Why I think Stormzy headlining Glastonbury is a huge step forward for Black culture in the UK…

It’s crazy to think that in 2019, we are still saying “first black” but any progress is appreciated.

On the 15th of November 2018, it was announced that Stormzy would be headlining Glastonbury 2019. Glastonbury, being the largest greenfield festival in the WORLD attended by around 175,000 people meant that this was a huge deal. Fast forward to Friday 28th of June 2019 when Stormzy takes to the stage. Stormzy is the first Black British solo artist to headline Glastonbury in its 48 year reign. If that wasn’t enough of a record to break he is also at 25 years old, the second youngest solo act to ever headline Glastonbury, the youngest being a 24-year-old David Bowie in 1971. However, Stormzy is used to being the record breaker throughout his career. He was the first grime MC to have a debut album go number 1 in the UK charts and has since had 5 UK top 10s. At a time where a lot of genres of music including rap or grime are blamed for the violence in London, I am glad the Glastonbury organisers gave Stormzy the opportunity to shine.

His stardom may seem random and quick to some but he has definitely been putting in the work from very early on. As a big fan of Stormzy, I have watched him grow from the beginning when he was releasing his videos and unique freestyles on his YouTube channel, which has just recently surpassed 1 million subscribers! . On top of his music, Stormzy is a voice for the youth in regards to saying and speaking on things that are happening in our society. During the Grenfell Fire, he was one of the key people rightly criticizing the government’s approach to the disaster. Stormzy is never afraid to get political in his music or performances and that is something to be admired.

In addition, he has collaborated with Penguin and started a Publishing company called #Merky Books. #Merky Books publishes around two to three books a year and is an outlet for a generation of voices. He holds initiatives for young writers to win competitions and a paid internship. Most recently, they have released “Taking Up Space…The Black Girl’s manifesto for Change” written by Black Cambridge graduates Chelsea Kwakye and Ore Ogunbiyi. Stormzy mentions in his latest song ‘Crown’; “I done a scholarship for the kids, they said it’s racist, that’s not anti-white, it’s pro-black”. Stormzy is unapologetically black and is always finding a way to uplift and support his people despite the constant criticism. Stormzy also paved the way for a lot of Black British artists to see how possible it was to chart or to have commercial backing without having to feel the need to dilute themselves.

Knowing all this about Stormzy and having had the privilege of seeing him perform live at his sold out show in the past, I knew this Glastonbury performance was not going to disappoint and I wasn’t wrong. Filled with the most energy I have ever seen him have, his set consisted of his classic songs, a huge choir and backing singers, a very cute little girl with the sass to light up the world, dancers, bikers and so much more. One of my favourite parts of the performance was when Raleigh Ritchie came out and Stormzy had a little piece dedicated to the fact in the ballet world, black people no longer have to stain their shoes to have them in their skin colour as there are now shoes made for our skin colours.

We can’t forget the amazing duet with Chris Martin where they sang ‘Blinded By Your Grace Pt.1’ on the piano. Surely that iconic moment will go down in history. Stormzy always pays homage to those before him through his songs and this time was no different. He brought out two of the hottest young rappers in the UK at the moment, Fredo and Dave, who then performed their hit number 1 song “Funky Friday”. Stormzy later on gave a shout out to all the UK rappers before him and coming up after him. I think the key to the success of Stormzy besides his hard work is the fact he always remembers those before him and those after him. Despite his huge success and despite his co signs from living legends like Jay Z or Ed Sheeran, he never lets that overwhelm him.

Stormzy demonstrates to young black people that you can be yourself and still have people respect you. His confidence is a major lesson that we no longer have to keep quiet and hide away our talent in order to “fit in” or “not stand out”. It is great to see young Black kids growing up with artists like Stormzy doing so well in order to show them anything is possible. We should be at the stage in society where your skin colour should not be holding you back. His message has always been the same and he always gives glory to God. How on earth can you dislike someone like him? To me and to so many others, Stormzy is the chosen one. We are forever thankful that someone like him is representing the young black people. May his success forever reign and we will forever thank him for kicking down the doors for the ones after him.

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#ThrowbackThursday Old vibes….

Another week nearly done! Stay tuned for more posts in the next few days but for now it’s time for #ThrowbackThursday. Here are 3 songs that will have you reminiscing about the past.

