Skepta is in limbo, an auspicious yet unnerving place where triumph and sacrifice pull relentlessly on either side of him. How are you supposed to feel when everything you've worked a decade for comes at a cost you may not be willing to even pay? Where do you go from there without being torn down the middle? It's been five years since the Tottenham-based grime artist released his last studio album and yet, the Boy Better Know-pioneer has recently found himself traveling the globe, establishing himself as the most revered hip-hop act to emerge from the UK in decades. While long-time BBK fans have anticipated the North London emcee's fourth studio LP for years, it wasn't until this past year that the mainstream music industry began to finally note the authenticity and energy submerged in UK street music and suddenly, grime faced a major international renaissance, fronted by Skepta and his furious ambition. Now, after multiple delays and the world watching, the independent artist dropped Konnichiwa – an album centered on success and principle – as his mainstream debut. And Skepta can only be honest about the conflict accompanying it.

It's the day of Konnichiwa's release and the grime-star has flown from Tokyo to Toronto for another sold-out show where Skepta will perform new album cuts for one of the first times ever, to a sweaty sold-out crowd of 1500 Canadian fans prepared to experience history. An underground genre once reserved for UK pirate radio and dingy basement jams has now been welcomed fervently to the big stage, across time zones and oceans, as a screaming mob shouts "BBK," before Skepta emerges thunderously under the spotlight, alongside his entourage and independent label-mates. Madness ensues; the kind of energy propelled by victory. But although it's an adrenaline-surging moment burrowed in the deepest dreams of any aspiring artist, the authentic emcee's come-up is weighed with responsibility, as the pressures of representing a culture and genre on an international platform (while addressing its commercial appeal) has fastened Skepta to the limbo he so candidly addresses on the 12-tracks of his new project.

"You're going mad fam," grime peer and North London emcee Chip says to Skepta over the phone in a recording, rounding out aggressive Eski-tinged, Wiley-accompanied banger 'Corn On The Curb,' which intricately boasts Skepta's up-rise from early 2000 rap beginnings to his current worldwide domination. While most artists flaunt their unlikely arrival however, Skepta contemplates the implications of it all in a tortured attempt to remain exactly who he is – loyal and principled – in the face of new-found success. Where pride and confidence dwell, anxiety and doubt also seep into his psyche. But through a steadfast inner-circle, he regains sanity. "You got the call from God to do something deeper, bro. Like, you got the call to go and make everyone look at everything else that is happening over here, fam. You get me? That's a deeper calling, bro," Chip continues, urging his friend to embrace change rather than question it.

Through abrasively autobiographical bars and pulsating self-produced quintessential grime beats, Skepta's gritty street tales prove that if he's going to embrace that responsibility, he'll do it his way. Konnichiwa is a nod to grime's discovered mainstream appeal, without pandering to it. And while (dated) singles 'That's Not Me,' 'It Ain’t Safe' and 'Shutdown' all appear on the album, the tracksuit hero doesn't shy away from ushering in a new wave of intense succinct bangers, like Novelist-featured track 'Lyrics,' BBK-flavoured 'Detox' and hostile 'Crime Riddim,' offering a consistent energy throughout the entire project. And although bars are often simplistic, ("And I turned into MC Hammer, they can't touch me" on the album-opening title-track and "Man, I hate this phone. Kiss my teeth when I hear the ringtone," on modern album-closer 'Text Me Back,') their delivery is rooted in Skepta's ongoing desire to share his most prominent views as they come.

"Boy better know a man went to the BRITs on a train. Think it's a game. Man shutdown Wireless, then I walked home in the rain," he distinctly notes on Konnichiwa's into, detailing his chosen modesty during a time when endorsements from Kanye West and Drake propelled grime and Skepta's music specifically, to the world's stage. Throughout the sonic version of his mental journey around the matrix of fame, Skepta has learned to remain steadily himself in the face of hurdling success, while delivering one of the most vital albums in the history (and for the future) of globally accepted grime. Arigatou, Jr.

Skepta and BBK are headlining Wireless Festival on July 10.