Stormzy started out shooting videos in the park with his mates (see ‘Shut Up‘), then moved on to wandering around his block with his mum (see ‘Know Me From‘). In the video for his latest release; ‘Big For Your Boots’, it feels like he’s telling us that he’s reached the next level as he mirrors the styles of videos from 90s US rap scene. Let’s look at the evidence.
- Lyrics slamming someone else – CHECK
- A montage of shots showing life in your neck of the woods – CHECK
- Choreographed dance routines – CHECK
- People deep squatting awkwardly on high objects – CHECK
- Shots of you with your missus in the chicken shop (ok this one’s very UK) – CHECK
- Open top car shots – CHECK
- Poker faced elders from your community standing tall – CHECK
- An aggressive face off with a group of rough looking rapscallions – CHECK
Now don’t get us wrong, we’re as big a fan of Grime as a genre and Stormzy as an artist as the next man. On this track, we’re loving the pitched up vocal sample, Sir Spyro’s distinctive haunted chord progressions and production style. Stormzy’s flow and unique pronunciation of every word that starts with a “b” (look out in particular for boot, bad, block, blue) mean that you know it’s him and no one else that you’re listening to. This level of distinction is something every artist should aspire to have.
Our hope is that Grime can emulate the global appeal and success of the US rap scene. This is the UK’s sound and it should be proud of it. But, it shouldn’t feel it needs to simply follow the formula already laid down in order to achieve this success. Chart your own path and stay original.