Stormzy hits but misses on latest ‘This Is What I Mean’

UK’s most well-known rapper tries new formula but has trouble getting used to it.


Rating: 3 out of 5.

Yes, all around nice guy and gifted lyricist ‘Stormzy’ is back with a new album. Few UK rappers are known across the world with most forced out by the overwhelming driver of American Hip-Hop artist budgets. But in Stormzy, there has been an ambassador for UK music to the world aside from the well-known exploits of numerous pop artists.

When we heard ‘Mel Made Me Do It’, there was anticipation for something truly special on the horizon. Stormzy’s latest outing sees him tryout for a meld of R&B with his signature grime and Hip-Hop vocals. But little goes right here.

Though it starts out on an interesting note, the album struggles for identity, with much of his artistry lacking variety for this kind of vocalization. A kind of ‘A for effort’ comes to mind, and though we love Stormzy, much of this album is filled with difficult listens and off-key attempts at singing. And the done to death autotune makes its appearance…yet again. Even when Sampha enters the fray on ‘Sampha’s plea’ his vocal performance is let down by whoever wrote the intermission. Aside from some bangers such as the title track and others like ‘All my presidents’, it is clearly subpar to his prior works and there is a sense of trying too hard, even if the content is driven by personal motivations.

Stormzy fans will be pleased by this outing, but there is nothing here to lure the uninitiated and a good effort is let down by inexperience for a new style. In the end, the writing is cliche and the deliveries have been executed so many times before. I’m sure Stormzy will get by on his name alone, but there are other releases to be impressed by and devote your attention to right now.

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