To say Stormzy was an overnight success would be doing a disservice to the work rate and determination of the South Londoner. But there’s no denying that his ascent from underground grime MC to bona fide global sensation all happened pretty quickly.
Look around and you can easily find videos a teenage Stormzy on SB:TV and other similar YouTube channels from the very beginning of this decade, but from 2014 onwards things really took a rapid upward turn for the man who calls himself Big Mike (among plenty of other things).
After making waves in the grime scene with his ‘Wicked Skengman’ freestyles and early singles like ‘Know Me From’, the real mainstream breakthrough came with ‘Shut Up’; a track that began life as a YouTube freestyle and ended up in the UK Top 10 after a campaign to get it to Christmas number one.
Less than three years later and Stormzy now has a number one album (‘Gang Signs & Prayer’), two BRITs, six MOBOs, an Ivor Novello, a Mercury Prize nomination and countless other honours. Add to that the huge global tours, spectacular shows, and festival appearances across the world and it’s fair to say the man is box office.
What’s more, he has earned himself fans from all walks of life (including Adele and Jeremy Corbyn) with both his musical creativity and his additional activities; be that his political activism, his Cambridge scholarship programme for black students, or his #Merky Books publishing imprint to support emerging British authors.