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Baker's Dozen

“Yes It’s F*cking Political!”: Skin's Favourite Albums
Louise Brown , March 13th, 2019 10:52

Skunk Anansie vocalist Skin guides Louise Brown through 13 favourite records, from Holst to Nina Simone, Everything But The Girl, Sepultura and Amy Winehouse

It's 1995, grunge is over, Blur and Oasis are embroiled in a little war while Robson & Jerome are the dominating the charts. The antithesis to all that arrived in the form of a politicised, outspoken, no-bullshit, skinhead black woman fronting a band named after a Ghanian folk-God. Skunk Anansie, who formed 25-years-ago, were a brash, London antidote to imported alt-rock, gimmicky actors covering songs yer ma liked, and all that cocky Britpop bravado. The indie press couldn't get enough of them and their first single 'Little Baby Swastikkka' got the controversial nod from shock-rock jockey Howard Stern needed to make the right people sit up and pay attention.

The band's debut Paranoid And Sunburnt had been recorded by 1994's go-to metal producer Sylvia Massey, who'd worked with Slayer, Tool, Babes In Toyland and Luscious Jackson and was written by singer Skin and her songwriting collaborator Len Arran, with bandmates Cass, Ace and Diamond Head/UFO drummer Robbie France (soon replaced to this day by Mark Richardson). With tracks like 'Intellectualise My Blackness', 'Rise Up' and the mega-single 'Weak', Skin and Skunk Anansie positioned themselves as a Brit rock tour-de-force, teeming with black, gay, feminist rage. 1996's follow-up album Stoosh, with its opening track 'Yes It's Fucking Political' was the clarion call for all young upstarts, yours truly included. Skunk Anansie lit fires that still burn today.

Interviewing Skin is a whirlwind. She's as opinionated, hilarious and dynamic as you might hope. As our conversation jumps from growing up in South London and being glued to Top Of The Pops ("That was my musical influence, because when you're a little black kid in Brixton it was my lifeline to another world."), to raving with her promoter girlfriend well into the New Year, to identity ("I'm gay, I'm also black and I'm also 50-years-old. I'm all of these things and you don't separate those things. People say to me, 'What's more important, being black or being female?' How I am supposed to fucking separate being black and female?"), to her fashion style ("I'm part yardie, part Madonna but 60% Skin"), to funding music students through Skunk Anansie's scholarship programme ("music in England has got too fucking middle class, where are the young, angry artists?"), it just shows that Skin has enough to say to keep her band vital for quite some time to come.

Click the picture of Skin below to begin reading through her Baker's Dozen selections