stormzy opens up about his debut album and the brits
Speaking on Beats 1 radio, the grime star discussed last year's #BritsSoWhite backlash.
Having dropped several large hints that his long-awaited debut album is on its way, followed by the release of the brilliant video for lead single Big for Your Boots, Stormzy joined Julie Adenuga on her Beats 1 show this weekend. The duo sat down to discuss the record, Gang Signs & Prayer, as well as the upcoming Brit Awards and why despite calling them out for not celebrating grime and/or black artists last year, he has now forgiven them.
Due for release on 24 February through his very own #MERKY Records, he referred to the record as his baby and made it clear that it's the album he wanted to make, as opposed to the one he knew other people felt he should make. As for the features - Ghetts, J Hus, Kehlani, Wretch32, MNEK and Raleigh Ritchie - they're the artists he listens to, and his friends. Big Mike went on to tell Julie that Big for Your Boots is the album track he likes the most, while his favourite lyrics, "All my young black kings rise up, man this is our year," are from Cold.
Last year, when a grand total of 0 grime artists were up for Brit Awards, Stormzy criticised them for a lack of diversity among nominees, raising the issue both during a Radio 1 interview and in his One Take Freestyle with the bars, "none of my Gs nominated for Brits. Are you taking the piss? Embarrassing." Speaking to Julie this weekend he revealed he has a newfound respect for the award show after they dealt with the #BritsSoWhite situation sensitively by nominating the deserved likes of Skepta, Kano and Craig David. "It could've gone a weird way, like, 'oh we haven't supported grime and black music, so let's just go crazy and nominate everyone', but that's wrong." Nominated himself for British Breakthrough, Stormzy might just have been a driving force in that positive change. "I have a lot of respect to the Brits. They adjusted it."
The i-D cover star also spoke about his career progression and how others should look to him as evidence that they, too, can achieve their dreams. "I'm on this platform now and I'm saying 'Yo, it's not just me. Rise up, everyone can do this'. That what I always bang on about, because I think it's such a facade.There's so many youths out there who would look at myself or look at Krept and Konan or Skepta or they'll look at a businessman or look at a man with a Rolls Royce or a man with 50 houses and they'll think 'oh my god, how do you get there?' That is so dead because you can… it's not far fetched - it's there. Everything I've achieved I always thought it looked far fetched, so now something like a Grammy is not far fetched. It's there, so why can't I?" As Julie put it so well, when Stormzy wins things, we all get to celebrate. He's everyone's little brother - out there living his dream.
Text Frankie Dunn
Photography Oliver Hadlee Pearch