Big For Your Boots review

It’s finally here! The most anticipated artist of the year is finally back with his latest single from album Gang Signs & Prayer, Big for your Boots. Stormzy, who took his name quite literally and took the nation by a storm last night dropped his single from the album which already has hit 309,562 views and the 4th trending topic on Twitter, you can already tell February will be a big month for Stormzy as an artist and as a representative of grime music.

The beginning of the song reminiscence one of the most iconic grime songs by pioneer Dizzee Rascal I Luv U with garage-esque female vocals,  reminiscing his days of hustling the roads as he mentions the song being deer to him in Know Me From and even sampled the vocals. The song has a gospel beat remixed into the beat, something I have concluded is pretty much the sound of Stormzy. Clear flows throughout the song, Stormzy’s ability to rap fluently and allow the bars and the music intertwine wholly depicts his sheer talent and passion for what he does. The bars itself speak for those who doubt Stormzy’s friendly-image as weakness. The hook consists of the bars “you’re getting way too big for your boots / you’re never too big for the boot” implying that if you don’t know your place when addressed, you’re more than likely to get an ass-kicking. Throughout the songs he implies that he hasn’t had a flashy life-style most rappers portray in their songs, and that even if someone came mugged him he’ll still be harder than them. Stormzy mentions other artists in the song such as Adele, which everyone knows as potentially the best soul and pop artist in the UK, who Stormzy respects massively. He mentions his pal Krept from Krept & Konan as a play on words with the bar “I was covering Krept like a bootcut.” Kreps is a slang term for trainers in London, and bootcuts are the ugliest jeans you could have ever owned in the mid-2000s, wearing them in the streets could potentially kill your reputation and cause a lot of embarrassment for you.  The play-on-words works out that when Krept & Konan were out in the States for the BETs, he was maintaining the music scene out here in the UK.

The visuals for the song distinctly show how Stormzy wanted to make the song very personal. If you have been following Stormzy throughout his growth in his career, you’ll notice he had included his day ones, like Flipz who attends most of the events he goes to. He includes radio DJ girlfriend Maya Jama, at Morley’s chicken shop, notoriously known among South Londoners as the best chicken shop in south, but they really mean around the whole of London. He also includes London-based young professionals such as Vicky Grout (grime photographer), Gracie Francesca (life-style blogger) and Ray BLK (singer) to name a few. Stormzy presents some of the greatest professionals that London has produced, celebrating the cities rich culture that is not usually praised. Its the culture that isn’t a landmark, it is true and raw talent coming from real people who have lived in London.

The director, Daps, films in various locations in London which shows the contrast of London which only people who live here would understand. Scenes filming outside an estate with council houses to Westminster Bridge, which is your typical touristic eye of London. Through Westminster Bridge, Stormzy raps on top of a police car as it’s driving through the central. Its a paradoxical symbolism as it embraces the institutionalised racism towards police men and young black people as there is constant antagonism between young black men in particular in London with police men. Stormzy is very open about discrimination with certain people being racist towards him, and isn’t scared to call them out. The symbolism correlates the #BlackLivesMatter movement in America, although it is overseas, it’s very much an issue in the UK too with the 2011 riots starting from the shooting of Mark Duggan. The last scene with Stormzy against a group of white men could be seen as a potential hate crime, seeing as the video is very much not only a personal video, but can also be interpreted as a political message with the subliminal messages.

I reckon February will be a big month for Stormzy this year, the break from his 9-month-silence has definitely not led us to completely forget about his existence, 2017 is looking big for the grime star.

Let me know what your thoughts were in the comment section!

 

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5 must-listen-to artists

I find myself constantly searching for new music to listen to, probably more of my time is spent on researching artists than doing my uni assignments (oops). I’ve come across some artists that have emerged in the scene recently who definitely deserve more recognition than they get. Here are my 5 must-listen-to grime tracks that I think everyone should stop sleeping on:

  1. Crooked .Bad — 808INK

808INK are a trio based in South London who embody the new grime wave movement. Their songs have a consistent wave throughout the pieces they create, even bending genres by sampling different songs in their productions. This song is probably one of my favourites by them, the cleverly devised art visuals to the consistent brutalist beat of the song. 808INK break the boundaries as they sample London Posse intro from How’s Life in London (1993)showing their groundbreaking attempt at sampling and mixing different genres. The new grime wave is experimental, the group indefinitely possess abilities to mix British hip-hop into the grime scene, giving it a blast from the past. The visuals themselves have dark colours, smoke and jerky movements, something which is seen in grime music, however, the trio clearly depict their creative side in the song, which many grime artists don’t usually do as they follow a certain routine throughout their songs. This group is most definitely slept on heavily, the clever sampling of different genres and influences is giving grime music a different sound.

 

2. Elevate — Othasoul 

Othasoul are a duo of producer and MC from North London. Just like 808ink, they show clear hip-hop sounding bars, possibly less brutalist but a soft, upbeat consistent track throughout their project The Remedy.  This song is my favourite one out of their project as it shows the futuristic beat in the beginning swiftly changes into a clear and traditional hip-hop beat that sounds like a record scratching, this is what to me defines the new grime wave. The weaving of rhymes through the beats in the song works so well, that the whole song is so harmoniously produced. The rhymes of the constant battle between people and their fight with the injustice system in the UK depicts their clear agenda, it’s not the typical grime song.

3. Wings — Little Simz

Possibly my favourite female grime MC, Little Simz has definitely opened the door for many female MCs to dive into the the grime scene. The Islington-born artist embodies the traditional grime, creating rhymes that show more of her political views than the typical concerns of street violence. This song in particularly has been written to empower herself and uplift her abilities, letting her be known not to be undermined. Little Simz is subjectively, and perhaps objectively, too, better than most male MCs in the game. For a female such as Little Simz to enter a male-dominated genre and rap better than most of her male peers really is inspiring, allowing more women to explore grime and help create a gender neutral genre.

4. Skwod — Nadia Rose 

Nadia Rose is an artist I will defend and be biased against, since she is a born and bred south London girl like myself. Nadia Rose came into the game with witty riddims and gun-finger funk tunes. Skwod was the first song that I had listened to by Nadia, it grabbed my attention with the upbeat flow, the choreography that not only complements the bars in the song but also embraces the current London culture of creating fun-choreography, a group of friends (otherwise known as a squad, or a more familiar term with Londoners ‘mandem/galdem’) all dressed in Adidas tracksuits.

5. Footsteps — Kojey Radical

Kojey Radical is a London based rapper who meets heavy-hearted soul with grime music. His songs consistently hold tones of anger against systems in power, expressing his raw passion for what he believes in through his visual art work of his videos and the profound bars in his songs. This song particularly strikes me with the religious imagery and the raw anger against how the religious and political system in London aren’t helping the youth, they are shutting community centres down which increases more and more gang violence rather than decreasing. His voice is ponderously raw, he manages to stress the resentment he has against these authorities that are detrimentally damaging to the youths growth.

 

Let me know in the comments below which one of these artists you think will blow up in 2017.