Mario – How Do I Breathe (2007)

I’m a big fan of Mario and his older music. I’ve previously talked about his hit album “Turning Point”. This particular song is the first single released from his third studio album “Go” (2007) Mario’s voice is sensational in this song as he hits the high notes throughout. The song gives us the impression he has just gone through a breakup and is struggling to adjust to his life without his woman in it. I liked the pre chorus where he sounds like he is playing two people. He also plays the role of main singer and backup singer in the same verse. Overall this song is reminiscent of old school R&B and honestly the high notes are so beautiful to hear. Have a listen below!

Tion Wayne Ft Afro B – Bae (2015)

“Throw away your man he’s dispersable” is how this song starts and what a line! UK rapper Tion Wayne uses his cheekiness and sauce to deliver a bar! At the time of this release Afro B was getting more recognition for songs as well as his mixes. Fast forward to now and he has one of the biggest songs and Tion Wayne is also flourishing and shining. For me the harmonies from Afro B mixed with Tion’s pronunciation of certain words make this song unforgettable. Have a listen below;

Plies Ft Ne-Yo – Bust it Baby Pt 2 (2008)

I used to love this song when it first came out. At the time, I remember at the time, the video debuted on the BET show 106 and Park and stayed on the countdown for over a month! As a fan of Ne-Yo, I think his contribution to the song made it a hit. His verse for me was the best part of the song as it slowed it down a bit in contrast to Plies’ active style of rapping. The song is definitely not for those under the age of 16, that is for sure! Have a listen below;

Jhene Aiko Ft Kurupt – Never Call Me (2017)

This is one of those songs that if you know, you know! The song is based on Jhene’s broken relationship with her ex-husband. I’m assuming due to the title, miscommunication was a major factor in the breakup. The song also contains a snippet from American rapper, actor and former Executive Vice President of Death Row Records, Kurupt, who is also a close friend of Jhene and gave her advice while she was going through the breakup. In the song she addresses the fact that they both knew they had nothing in common “We never shared anything but the drugs, we were both numb, never had anything real between us” which is quite a sad revelation. Another fact is that Jhene actually has two video versions for this song. One is the Slauson version which explores her African American roots and upbringing. Slauson is the area in America she grew up in and the video features the late Nipsey Hussle who of course is the King of Slauson. The second video focuses more on her Asian side as she dresses up. Have a listen below;

Appreciation Post and #NewMusicFriday UK style

Hey everybody! I hope everyone has had a productive week and is ready to relax a little this coming weekend.

First off, I just want to thank you all for supporting me on this journey. This blog has officially surpassed the whole of last year’s views and it’s only mid-April!!! I can’t even express my joy knowing that so many of you enjoy my posts. I will do my best to continue with the same energy and hopefully I can continue to entertain.

Another point I wanted to add was that this week has been very reflective for me. The death of Nipsey Hussle and even recently the UK rapper Cadet, who I was also a fan of, has really made me think. Music has been my therapy for as long (how my blog started) as I can remember and I get some comfort from listening to their music. In all honesty, even if you have never heard a Nipsey Hussle song before or do not know what he was about, I beg you to listen to some of his work and digest his lyrics. One of the things about meaningful music is that it is timeless. It is never too late to catch on to what the artist is trying to teach you!

Anyways! Time for some new music!!! The UK scene has on fire for a while now! Here are some new songs that I think you should check out!

Young T & Bugsey – Again

The UK duo are back again with another catchy song. I don’t think these two are capable of making a song that you will NOT be singing non stop once you hear.One thing I like about these two is their pronunciation. I feel they annunciate their words so fluidly in all their songs. “Took a small loss now I’m back up again”is what I’ve been singing all day! This song will have you dancing or somehow bopping your head. I hope these two have a lot more of songs like this in time for summer!! Have a listen below and watch the video.

3Robi x Fredo x Lacrim – Not My Dons

It seems in this song it is Netherlands mixing with the UK & Algeria! What seems like a very random combination actually works! It’s clear to say now that Fredo can rap on any beat.For those that think he has the same flow, have a listen to him on this song. Lacrim’s verse was great on it even though I didn’t understand a thing! Have a listen below;

LD (67) Ft. Young Adz – So Fly

The song actually came out a while ago but the video has just been released. Have a watch below:

Geko Ft. French Montana & Ay Em – New Money

I’m a fan of this song . Geko recruits Ay Em, who has been on a roll lately, and US rapper French Montana! Have a listen below:

Big Narstie Ft. Donae’o- It’s Yours

I won’t lie, I’m not usually a fan of Big Narstie when it comes to his music however this song surprised me! It feels like a new direction from him and of course Donae’o is one of the best UK artists when it comes to hooks! Big Narstie even switches it up and raps in Spanish many times in this song! Who knew! A man of many talents!! This song has definitely been added to my “Vibes” playlist. Have a listen to it below, definitely a song you can sway to.

