Gang Signs & Prayer by Stormzy

This is the one album I have been baiting my breath for. With Stormzy vanishing without a trace from social media after being so interactive with his fans, I had no idea what to expect. Then out of the silence burst ominous billboards appearing around London, an advert during the BRITS, and ‘Big For Your Boots’ was dropped – my prayers were answered and that South London hole in my heart was filled once more.

For all of those who were expecting this to just be an album of non-stop grime tracks, you could not be more mistaken. Not only has Stormzy lived up to the hype and recognition, he has blown it out of the water – it’s being heralded as the UK’s answer to Kendrick’s To Pimp A Butterfly, and I am at liberty to wholeheartedly agree.

We are fully immersed and allowed into the world of Stormzy on so many levels. There is ‘Mr. Skeng’ firmly stating every reason why he is the King: ‘They said Stormzy can’t be the king of grime, ‘Cause he can’t do radio sets, let’s be real rude boy, I would light up a radio set.’ Just take a look at his Fire In The Booth ratings, he isn’t lying. The album title couldn’t be more perfect at describing your own emotions whilst listening to the album. ‘Blinded By Your Grace pt 2’ and ‘100 bags’ had me wanting to get to the nearest church and pray, while ‘Return of the Rucksack’ took me back to all those Friday nights skanking it out in Brixton. Stormzy is no one trick pony, he is not “just a grime artist” and we would serve well to remember that. I never saw this album coming, I couldn’t have imagined the immense differences that one man could bring to so many genres.

His school may have terrorised mine on the bus back from Croydon, but this 23 year old man may thank God for his success, and we should thank God for his existence in our culture.

Rianna Julian

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