News 26 July 2016
Author: Alex Griffin

23 steps that made Stormzy the Wickedest Skengman alive

26 July 2016

Today marks the day that a young king, man like Stormzy, was born 23 years ago. After a remarkable two years in which he’s helped take grime and UK rap music to heights it’s never been before, there’s not just one “defining” moment we can pick to explicate his trajectory.

It is the 26th of the month and Stormzy turns 23 years old. With that, it only felt right that we run through the 23 defining steps that have led to him becoming the Wickedest Skengman alive.

Check out the list below.

1) ”The graveyard shift”

Just look on the YouTube, darg. Stormzy’s original defining moment has to be setting up his YouTube account, which now lays home to a slew of wicked recordings from over the years. It’s a real time documentation of his journey so far.

2) All of his Wicked Skengman freestyles

The Wicked Skengman freestyles have accumulated over 8 million views and have started slogans like “Peng tings on my Whatsapp” and “Stiff Chocolate”. What started from a group of friends, a camcorder and a mic has taken over the UK and we are preparing ourselves for a 5th installment anytime soon.

3) The success of “Not That Deep”

This was more or less Stormz’ breakthrough moment. It was the lead single from his Dreamers Disease EP and rang off as his first “hit” of any degree.

4) “Know Me From”

“Know Me From” took Stormzy to new heights. From it’s iconic opening bars, to the DIY approach to the video, this will be remembered in time as a classic.

5) Making the BBC’s “Sound of 2015 List”

The BBC “Sound of” list has always been a prestigious affair and has hosted names like 50 Cent and Adele (aka Stormzy’snew BFF) in years gone by. Put his name up there with the rest.

6) Won a MOBO

Not once. Twice. Stormzy won the Best Grime Act award two years running, as well as the Best Male in 2015, no mean feat for anybody.

7) Sold out his headline show in 4 mins

Stormzy’s mum announced that tickets for his first ever headline show would go on sale and they sold out in just FOUR minutes, before a second date was added. Boss moves.

8) NEARLY having a Christmas Number One with “Shut Up”

Stormzy performed the iconic “Shut Up” for Anthony Joshua’s ring-walk before his fight against Dillian Whyte in early December 2015, which in itself was a huge move for him. After the performance, Stormzy decided to show the charts what he was made of and start a campaign for #ShutUpForXmasNo1. The campaign got mad attention on Twitter, pushing the track up to number 8, which is pretty sick considering it started at number 59 on the UK singles chart. We’re already preparing ourselves for whatever track he chooses for the top spot this year.

9) Going Gold off of a freestyle

Not only did “Shut Up” nearly reach the coveted Christmas number one spot, it also sold A LOT of copies during it;s chart run. Stormzy made history by going gold with a freestyle track. There really is levels to this.

10) Nick Jonas

Although not a collaboration we expected, Stormzy worked with one-third of the Jonas Brothers on “Chains”, which was world-premiered on Mistajam’s show. We may not have expected the collab, but it definitely defined Stormzy as a real force in pop culture.

11) Won a BET Award

Getting a BET Award is big. Like really big. Especially for a UK artist. Stormzy won the award off the back of the Dreamers Disease EP and millions of views on his YouTube channel.

12) Adidas Deal and collaborating with Nigo himself

It’s hard to think about Adidas these days without thinking of the the Wickedest Skengman himself, donned head to toe in the three stripes. The joining reached unthinkable heights when Stormzy was flown out to Japan to meet Nigo to curate a collection, and to release the “Nigo Duppy” which you can watch here.

13) Rated Award

Last year at our Rated Awards, Stormzy picked up the first trophy of the night for Best Video. The one-take “Know Me From” video has got over seven million views on YouTube, and the Skengman of course gave a special thanks to his mum for her cameo in the video when he collected the award.

14) Fire in the Booth

“Where’s my Fire In The Booth?” Stormzy, in his early Skengman days, made references to the freestyle series made popular by Chalie Sloth. Low and behold, he got one. 6 million views later and it is one of the most viewed UK freestyles ever.

15) Going on a Worldwide Tour

Okay, not exactly, but he has conquered every continent, bringing a bigger and better moshpit to every stage he traveled to. Be in Europe or Down Under, he’s been there and Skenged.

16) Inspiring Wiley

To inspire the person that created the genre of music you make is a pretty big deal. Stormzy’s sudden rise to fame did not get unnoticed by The Godfather of Grime, Wiley. Wiley openly stated that Stormzy has inspired him.

17) Brought out Dizzee at Wireless

Through Stormzy’s come up, to his takeover, he has gained respect from the people who started our culture. Who would have thought from a small YouTube channel, Stormzy would then be performing at Wireless Festival and be bringing out the “Boy In The Corner” Dizzee Rascal?

18) Doing a talk at Oxford

In March this year, Stormzy was invited to Oxford University to do a talk. He discussed sexism in grime, the politics of the N word, #BritsSoWhite and Grime’s spread to the US. Very important, very rare stuff.

19) Joining the Brotherhood cast

As if dominating the Grime scene wasn’t enough, this year saw Stormzy start to conquer an acting career too. He got a substantial role in Brotherhood alongside Noel Clarke, showing just how “Scary” he is as a gangster, threatening a guy with a hammer. Watch the trailer of Stormz’ acting debut here.

20) Went Jools Holland in his tracksuit

When it come s to iconic stages in the UK, Jools Holland’s one on BBC Two is certainly up there. All it took was a sick beat for him to rap to, and Stormzy rocked up to perform there, donned head-to-toe in full roadman gear too.

21) Ibiza residency

Usually reserved for Electronic music royalty and DJ’s raking in ridiculous P’s over the summer, Stormzy managed to blag him and his #MERKY brand a residency at Ibiza this year.

22) Maya Jama

Without wanting this to be construed the wrong way – the boy did well. Say no more.

GRM Daily

23) GQ magazine

Stormzy was most recently included in the iconic mens magazine. He not only had an interview in there, but also an entire multi-paged spread dedicated to him. 

By: Alex Griffin (@GRIFFandish), Marisa Lee (@ultragold_), and Kayne Stamp (@KayneStamp)