“Allow me to reintroduce myself”- Jay Z
At the tail end of last year Stormzy went AWOL. He acrimoniously shut down his social media presence and ruthlessly cancelled all but one of his live performances. Why? To focus on his long anticipated debut album; a 16 track project which he has finally released today.
The return was meticulously planned. Last month his social media accounts blinkered back into life. First it was Snapchat, then Twitter and finally Instagram.
A mysterious billboard campaign spread across locations in East London, and a daunting tune “Big For Your Boots” dropped soon after. A UK tour was announced, and sold out entirely within a matter of minutes. Interviews were secured with Channel 4 and the BBC, and the BRIT awards were set alight by an iconic performance featuring Stormzy and fellow Londoner Ed Sheeran. The track they performed, a remix of Sheeran’s chart topping hit “Shape of You”, is also out today.
Not bad for an unsigned musician.
With “Gang Signs & Prayer”, Stormzy delivers where many artists disappoint. The album is characterised by an unpredictable range of sounds, from Grime to Gospel. It is a sample of music that betrays the fact that Stormzy is an artist who has been influenced by a wide range of musicians over the years. The project features collaborations with the likes of Kehlani, Ghetts, J Hus, Wretch 32 and more, and we predict that its a project that will gain the attention of people who are interested in genres outside of Grime - a genre which was dismissed by Azalea Banks last year as a “disgrace”. Maybe the extra recognition will prove a great thing.
Stream Gang Signs & Prayer below