Stormzy This is what i mean, New album, Album, Songs, Height & More

British rapper

Stormzy

Stormzy performing in 2019
Background information
Birth name Michael Ebenezer Kwadjo Omari Owuo Jr
Also known as Wicked Skengman
The Problem
Stiff Chocolate
Born (1993-07-26) 26 July 1993 (age 29)
London, England
Origin Norbury, London, England
Genres
  • British hip hop
  • grime
  • R&B
  • gospel
Occupation(s)
  • Rapper
  • singer
  • songwriter
Years active 2010–present
Labels
  • #Merky
  • 0207 Def Jam
  • Warner
Musical artist

Michael Ebenezer Kwadjo Omari Owuo Jr (born 26 July 1993), known professionally as Stormzy, is a British rapper, singer and songwriter In 2014, he gained attention on the UK underground music scene through his Wicked Skengman series of freestyles over classic grime beats

Stormzy’s song “Shut Up”, which was initially released as a freestyle on YouTube, became popular and peaked at number eight on the UK Singles Chart after he launched a campaign to reach Christmas number one Stormzy won Best Grime Act at the 2014 and 2015 MOBO Awards and was named as an artist to look out for in the BBC’s Sound of 2015 list His debut album, Gang Signs & Prayer (2017), was the first grime album to reach number one on the UK Albums Chart and won British Album of the Year at the 2018 Brit Awards In 2019, Stormzy achieved his first UK number-one single with “Vossi Bop” and his headline appearance at the 2019 Glastonbury Festival was widely praised; he wore a Union Jack stab vest designed by Banksy, in light of the rise in knife crime in London His second album, Heavy Is the Head, was released on 13 December 2019 On 22 September 2022, Stormzy released the single “Mel Made Me Do It” accompanied by an 11-minute music video featuring popular artists, actors and sports figures such as Usain Bolt and José Mourinho

Early life

Michael Ebenezer Kwadjo Omari Owuo Jr was born on 26 July 1993 in Croydon, London His mother is Ghanaian, his father was a taxi driver and he is a cousin of rapper Nadia Rose He grew up in South Norwood, London, with his mother, brother, and two sisters Stormzy did not come from a particularly musical household, although he liked music He attended Stanley Tech South Norwood He began rapping at the age of 11 and would clash with older rappers at his local youth club

Stormzy has said about his school years: “I was a very naughty child, on the verge of getting expelled, but I wasn’t a bad child; everything I did was for my own entertainment But when I went into an exam I did really well” He said he got six As, three As, and five Bs on his GCSEs, but then only achieved a “humbling” ABCDE on his A Levels: “For someone who would cuss in class and was on the verge of being expelled, it was A Levels that showed me that in life you need work ethic” He studied for an apprenticeship in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, and worked in quality assurance for two years at an oil refinery in Southampton, Hampshire

Music career

2014–2015: Dreamers Disease and “Shut Up”

After garnering attention on the UK underground music scene via his Wicked Skengman series of freestyles over classic grime beats, Stormzy released his debut EP Dreamers Disease independently in July 2014 On 22 October 2014, Stormzy won Best Grime Act at the MOBO Awards Later that month he became the first unsigned rapper to appear on Later with Jools Holland, performing the song “Not That Deep” from Dreamers Disease

In November 2014, Stormzy collaborated with rapper Chip and Shalo on the track “I’m Fine”, also appearing in a video for the song

On 7 January 2015, Stormzy was number 3 in the “BBC Introducing top 5” on Radio 1 In March 2015 he released the single “Know Me From”, which entered the UK Singles Chart at number 49 In September 2015, he released a final instalment to his “WickedSkengMan” freestyle series, “WickedSkengMan 4”, onto iTunes, along with a studio version of his “Shut Up” freestyle over XTC’s Functions on the Low instrumental The track debuted at number 18 on the UK chart dated 24 September, becoming Stormzy’s first top 40 hit and the first ever freestyle to reach the top 40 in the United Kingdom

