Pulse Album Review Stormzy's "Gang Signs & Prayer" presents two pages of the streets

The UK Grime MC is opens his solo LP account with the good, great and personal parts of his existence.

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Album Title - Gang Signs & Prayer"
Artiste - Stormzy
Producers - Fraser T. Smith, Sir Spyro, Stormzy, 169. E.Y Beats, Mura Masa, SOS, Sunny Kale, Swifta Beater, Wizzy Wow, XTC
Duration - 58 minutes
Record Label - #Merky Records (2017)

Fierce and innovative, the UK Grime scene has gone through circles in its mainstream acceptance. Developed locally, and championed by a long list of MCs who are gunning for increased awareness and penetration in new markets, the genre continues to capture the essence of the UK youth.

In recent times, we enjoyed LPs from some the genre’s old guard, Wiley (“Godfather”), Skepta (“Konnichiwa”), and Kano. And 2017 is the year where the heir-apparent to the scene comes through with his.

“Gang Signs & Prayer” is Stormzy’s first debut solo album and there’s a dichotomy that penetrates. Where the 6-foot, 5-inch rapper offers the brash battles and declarations of superiority on one hand, the other offers what happens when the gangs have all gone home, and what is left is an artiste with just his past, his thanks and fears.

Fuse lost this year's Best International Act – UK award to another UK-based Ghanaian, Stormzy. play

Fuse lost this year's Best International Act – UK award to another UK-based Ghanaian, Stormzy.



The grime comes thick on “Bad boys”, where the rapper employs Ghetts and J HUS to mull over the credentials of lesser rappers and “Fuck boys”. The same sentiment is sent to newcomers on ‘Return of the Rucksack’ who want a clash with him as a means to fame. “Bro, I’m above that.” He takes the high road.

The album’s most definitive parts occur when he switches to his pensive spirit, and details more truths about his life. He dedicates ‘Birthday girl’ to his Maya Jama, his girlfriend, while the organs come to life in the thankful ballad “Blinded By Your Grace”. But the most touching moment comes with the prayers of his Ghanaian Mother, which graces ‘100 bags’, in a piercing ode to her influence and care.

These two parts come together finally on the album’s last track, ‘Lay me bare’, a confessional, which rages about his absent father, and the death of his friend. It has the right balance of reality and muscle, and sums up the project in one record.

Rating 4/5

Ratings Board

3-Worth Checking Out
4-Smoking Hot

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