How One Photographer Won Skepta Over With Veggies

Samuel Bradley talks shooting grime star Skepta for our Summer Music cover.

Photographer Samuel Bradley
June 05, 2015

London photographer Samuel Bradley, who also shot Skepta's F98 cover co-star Hudson Mohawke, explains how he discovered that a stalk of broccoli is the way into the grime king's good graces during their cover shoot in North London.


Samuel Bradley: The first place we met was in Tottenham, which is where Skepta’s from originally. Tottenham is kind of a rough town in North London, quite far out from the center. There’s a big Turkish community and a big Hasidic Jewish community. We met on this industrial estate, and he turned up in his Mercedes with a bunch of his crew.

I was trying to do this slightly inconspicuous shoot on a side street; we were cranking the music, and they were drinking and smoking. Almost immediately, a security guard came over and was like, “What are you guys doing?” I told him it was a school project. And he believed me. He was like, “Just don’t block this entrance.”

Skepta’s got, like, 200 percent confidence. He had loads of energy and kept dancing while I was shooting. The two days we were together, he played the same three or four songs on repeat all the time. Whenever one of his crew put on music, they’d put on the same songs. He wouldn’t tell me what anything was called. I was like, “What’s this song?” He was like, “I can’t tell you that, I can’t tell you that.” It’s like the soundtrack to his whole thing, his whole production, and he’s reluctant to share it.

When I found out that he was a vegetarian, I was surprised. I don’t know why. I said to his manager, “I want to get some supplies for the second day of the shoot,” because after they’d been smoking they had crazy, crazy munchies, and they’d eaten all these crisps that I bought. She said that Skepta was really into broccoli. He loves raw broccoli, eating it in salads and on its own. So the next morning I bought a massive floret of broccoli and I forgot about it until the very end of the day, when we were just leaving. He was already in his car listening to music and smoking with his friends. So I went and knocked on his window—this blacked-out window—and he was like, “Oh, what do you want?” I just handed him the broccoli, in front of all his crew. His face cracked into this massive smile, and he started laughing. He grabbed my hand and shook it, and was like, “Oh my god, thank you so much. That’s hilarious.”