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Who Is Stormzy?: The UK grime rapper getting co-signs from Kanye, Adele, and others

Here's what you need to know about his beginnings.

Artist // Twitter

If you’ve never heard of the U.K. rapper Stormzy, you should get to know him and fast as the 23-year-old grime rapper has been making a name for himself throughout this small portion of his career.

First off, “grime” is an East London term used to describe the UK’s electronic music styles such as garage and jungle. Grime music also includes the UK’s version of reggae, dancehall, and hip-hop.

Stormzy started building his fame in 2011 when he began making and posting YouTube videos. His “Wicked Skengman” freestyles are what gained him his recognition and catapulted him as a household name around his area of the UK.

In 2015, Stormzy made his way to The FADER magazine for two things: he'd released his EP Dreamers Disease and had just made his first appearance on the BRIT Awards stage alongside Kanye West who brought the grime rapper out, along with Skepta, Jammer, and others, as he premiered his single “All Day” (see below).

Since starting out as a YouTube sensation, the rapper from the UK has made major moves around his hometown and the industry. Just recently, Stormzy made an appearance for the second time at the 2017 BRIT Awards alongside Ed Sheeran. His debut project Gang Signs and Prayer was released a little over two weeks ago (February 24) and in the first week, he racked in 69,000 units sold. Not only were the first-week numbers good, but Stormzy also broke a UK chart record with the most streams on a No.1 album in the UK. The newcomer was able to beat out UK giants and previous record-holders, Drake and Justin Beiber.

His album also received some praise from singer-songwriter Adele the day of the release via Twitter. The tweet read “This fine young man’s album is out today. Good luck darling.”

Stormzy then replied by posting a pic of himself via Instagram wearing a shirt with Adele’s face on it.

Following the release of his debut project, Stormzy sat down with Official Charts to explain the feeling he had the moment he found out his album did so well.

“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” Stormzy said. “Honestly, I wish I could take every person who bought and streamed the album out with me, have dinner with them, dedicate a whole night to them. I don’t take your support for granted. I can’t thank you enough.” As the conversation continued, Stormzy also spoke on the importance of this album and what it means to him as an artist.

“This is the moment that I have been waiting for my whole life,” Stormzy said. “I am now ready to certify my position as a credible artist and someone who is here for the long run.”

As of 2017, the rapper from the UK has been indulging in bigger moves outside of the success of Gang Signs and Prayers. Stormy will be helping Jay Z headline the V Festival happening this summer is England. Forbes has also listed the MC as one of their Cash Princes of this year. With the unexpected success of his album and so many great co-signs from huge industry names, there’s no doubt that this young MC will make himself a household name not only in the UK but in the states as well.

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