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Stormzy - Heavy is the Head (Album Review)

Friday, 20 December 2019 Written by Jacob Brookman

Stormzy’s second studio album is a bigger, more tightly constructed version of his 2017 debut, ‘Gang Signs and Prayer’, and it finds the south London grime artist in confident, expansive and familiarly political mood. 

‘Heavy is the Head’ is a record clearly intended to capitalise on the artist’s potential for US success, and while it sometimes loses its way in terms of lyrical consistency, it manages to navigate new commercial priorities with skill and integrity.

The most obvious crossover hit is Own It (feat. Ed Sheeran & Burna Boy). Repaying the collab spot Stormzy performed on Sheeran’s Take Me Back to London earlier this year, Own It is a reggaeton-infused club banger full of juddering synths and tricksy snare hits. It manages to meld Sheeran's talent for melody writing with rapped bars that are raw, direct and fun.

Another track that charts new generic ground is Vossi Bop. Like Own It, this song is shamelessly catchy pop, and manages to use a swung groove alongside childlike piano to create a hook-laden track that closes out the album with brio.

Stormzy is now in relatively uncharted waters for a British grime MC. While his success is built on the work of pioneers such as Wiley, Kano and Dizzee Rascal, timing and talent have come together to present a genuine shot at global stardom and⁠—perhaps more importantly⁠—the opportunity to be a genuine spokesperson for a generation.

'Heavy is the Head' is a good album with some very memorable songs, and crucially it keeps his creative options open. It's too early to say whether Stormzy's work will still be ubiquitous in 10 years, but this album does not harm that theory.

Stormzy Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Wed September 02 2020 - LONDON O2
Thu September 03 2020 - LONDON O2
Fri September 04 2020 - LONDON O2
Mon September 07 2020 - DUBLIN 3Arena
Tue September 08 2020 - DUBLIN 3Arena
Thu September 10 2020 - GLASGOW SSE Hydro
Fri September 11 2020 - NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE Utilita Arena
Sat September 12 2020 - LEEDS first direct Arena
Sun September 13 2020 - LIVERPOOL M&S Bank Arena Liverpool
Wed September 16 2020 - SHEFFIELD FlyDSA Arena Sheffield
Thu September 17 2020 - MANCHESTER Arena
Fri September 18 2020 - NOTTINGHAM Motorpoint Arena Nottingham
Sat September 19 2020 - BIRMINGHAM Arena Birmingham
Mon September 21 2020 - CARDIFF Motorpoint Arena Cardiff
Tue September 22 2020 - BOURNEMOUTH BIC

Click here to compare & buy Stormzy Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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