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Croydon-born rapper Stormzy takes on fame, failed romances and political discourse on his latest ground-breaking offering.
Heavy Is The Head, his follow-up to 2017’s award-winning Gang Signs & Prayer, is a step – or leap – in a new direction.
The album’s cover – depicting Stormzy contemplating the often-referenced Union Jack-decorated stab vest designed by the artist Banksy for his Glastonbury headline slot last summer – is testament to his continued social awareness. Though through his lyrics, he reignites contemporary cultural references, retaining his timely and essential feel. Yet he amps up the fiery, confident delivery, with a newfound emotion on offer too.
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The hooks are memorable, and the nostalgic nods are aplenty with Superheroes referencing childhood TV character Tracy Beaker, and incorporating hits such as Big Bruva’s Baby Boy and Shackles (Praise you) by Mary Mary. While the star keeps his grime crown firmly placed, there’s heavy brass in opener Big Michael, and a change in tact on Rachael’s Little Brother.
In addition to gospel and soul influences, there’s a celebration of the homegrown including a host of empowering female guests such as YEBBA, H.E.R. and Tiana Major9. The mixture of new and established goes on to include Aitch, Burna Boy, Headie One, Ed Sheeran and more. Together, as a family Stormzy continues to elevate to unparalleled levels, Heavy Is The Head emerges as a lesson in humility and an honest depiction of life in 2020.
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1. Big Michael
2. Audacity (featuring Headie One)
4. Rainfall (featuring Tiana Major9)
5. Rachael’s Little Brother
7. Do Better
8. Don’t Forget To Breathe(featuring Yebba) (interlude)
9. One Second (featuring H.E.R.)
10. Pop Boy (featuring Aitch)
11. Own It (featuring Ed Sheeran and Burna Boy)
12. Wiley Flow
16. Vossi Bop
Listen to Heavy Is The Head on Spotify: