A beginner’s guide to: Stormzy

 

Everyone knows Stormzy. You know, the bloke that was on Sunday Brunch? Did that interview with Graham Norton once, makes grime music, but is also beloved by your gran, who thinks he ‘seems like a lovely chap’.

What’s that, you haven’t heard of him? That’s a disaster, you’ve got that interview on 1Xtra this afternoon and you’re seeing your grandparents straight afterwards! Stormzy is pretty much the only topic of conversation that applies to both.

Don’t worry, we can sort this out. Read this article and you’ll learn all about Croydon’s finest quicker than you can say “Michael Ebenazer Kwadjo Omari Owuo Jr.” (that’s his full name, in case you were wondering).

Not That Deep – 2014

With a video that showed Stormzy cycling around the car park of Croydon’s IKEA, ‘Not That Deep’ seems a million miles away from the rapper’s A-list status now. What this track does is show just how talented Stormzy is as a rapper, and his charisma and sheer ability shine through.

Know me From – 2015

A more polished take on the tried-and-tested grime formula, ‘Know Me From’ is notable because it showcases one of the things Stormzy does best. The track uses the same instrumental as ‘BMO Field’, a track from Wiley’s Snakes and Ladders. Throughout his career, Stormzy has kept an eye on grime’s heritage, chopping and changing the building blocks of the genre, with the result being a more marketable sound, but one that’s still undeniably rooted in grime’s origins.

Shut Up – 2015

Originally a freestyle recorded in a South London car park (Stormzy really likes car parks, apparently), ‘Shut Up’ became the first freestyle to ever chart in the UK, originally reaching number 18. A campaign to get the song to Christmas number 1 pushed it to number 8, and pushed Stormzy into the mainstream consciousness. This was the first indication that Stormzy might just become grime’s newest breakout star.

Big For Your Boots – 2017

After months of silence on social media, Stormzy dropped ‘Big For your Boots’, the lead single from debut album Gang Signs And Prayer. The album went on to become grime’s first ever number 1 album, and cemented Stormzy as a festival-headline level act. The track itself is hard-hitting grime at its finest, as long as you ignore the bizarre pronunciation of the word “boots” in the chorus…

Blinded by Your Grace, Pt. 2 – 2017

…but it wasn’t grime that finally made Stormzy radio friendly and sold his album to thousands of mums on the school run. Gang Signs and Prayer was also heavily influenced by gospel and soul, with ‘Blinded by Your Grace Pt. 2’ being the perfect example of this stylistic change. Genre-hopping and barrier breaking, Stormzy has managed to sit on the sofa chatting to Graham Norton, whilst still flying the grime flag.

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