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STORMZY – ‘GANG SIGNS AND PRAYER’
One of South London’s finest stars and grime’s reigning poster boy finally released his debut album at the end of last month and it doesn’t disappoint. Going straight in at Number 1, the Official Charts Company said it is the first ‘pure grime’ album to top the UK charts.
Stormzy’s recent appearance on Channel 4 news discussing depression was inspiring, his stand-out Brit Awards surprise performance with Ed Sheeran was game changing and the response to his debut album GSAP has been outstanding. Released via #Merky Records, Gang Signs And Prayer has been a long time coming and now fans and critics alike are praising the finished project and the direction of sound Stormzy is representing. Here is why you need to get this on repeat…
‘MORE THAN JUST THE GRIME BANGERS’
Those expecting a straight up grime record will be surprised as this is a genre-spanning collection of work which reflects the polished progression from his original breakthrough mixtapes. Giving his nod to the Prayers in the title, expect a soulful slower side to him which provides the soothing comparison to the obvious fire from the Gang Signs side of the tracklisting. The intro on ‘Big For Your Boots’ feels exactly how it felt when you first heard the first beats and bars on ‘Shut Up’ – anthemic. Featuring Ghetts, J Hus, Kehlani, Wretch 32, MNEK and Raleigh Ritchie, Stormzy’s selection of talent to collaborate on the debut helps add the cherry on top of this #MERKY pie.
‘ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT PLAYERS IN THE UK MUSIC SCENE’
Stormzy’s appearance at the Brit Awards marked exactly 2 years since he stood alongside Kanye West on what was (at the time) a controversial performance of hit ‘All Day’. Featuring a selection of the best in British MCs making up the background adorned in all black, it was 1. a direct response to the ‘Brits so white’ attitude and 2. West’s genuine support to a lesser known Stormzy and co within the UK Grime scene. Back to 2017, Stormzy’s verse on the hugely successful ‘Shape Of You’ was Ed Sheeran’s way of saying to his mega fan base ‘this guy is good’ and echoed the influence of the current scene as two key players in their fields got together.
‘SIR BIG MIKE’
It would have been easy for Stormzy to create an album of ‘Shut Up’ replicas and obvious bangers but the gospel, more stripped back tones weaved throughout suggests a new chapter for the grime star. Part of his charm as an artist is his humble nature, continuous recognition of his roots and genuine enthusiasm and excitement about his successes and support, something that makes him a fitting spokesperson for the grime scene in this country. He is earning himself the status in the UK as a genuinely positive role model for the younger generation to look up to and aspire to.
Number 1 on the Official Album Chart, a completely sold out UK tour incoming, get ready for #MERKY domination beyond the UK in 2017. Will Stormzy be making a return to our Rocks stage this summer? Keep it locked for breaking line-up announcements this month…