On 12 December 2015, Stormzy performed “Shut Up” during British heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua’s ring-walk for his fight versus Dillian Whyte Originally, “Shut Up”, released as part of the “WickedSkengMan 4” single EP in September 2015, charted at number 59 Since the performance, it began climbing up the iTunes chart and into the top 40 As a result, Stormzy launched a Christmas number 1 campaign to get the song to number 1 It generated a large amount of support, which made it enter the top 10 of the UK Singles Chart on 18 December 2015 at number 8, a week prior to the Christmas number-1 week, succeeding the chart position of “WickedSkengMan 4”

2016–2021: Gang Signs & Prayer, Glastonbury and Heavy Is the Head

Stormzy on stage in 2018

In April 2016, Stormzy released the non-album song “Scary” before he went into hiatus

After a year’s hiatus from social media, Stormzy returned in early February 2017 via a series of billboard campaigns across London displaying the hashtag #GSAP 2402 The album title was announced to be Gang Signs & Prayer The album was released on 24 February 2017 and debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart on 3 March 2017

Stormzy’s headline appearance on the Pyramid Stage at the 2019 Glastonbury Festival was widely praised The performance featured a speech by the politician David Lammy that discussed the proportion of black and minority ethnic people in the British criminal justice system and, during “Vossi Bop”, Stormzy encouraged the audience to join him in chanting “Fuck the Government and fuck Boris” – the latter a reference to former London Mayor Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party leadership campaign The show included guest appearances by dance group Black Ballet and pop singer Chris Martin Stormzy wore a Union Jack stab vest designed by the artist Banksy, which was widely perceived as a comment on the rise in knife crime in London

He has reached number one on the UK Singles Chart four times; firstly as part of “Artists for Grenfell” on 23 June 2017 with “Bridge Over Troubled Water”, secondly with his own solo single “Vossi Bop”, which debuted at number one upon its entry, ahead of “Me!” by Taylor Swift featuring Brendon Urie by some 500 combined sales, thirdly with his collaboration with Burna Boy and Ed Sheeran, “Own It” and fourthly with as a featured artist on the Ed Sheeran single “Take Me Back to London” Stormzy later released the singles “Crown”, “Sounds of the Skeng” and “Wiley Flow”, before announcing his second album, Heavy Is the Head, for release on 13 December 2019 In the 2020 action-adventure game Watch Dogs: Legion, Stormzy appears as a fictionalized version of himself, offering a mission in which his character plays the track “Rainfall” from Heavy is the Head The video for Rainfall appears in the mission, showing Stormzy’s motion capture performance over locations, graphics, and the fictionalized future London setting of the game Stormzy was recognised for both his contributions to music and his activism, landing him at number 5 in the Top 10 of the annual Powerlist in 2020, with an estimated net worth of £20 million in 2020 Heavy is the Head was shortlisted for the Mercury Prize 2020 This was the second nomination in his career In the Powerlist 2021 he ranked as the third most influential Black Briton, for his advocacy against racial injustice and philanthropy, pledging £10 million to charities

2022–present: This Is What I Mean

Stormzy released the single “Mel Made Me Do It” on 23 September 2022, his first solo single since 2020 Its music video included a variety of cameos from Usain Bolt and Louis Theroux, among others He returned to social media on 12 October 2022 to announce his third album This Is What I Mean, which was recorded on Osea Island in England It was released on 25 November 2022 The first single to be released was titled “Hide & Seek” on 14 October 2022

Style

Stormzy describes himself as “a child of grime” influenced by the likes of Lethal Bizzle, Bruza, D Double E and Flirta D, but also cites R&B singers such as Frank Ocean and Lauryn Hill as influences on his sound

Political activism

In May 2016, Stormzy endorsed Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn In an interview with the newspaper The Guardian, he spoke of his admiration for Corbyn’s activism