Mid-Week Vibes!!!

Hello everyone! We’re halfway through the week and nearly at the end of March. I wanted to say a big thank you to everyone tuning into the site and reading my posts this month. I appreciate you all.
Today’s post is based a few songs I’ve been playing this week that you should check out!

Kiana Lede;

So I’ve recently stumbled on Kiana Lede and wow her voice is beautiful! Her style is very R&B and she has an EP that was released last year called ‘Selfless (2018)’ which is great! There’s a few songs from it that I’ve had on repeat;

Show Love; In this song, Kiana tells the man in question to show how much he wants to be with her rather than just by words. She sings; “Fight for me baby…if you want time with me baby, got to do more than enough”. This is another way of saying “Actions speak louder than words”.

EX; I think this is one of her more popular songs. The song is based on the idea that she wants to remain friends with her ex despite the break up. She sings in the chorus; “I don’t wanna be your ex, we way too good at being friends” emphasising the fact she didn’t wanna lose her friendship with him after the breakup. Have a listen;

Wicked Games; This is one of my favourite songs on the EP. The song plays on the idea that Kiana is in a relationship with someone who takes advantage of her and her nature; “It’s always later, later, later, later & I let you come back ’cause sticking ’round is in my nature”. She sings throughout the song how the man in question knows that he is her weakness and acts on that. I like the simple production on this song too. Have a listen;

Take It All; This song gives me acoustic vibes. In this song Kiana is singing about a lover that accepts every part of her. She sings; “You be so good to me, even when I don’t say sorry”. Check it out below;

Burna Boy & DJDS- Darko (2019)

Nigerian Prince Burna Boy has returned with a newly released EP with DJDS entitled ‘Steel & Copper’ with 4 songs. ‘Darko’ is my favourite on the project. The song is a chilled, relaxed Burna track and if you a fan of his previous song ‘ Don Gorgon’, you may hear a few references to it! Check out the song below;

Rich The Kid Ft Big Sean & Offset – Two Cups (2019)

Rich The Kid has just released his new album called ‘The World is Yours 2″ and this is one of the songs I like from the album. I’m glad for the return of Big Sean as he’s one of my favourite rappers. I liked his part of his verse where he raps “I go off, go in, go up, but never go back, I know we in a league of our own, bitch, I’m pro-black”. Hopefully we will hear more new music from Big Sean soon. Have a listen to the song below

The Rara – Elegance (2018)

A little bit of bashment for your ears. This song has actually been out a while but recently I haven’t been able to get it out of my head. Have a listen below;

Oritse Femi Ft. Burna Boy & Konshens – Play Am (2019

This is what happens when Afrobeats fuses with Bashment! A match made in heaven. All genres compliment eachother so well. Have a listen below;

DC – No Manners (2018)

I mentioned this song on the Instagram account, but I’ve had it on repeat this week. I like the use of wordplays in this song, DC is releasing a new EP this week, so I’ll be sure to check that out. This freestyle sounds like it is played over the Fat Joe “What’s Luv” song so provides a sense of nostalgia for me. Check out the video below.

Dave – ‘Psychodrama’ Album Review.

Released: 8th March 2019

UK rapper Dave has finally blessed us with his debut album ‘Psychodrama‘. I was excited about the release of this album as it was a long time coming and I certainly haven’t been disappointed. With albums, I feel it’s only right you take a few days or even weeks, to sit on it and take it in. In the space of a few days, my favourites have already changed, and I was hearing things and understanding meanings to songs I never picked up on before. I feel Dave is very socially aware for his age, it’s hard to believe Dave is only 20 years old with some of the content he raps about. In his intro track “Psycho” he even states “I’m a hitmaker if you ever noticed, I could be the rapper with the message like you’re hoping”; he has the ability to relate to the youth with his experiences and possibly even language and make commercial and successful songs but also relate to a more mature audience with his subject matters and hidden messages. In his song “Purple Heart” he uses clever wordplay and metaphors to describe his love for a woman. Some of the metaphors are so clever, you probably have to listen to it more than once to catch what he is saying. Someone once told me that with lyrics, everybody’s interpretation is personal to them. I feel that with Dave’s album, regardless of who you are, your age, ethnicity, gender, you will find your own unique meaning behind Dave’s lyrics.

