Stormzy‘s debut album Gang, Signs & Prayer debuted at number 1 in the charts. The album features collaberations with some of the biggest names in the urban genre including Kehlani, Wretch 32, Ghetts, J Hus and more. The rapper is currently embarking on his first solo tour and performed to a sold out crowd in Dublin’s Olympia Theatre last week.
The South Londoner has made history as he’s become the first independent grime artist to reach number one in the UK. Stormzy, who’s real name is Michael Omari has been making history for quite some time now. His freestyle anthem Shut Up was the first freestyle track ever to place in the UK charts, reaching a mighty number 8 spot.
Like the majority of today’s artists, 23 year old Stormzy rose to fame through YouTube. He began releasing music on his channel back in 2011. His freestyle series Wicked Skengman was what really put Stormzy on a pedestal and began attracting endless attention.
There’s a lot more than meets the eye with 6 foot 5 Stormzy. The grime artist was extremely academic in school, receiving 8 grade A GCSE’s. The rapper recently gave a speech to over 300 students at Oxford University, discussing issues such as sexism and racism.
Stormzy is attempting to remove the stereotype associated with grime and rap artists by repeatedly expressing in his lyrics that he’s an artist, not a gangster. He’s been extremely outspoken about racism and the police. The rapper recently called out the London metropolitan police for ransacking his house without a warrant.
Furthermore, Stormzy openly discusses his battle with depression and makes reference to it throughout the album.
For me it was like a realisation of how fragile we are as humans in the most beautiful way possible like. In the sense where I always saw myself as this like strong person who just deals with life, I get on with it. And if something gets me low I pick myself back up like that happens we always march on. That’s always been my philosophy. Even down to the point where one of my closest friends who was suffering from it, I used to like dismiss him. In… it wasn’t even in a harsh way, like I used to just think just be happy, do you know what I mean, just pull it together. That was a world that was so alien to me. I just used to think you get up, march on. So for me I felt like on this album if I didn’t address that, what I was going through, I would be lying. Because even then I had another complex of where like, okay I went through this, but I don’t even know if I want the world to know, but it was still something I went through.
Stormzy is continuing to battle societal stigma’s whilst setting trends and producing a unique mix of grime and rap. His latest single Big For Your Boots has conjured up nearly 20 million YouTube views and is currently sitting at number 2 in the UK charts. Stormzy is the Friday headliner for Longitude 2017 which takes place in Marlay Park on the 14th of July.