The grime scene in London has exploded over the years, and the genre's leading voice has dropped his debut album. Stormzy drops fire on his debut LP Gang Signs & Prayer, which is full of raw vibes and true bars.
Gang Signs & Prayers kicks off with a big bang on 'First Things First,' a smashing track that has a big threat to it. The track brings the album to a bustling start, Stormzy laying down the law and establishing his place in grime. The pace continues in 'Cold,' its synth racing and bouncing under the great vibe. This track continues to show Stormzy's threat that is very self-empowering, vibing powerfully with the drive.
The album has a generally dark and brooding mood that carries throughout. 'Bad Boys' featuring Ghetts and J Hus has a huge vibe to it, the mood and delivery of all three artists being fantastic and perfect for the track. It's a rare example in hip-hop where mood fits the context of the song. Big sounds pound in 'Mr Skeng' and single 'Big For Your Boots' with huge drive and damning bars.
There's a softer side to the record, too. There's a very genuine and spiritual side to several songs, namely both parts 'Blinded By Your Grace.' Both parts of the song have a very sweet and genuine meaning to them, exemplifying his passion to music and his person. 'Velvet' is another genuine track where the moodiness really makes the song feel soulful. Final track 'Lay Me Bare' is perhaps one of the rawest tracks on the record, and it's all one true confession about his life.
Not all is well on this record, though it does only have a few bad moments. Kehlani's feature on 'Cigarettes & Cush' is really sweet and smooth, but the repetitiveness of the song and just the general idea of the song is just awful. Other than that, Stormzy truly proves his force in grime.
Stormzy drops fire in Gang Signs & Prayer, and for the most part it's a pretty banging record. The energy in it is unmatchable by a lot of modern hip-hop artists today, and it's really a testament to the London scene in grime and hip-hop. Many artists have already said some of the best potential for hip-hop lies in London - Stormzy is the proof.
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Favorite Tracks: Cold, Big For Your Boots, Cold
Least Favorite Track: Cigarettes & Cush
Rating: 75 / 100
Buy or listen to Gang Signs & Prayer here: