Grime and grit, humour and truth - the world according to Stormzy

Stormzy deserves his place on the top of the musical pile. Need convincing? Here’s a few of his finest lyrics

Ed Sheeran and Stormzy perform at the Brit Awards at the O2 Arena in London on February 22nd, 2017. Photograph:  Reuters/Toby Melville

Ed Sheeran and Stormzy perform at the Brit Awards at the O2 Arena in London on February 22nd, 2017. Photograph: Reuters/Toby Melville

 

When Stormzy released his debut album, Gang Signs & Prayer, last week, it quickly monopolised Spotify, with every song on the album entering the Spotify top 50 chart. “I’ve never seen anything like this,”

Austin Darbo, a senior editor at Spotify tweeted. Stormzy is arguably the hottest act in the UK and beyond right now, and over here, his Olympia show on March 29th sold out in a matter of minutes.

What makes him so good? There’s the context of grime’s brilliantly confident swagger right now, a DIY vibe steeped in realism, humour and sparseness. But Stormzy also brings a type of lyrical brilliance to grime that often (purposefully, it could be said) evades the genre, with the intentionally blunt and bare rhyming mixed with a good deal of cheekiness and intelligence. Here’s a run through of his best lyrics to date.

Nah, man, you’re never too big to rebel / I was in the O2 singing my lungs out / Rudeboy, you’re never too big for Adele
- Big For Your Boots

Your postcode don’t make you a gangster / You’re not bad, your area is
- Not That Deep

Roll to the booth, then I bill it with rhymes / Know a couple OGs that are living off crime / But a young black boy made a milli’ off grime / So tell Boris Johnson ‘suck you mum, we don’t care’ / And tell them riot feds ‘oi, buss your gun?’ You won’t dare
- Cold

Like bro I can’t believe I saw my dad / Still up in the ends, still driving cabs / He said ‘yo son, I need a car’ / I kissed my teeth and turned my back / Like nigga you ain’t seen my face for years / Nigga you ain’t seen my face for time / And the first thing you’re asking me for, is that? Fuck you. That’s where I draw the line / Shouldn’t dashed through a rack like ‘keep the change’ / And fuck letting go, I’ll keep the pain / 23 years I’m still the same / When you hear this I hope you feel ashamed / Cause we were broke like what the fuck / Mum did well to hold us up / But yet she still forgave your arse / But mumsy’s cool. I’m cold as fuck
- Lay Me Bare

I think I just got dissed again / Think I care who this offends / Run up on a man like Bale with a - / Slap that through your shit defense
- Mr Skeng

South of the Thames, where I come from’s mad / Done some dirt and I ain’t too proud that you’re living on the road that your son got stabbed / I had you on the station, your son got nabbed / Tough luck, just mums no dads
- 100 Bags

Look I don’t rate them boys / Bare wasteman, bare pagan boys / I come to your team and I fuck shit up / I’m David Moyes
- Know Me From

Heart on my sleeve, let me open up / TBTs on the block all posted up / Me and them boy don’t mix but I’ll post it up / And it ain’t no family pic but it’s close enough / And look man, I still reminisce when I’m holdin’ up / I think about the past sometimes and I sober up / Cause if that boy looks back, it’ll hold him up / Man are out here beefin’ like we ain’t broke enough / Swear these bruddas ain’t woken up / Like what have I done to deserve this life? / I got brothers in the pen that will never see again / Got my brothers dem servin’ life / And I know that you think that it serves ‘em right / But I come from a place where you burn or die / Or we turn and ride / So don’t blame us when we turn to the dirt, we tried
- Don’t Cry For Me

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