This article is a sponsored collaboration between Diesel and PAPER
Skepta's meteoric rise in the UK music scene has made him one of the most influential artists of his generation. His cutting-edge flows and lyrical styles have brought the genre to the masses, a craft he's been honing since his early days as a budding North London MC. It's that pioneering spirit that made him the perfect for Diesel's new Sound of the Brave fragrance, of which he's been named its global face and spokesperson.
"Growing up I used to like loud fragrances and even used to be loud in my voice," he tells PAPER. "But growing up and becoming more comfortable, I'm accepting of a lot of things. "I shout sometimes, but my approach to my music started as not to shout on the mic, it's more to just talk. All those other things are evolving and becoming more okay with themselves."
The fragrance has a history of being deeply rooted in street culture since the original was launched over 10 years ago. Produced by perfume master Fabrice Pellegrin at Firmenich, it contains notes of bison grass accord and lavandin essence as well as hints of spicy juniper and lemon. The bottle is a vibrant, electric blue constructed in the shape of a fist.
"I feel like if you listen to my music it's definitely about empowering people and wanting people to be brave and to be an individual," he says, adding that it's the most he's ever been involved with in a project. "It's a really good name, especially for a fragrance. It sounds kind of like an album."
Skepta's earliest memories of Diesel, as with many fans of the brand, involve a lot of jeans. "I knew them for their denim and black jeans when I was younger. A lot of the stuff that I would ever see from Diesel was jeans and a lot of people were wearing them, so they must've been reliable. It was nice to do the shoot with them because I was able to see a lot of the archive pieces that they had before. Their leather and denim archive is crazy."
The accompanying campaign, shot by photographer Olivia Rose, marks a return to Diesel's Only the Brave roots and shows Skepta in a pensive yet determined look while wearing a denim Diesel shirt. The film, meanwhile, captures the rapper's creative process where he's seen in a recording studio surrounded by members of his actual crew, dropping beats and trying to find the right sound and perfect message.