Stormzy's ability to educate and help those around him while producing amazing shows just why is he is one of the UK's best artists.
Stormzy is one of the biggest grime artists of the decade, often labelled as the ‘king of grime’. He brought grime into the mainstream and brings important issues such as race and class into the forefront. After the major success of his debut album Gang Signs & Prayer, Stormzy has released a new album Heavy is the Head which shows his versatility as an artist and his willingness to test himself artistically and emotionally. This can be seen throughout as he discusses personal issues which have made headlines in the press, this can be seen is ‘Lessons’ which is about his ex-partner Maya Jama. Stormzy is honest and talks about his regrets about throwing away “the greatest love I ever knew”. This vulnerability is impressive for an artist who is known for their strong front.
The new record opens with ‘Big Michael’. It starts with an angry voice left by a presumed ‘fan’ Josh Muni on Instagram who demands “Just release some fucking music, dickhead”. The track then begins with loud and bold brass arrangements while Stormzy raps about critics and the media attempting to wind him up. This aggressive approach links back to his grime roots and has many similarities to his debut album. This same tone is seen in his next song ‘Audacity’, a track aimed at young rappers who are less experienced and are trying to ‘try tings’ with him. The aggressiveness and the bounding bass exemplifies that Stormzy hasn’t ‘sold out’ as many have said, he is now at the top of the game and experimenting with pop artists, but he is still the same Michael.
His versatility is further portrayed in the next track ‘Crown’ which takes on a completely different tone in comparison to the opening tracks, its slow and mellow. The track focuses on the issues of struggling with the success and wanting to help others while he is becoming “the voice of the young black youth”. This title comes with a double edged-sword as he has to deal with the predominately white media attacking him for being “anti-white” which he proclaims, “is not anti-White its pro-Black”. This links back to his earlier songs of the media and critics trying to wind him up, he wants to do right for his community, but everyone has an opinion and that’s why he says “heavy is the head that wears the crown”.
The musicality can be shown in his track ‘Superheroes’ where the iconic Tracy Beaker theme tune is mixed into the track (skip to 3:09 to listen). This is pairing the world never thought of but was well needed as he sings “I can make my world come true, all my dreams will see me through” which perfectly ends an already amazing track.
The closing track of the ground-breaking record is ‘Vossi Bop’, the first single from the album. The ‘Vossi Bop’ is a dance that became viral in 2016, Stormzy explained that the dance was “so infectious and such a genuine joyous moment” that he decided to create a song primarily about the dance. He later went on to say that the spirit of Vossi embodies what he is about – confidence, humour, style, chaos, anarchy and “the vibe”. The song is a great party tune, but it also features some amazing lyrics discussing the government and their inability to stick to promises.
“Rule Number two, don’t make the promise
If you can’t keep the deal, then just be honest (Just be honest)”
Stormzy has achieved a huge amount of fame through his amazing album which connects with anyone from any background and that what makes this album so beautiful. Stormzy talks about important issues and without purposefully doing so, he educates the youth and gives specifically young black youth a louder voice. This is incredibly important in today’s climate. It is one of the best releases of this year and leaves for a perfect ending to a create year of music.
Listen to ‘Heavy is The Head’ via #Merky Music.