Review: Gang Signs & Prayer by Stormzy

Gang Signs & Prayer by StormzyI’ll confess I’m not really a grime person, but occasionally I have found myself enjoying some of their tracks (but only if I come across them by accident). Stormzy, though, is a different case: I decided to review his album. Gang Signs & Prayer is the debut from one of London’s ascendant MCs, riding a wave of good timing – the return to prominence of grime after years of being adrift, so to speak – and there’s lots of things on there that justify his success. Lyrically he is strong – shrewd in its humor, unusual themes swinging from the absurd (“Cigarettes and Kush” being a prescription to a better relationship, delivered in such a straightforward manner) to the less-tackled (“Lay Me Bare” wraps an album of self-exploration with a dive into depression). Add in a thoughtful (yet not always sparse) production and you have a record that, perhaps, transcends the genre, bringing grime back to its roots while proving to be a bit of a spiritual experience, even. A strong start for Stormzy, and a good sign for the genre in general. [NB]4/5

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