On 24 June 2017, Stormzy performed a chant of “Oh, Jeremy Corbyn” to the tune of The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” on the Other Stage at the Glastonbury Festival He also performed a rap he had written for the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire, telling the festivalgoers to demand that the authorities “tell the truth” and for the “Government to be held accountable” In September of that year, after being presented with the Solo Artist of the Year award by Corbyn at the GQ Men of the Year Awards, Stormzy called Prime Minister Theresa May a “paigon”, a Jamaican Patois word used to describe an untrustworthy person

On 21 February 2018, Stormzy performed a freestyle at the Brit Awards, calling out May for her inaction in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire the previous year The following day, 10 Downing Street issued a statement defending the Prime Minister

In November 2019, along with other musicians, Stormzy endorsed Corbyn in the 2019 UK general election with a call to end austerity He also said “people led change can be possible under a Jeremy Corbyn Labour government” He described the Labour leader as “the first man in a position of power who is committed to giving the power back to the people” and branded Boris Johnson “a sinister man” In the aftermath of the George Floyd protests, Stormzy issued a statement via his label, stating that he plans to donate £1 million a year for 10 years to charities, organisations and movements that are committed to fight racial inequality, justice reform and black empowerment in the United Kingdom In an interview with the BBC, he said: “Black people have been playing on an uneven field for far too long and this pledge is a continuation in the fight to finally try and even it”

Personal life

Stormzy is a Christian On the BBC’s Christmas Day lineup in 2019 he read a passage from the Gospel of Luke Stormzy was previously involved in a long-term relationship with presenter Maya Jama

Controversy

In November 2017, it was revealed that Stormzy had posted a series of messages on Twitter in 2011 that were deemed to be homophobic These included a tweet in which he referred to a gay character on the soap opera EastEnders as a “fucking fag” He also asked another user who was discussing using hair straighteners if they were a “fag” and urged his followers to “put on BBC1 this little black boy is a fucking fag” He later posted a series of tweets, stating:

He also attracted controversy on 7 October 2020, when grime artist Chip released a video of Stormzy and several others at Chip’s house in June of that year The video was posted on Twitter and Instagram captioned: “June When you get sent a video of Stormzy & friends tryna run up on your house” The event resulted in the police being called Chip deleted the video within a few hours, but Stormzy was criticized for causing a heated argument with Chip’s family and refusing to leave the building The altercation was allegedly in response to a perceived diss by Chip on the track “Waze”

Scholarships

Stormzy has funded the “Stormzy Scholarship for Black UK Students” at the University of Cambridge, covering tuition costs for two students and maintenance grants for up to four years He had previously approached the University of Oxford who “didn’t want to get involved”, according to him

Publishing imprint

In July 2018 it was announced that the Penguin Random House division William Heinemann was to launch a new publishing imprint in partnership with Stormzy, called #Merky Books The imprint launched with Stormzy’s first book, Rise Up, in autumn 2018, followed by Taking Up Space: The Black Girl’s Manifesto for Change by Chelsea Kwakye and Ore Ogunbiyi in summer 2019 That Reminds Me, a novel in verse by Derek Owusu, was released in November 2019 In October 2021, #Merky Books released Keisha the Sket, a viral serialised novel from the mid-2000s written by a Black London teenager in text-speak slang; the print publication includes both the original and a rewrite in standard English An annual #Merky Books New Writers’ Prize is awarded to “young, underrepresented, and unpublished writers from across the UK and ROI” who are “telling the stories that are not being heard, and the stories that deserve to be read, across fiction, non-fiction or poetry” An inaugural winner of the prize, Hafsa Zayyan’s We Are All Birds of Uganda was published in 2021 by #Merky Books, and was shortlisted for the 2022 Glass Bell Award

Awards

Main article: List of awards and nominations received by Stormzy

Discography

Main article: Stormzy discography

Studio albums

  • Gang Signs & Prayer (2017)
  • Heavy Is the Head (2019)
  • This Is What I Mean (2022)

Tours

  • Gang Signs & Prayers Tour (2017)
  • Heavy is the Head Tour (2020–2022)

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