Edinburgh trio Young Fathers win Mercury prize

EDINBURGH-BASED hip hop trio Young Fathers have scooped the prestigious Barclaycard Mercury Prize award for the best British or Irish record over the past 12 months – despite being rank outsiders.

Young Fathers at the Barclaycard Mercury Prize at The Roundhouse in London. Picture: Getty
Young Fathers at the Barclaycard Mercury Prize at The Roundhouse in London. Picture: Getty

The trio of Alloysious Massaquoi, Kayus Bankole and G Hastings were nominated for their album Dead.

Speaking after collecting the £20,000 prize, they said: “Thank you, we love you all, thank you.”

Dead beat 11 other albums from acts including Damon Albarn, Bombay Bicycle Club and bookmakers’ favourite, FKA Twigs.

“We’ll take it in our stride,” said band member G Hastings afterwards.

“We always wanted to make something bigger than the city we were living in.”

The success of Hastings, Massaquoi and Bankole will be considered an upset by many in the music industry and beyond.

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The three have developed a reputation for making a unique blend of music, utilising diverse influences that reflect their different backgrounds.

Massaquoi is originally from Liberia, Scots-born Bankole has Nigerian parents, while Hastings hails from Drylaw in the north of the city.

Their EP Tape Two was named best Scottish album in June this year, beating Biffy Clyro and Edywn Collins to the title.

The trio came together as “a psychedelic hip hop band” in 2008.

Hundreds of fans gathered outside the Roundhouse in north London to watch as the musicians and other celebrities arrived for the one of pop music’s biggest nights of the year.

The result will come as a surprise for Rupert Adams.

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The spokesman for William Hill bookmakers had earlier said: “It has been one-way traffic all week – all the money has been for FKA Twigs, which is reminiscent of the gamble we saw in 2010 on The XX, which ended up being one of our worst-ever Mercury results.”

The prize is usually seen as a huge boost to the nominees, with a sizeable hike in sales both after being nominated and when the winner is announced.

The other contenders for the hotly contested prize were Damon Albarn with Everyday Robots; Bombay Bicycle Club for So Long, See You Tomorrow; Anna Calvi for One Breath; East India Youth for Total Strife Forever; FKA Twigs for LPI; Gogo Penguin for v2.0; Jungle for Jungle; Nick Mulvey for First Mind; Polar Bear for In Each and Every One; Royal Blood for Royal Blood; and Kate Tempest with Everybody Down.

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