Stormzy – Gang Signs & Prayer (2017)

Mario Cruz

Musician, composer and producer, aged 24

Stormzy is a modern artist and in this album you can listen a lot of MLE which distinguishes the London hip-hop/rap scene.  In this LP you can find variety in the structure of songs and a lot of featurings which is a common thing in modern music. 

I like the production cuz I found a lot of word painting giving sense to the “Gang signs & prayer”

Very good album for chilling, raising your spirit and energize.

Zoe Louizos

AMP Curator, aged 39

I was pleased to have an opportunity to listen in full to this album, as someone with an admittedly paltry knowledge of contemporary British rap or grime. Stormzy delivers powerful, politically charged lyrics across this album which is broad in subject matter, cadence and  texture.

As a fan of afrobashment and dancehall, I enjoy hearing these influences in the production, and the staccato backbeat complements Stormzy’s lyrical popping, especially in ‘Cold’ . Being someone thoroughly ‘stuck in the ‘70s’ – although I was not even alive at that time – my preference is for analogue sounds, and although I also adore a lot of electronic music, I am quite particular about the quality of the sounds. For me, the production design and samples of this album don’t really float my aural boat, as it sounds a bit like someone was let loose with a basic, Casio keyboard, but to each their own and I appreciate that this style of production lends itself well to give space to the performer’s lyrics. I was much more tuned into Stormy’s words – and – in tracks such as ‘Return of the Rucksack’ and ‘Big for your boots’, getting carried away by the bop. I enjoyed his mixture of social commentary, elder wisdom and humorous sass.

‘Blinded by your grace’ was a surprise break in the more aggressive political commentary, with a glorious, soft, gospel song allowing Stormzy’s singing voice to really be appreciated as well as giving some insight into the importance of his faith in his life, as well as the two thematic sides alluded to in the album’s title.

Kingston link:

Stormzy is a resident of Kingston and played The Rose Theatre on 20/1/2020.

AMP Kingston:
Art, Music, Pop Fashion

The AMP Kingston Heritage Trail explores and celebrates Kingston’s rich music heritage from the 1960’s to the present day at key sites across the town.

Find out more and explore the map of venues.