nominations – five in total. Although the shared best album trophy was his only victory, the musician was happy with the result. “It’s definitely validating” he told BBC News. “I feel like I’ve been doing this for a long time, so to finally have people acknowledge all the effort I put in really feels good.” He described his album as “an origin story that shows where I came from and what kind of person I am”.

Highlights show

Kane Robinson – aka rapper Kano – won best performance in a TV show for his role as drug kingpin Sully in the Netflix drama Top Boy. Reflecting on how his life had changed since winning best newcomer at the 2005 Mobos, the star had some advice for his fellow musicians. “I just want to say to all artists that have other interests – you can do what you [expletive] want. “No boxes, no boundaries. Your artistry don’t stop in one medium. If you’re interested in something else, do it.” BBC One will show highlights from the ceremony – including performances by Kojey Radical, Fireboy DML, Cat Burns and FLO – in a special programme next Wednesday, 7 December.

Indians at UK - Mobo Awards

The full list of nominees and winners is:

Best male act

  • Central Cee – winner
  • Dave
  • D-Block Europe
  • Digga D
  • Knucks
  • Tion Wayne

Best female act

  • PinkPantheress – winner
  • Little Simz
  • Mahalia
  • Miraa May
  • Ms Banks
  • Tiana Major9

Album of the year

  • Knucks – Alpha Place – joint winner
  • Little Simz – Sometimes I Might Be Introvert – joint winner
  • Aitch – Close To Home
  • Kojey Radical – Reason to Smile
  • M Huncho – Chasing Euphoria
  • Miraa May – Tales of a Miracle

Song of the year

  • Dreya Mac, Felixthe1st & Finch Fetti – Own Brand (Baddie) – winner
  • Aitch feat Ashanti – Baby
  • Central Cee – Doja
  • Dave – Starlight
  • Digga D & Stillbrickin – Pump 1010
  • Potter Payper feat Tiggs Da Author – Gangsteritus

Best newcomer

  • Bru-C – winner
  • Cat Burns
  • Clavish
  • Cristale
  • Flo
  • Jbee
  • Nemzzz
  • Nia Archives
  • SwitchOTR

Video of the year

  • Central Cee – Doja (directed by Cole Bennett) – winner
  • Headie One, Abra Cadabra & Bandokay – Can’t Be Us (directed by Headie One and Don Prod)
  • Knucks – Alpha House/Hide & Seek (directed by Emile Ebrahim Kelly)
  • Kojey Radical feat. Knucks – Payback (directed by Charlie Sarsfield and Ejiro Dafé)
  • Little Simz feat. Obongjayar – Point and Kill (directed by Ebeneza Blanche)
  • Mahalia – Whatever Simon Says (directed by Mahalia)

Best R&B/Soul act

  • Mahalia – winner
  • Ella Mai
  • Miraa May
  • Nao
  • Shakka
  • Tiana Major9

Best grime act

  • D Double E – winner
  • Blay vision
  • Frisco
  • Kamakaze
  • Manga Saint Hilare
  • Novelist

Best Hip Hop act

  • D-Block Europe – winner
  • Knucks
  • Kojey Radical
  • Little Simz
  • Potter Payper
  • Youngs Teflon

Best drill act

  • K-Trap – winner
  • Central Cee
  • Digga D
  • Headie One
  • Ivorian Doll
  • Kwengface
  • M24
  • Russ Millions
  • Unknown T
  • V9

Best international act

  • Burna Boy – winner
  • Beyoncé
  • Chris Brown
  • Drake
  • Jack Harlow
  • Jazmine Sullivan
  • Kendrick Lamar
  • Skillibeng
  • Summer Walker
  • Tems

Best performance in a TV show/film

  • Kane Robinson (Kano) as Sully – Top Boy – winner
  • Damson Idris as Franklin Saint – Snowfall
  • Daniel Kaluuya as Otis “Oj” Haywood Jr. – Nope
  • Jasmine Jobson as Jaq – Top Boy
  • Lashana Lynch as Nomi – No Time To Die
  • Samuel Adewunmi as Hero – You Don’t Know Me

Best media personality

  • Nella Rose – winner
  • Big Zuu
  • Chuckie Online
  • Chunkz
  • Harry Pinero
  • KSI
  • Mo Gilligan
  • Munya Chawawa
  • Yung Filly
  • Zeze Millz

Best alternative music act

  • Bob Vylan – winner
  • Big Joanie
  • Kid Bookie
  • Loathe
  • Nova Twins
  • Skunk Anansie

Best electronic/dance act

  • Nia Archives – winner
  • Anz
  • Eliza Rose
  • FKA Twigs
  • Jax Jones
  • Sherelle

Best African music act

  • Burna Boy (Nigeria) – winner
  • Adekunle Gold (Nigeria)
  • Asake (Nigeria)
  • Fireboy DML (Nigeria)
  • Kabza De Small (South Africa)
  • Omah Lay (Nigeria)
  • Oxlade (Nigeria)
  • Pheelz (Nigeria)
  • Rema (Nigeria)
  • Tems (Nigeria)

Best gospel act

  • Still Shadey – winner
  • Asha Elia
  • Calledout Music
  • Rachel Kerr
  • Reblah
  • Sarah Teibo

Best jazz act

  • Ezra Collective – winner
  • Blue Lab Beats
  • Doomcannon
  • Ego Ella May
  • Jas Kayser
  • Kokoroko

Best Caribbean music act

  • Skillibeng – winner
  • Koffee
  • Popcaan
  • Sean Paul
  • Shenseea
  • Spice

Best producer

  • Inflo – winner
  • Jae5
  • Labrinth
  • M1onthebeat
  • P2J
  • TSB


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