Stormzy, the new king of grime
The Londoner is taking grime to new heights with Gang Signs & Prayer...
Stormzy was just a kid when his elders like Wiley or Lethal Bizzle were hard at work in London's pirate radio studios, laying the foundations of grime. This mixture of jungle and garage which would burst into the world's vision with prodigy Dizzee Rascal’s 2003 debut album would form the soundtrack to his youth. While he was cutting his teeth in the youth club in his neighbourhood of Thornton Heath, grime took wing: faced with oppression (clubs were closing and grime anthems judged as being ‘too aggressive’ and were subsequently banned from the airwaves), most actors on the scene chose to go underground, or compromised with the mainstream. But it was a freestyle over one of the genre's classic instrumentals (Functions On The Low du Ruff Sqwad) that got Stormzy noticed. Shut Up – the title of this effort which has been played and shared dozens of millions of times – played a substantial role in putting grime back on the map. It would be an understatement to say that Gang Signs & Prayer, Stormzy's first album, was eagerly awaited.
While he is a creature of his times, and mixes his grime with pop and R'n'B (Velvet/Jenny Francis, Cigarettes & Cush) the 24-year-old kid proves that he knows the grime textbook like the back of his hand (the incomparable Big For Your Boots with its sculpted chorus and its tempo racing far above 160 BPM), and he knows to pay homage to his elders – giving a nod to Dizzee Rascal, with an interlude with pioneer Crazy Titch. © DB/Qobuz