Psycho‘ is the first song from the album and it serves similarly to a monologue. There is no main chorus and Dave just spits his thoughts into one track. For me the most important part of this song is towards the end when we hear more answers. From 2 minutes, 20 seconds, the flow changes as does Dave’s mood. Dave raps “Brother I’m a careful, humble, reckless, arrogant, extravagant, nigga, probably battlin’ with manic depression”, he openly displays his weaknesses as well as admitting his battle with depression. I like the honesty Dave exudes with his music and I feel he does this with the sole purpose of helping other people to acknowledge and speak up too. Continuing with the theme of therapy, towards the end Dave raps; “And to my fans, the reason I could get to this, you’re my drug, the instrumental, my therapist”, Dave states that it’s through music and the support he gets from it that heal him. For most people, music is a form of therapy and for Dave it is his way of letting out all his worries and fears.

Dave has 3 songs with features on this album and it’s each featured artist offers something unique to the song . The first feature we hear is the JAE5 produced song “Location” featuring Nigerian superstar Burna Boy. When I first heard this song I was sceptical about the sound from Burna as I couldn’t work out what kind of sound he was trying to portray. After sitting on it and listening to it, I now really love this song. Of course JAE5 does no wrong with this track and especially around ‘2:11’ when the beat takes a turn before Burna Boy comes in with his verse. The song has a kind of seduction to it as Burna sings for the person in question to send him “the location”. Dave raps about his “come up” but keeps his cool throughout the track with quotable and memorable lines such as “Girl from India, sweet as naani, head so good, now I speak Gujarati”.

The second featured track features UK star J Hus as he assists him on the song “Disaster”. The two have previously collaborated on Dave’s 2017 song “Samantha”. This song for me is unique because it is not a Dave track featuring J Hus, it is a collaborative effort from both of them equally. The way Hus comes into this song and plays off Dave’s verses reminds me that J Hus is an undeniable talent in the UK scene. Hus shows his versatility by singing the chorus but by also battling Dave on the rap verses. This is by far my favourite song on the album.

Dave uses his song “Environment” to expose the truth behind some ideologies. He touches on the “culture” with lines like; ” Where I’m from, everybody wants to make it out but nobody wants to see somebody make it out”. He references the music industry with lyrics such as; ” The moment that you ain’t it, the labels are looking for replacements”. Dave mentions his upbringing and social issues in songs like “Streatham”, “Black” and “Screwface Capital”. He is very open about the struggles he faced growing up “Tell me what you know about a bag full of bills and your mom crying out, saying, son, I can’t take it” (Screwface Capital). In his single “Black”, Dave talks about the social and racial inequality he faces as well as other people his race or age group may face too. (Check out my review and video review for this single on a previous post) https://musicandlifeblog.com/2019/02/24/videos-to-watch-mostack-dave-uks-finest/ .

Lesley’ is one of the sadder, emotional songs as Dave raps the story of a woman who is abused by her boyfriend Jason. The song touches on Dave’s first meeting with her to how she suffered and the dramatic conclusion to her story. Dave’s storytelling abilities have always been evident through many of his songs but this one seemed more fitting given the current “Me Too” movement. Hopefully the song helps women in that situation to walk away from toxic and abusive situations and gives them the confidence to understand their worth. ‘Drama‘ is also another emotional and personal song from Dave. The final song on the album follows the theme of the first track being a monologue without a chorus. Dave uses the song to speak to his older brother who is currently incarcerated. The track also features a snippet of his brother.

Overall, the album for me is possibly one of the best UK rap debut albums in a long time. A debut album in my opinion is supposed to let the world know who you exactly are and what you stand for. This album did all of that and more. From this album, Dave is a unique lyricist who cares about the world and wants to make a difference to the youth while also letting the older generation understand what it’s like to be him or someone like him . Dave is not scared to tell the truth and expose the falseness of ideologies. He uses his music to be real and honest. He touches on race, poverty, suicide, abuse, love, friendship, betrayal and so much more. Be prepared for intelligent wordplay, snazzy metaphors and incredible production. Hopefully this album can go to number 1 and if that is the case, it is thoroughly deserved.

I actually have tickets for the tour and I honestly cannot wait to hear and watch these songs performed live and feel the raw emotions.

Have a listen below:

Videos to Watch… MoStack & Dave…UK’s Finest.

Hi everyone, I know I usually talk about songs and lyrics but this post is dedicated to two important videos that have recently been released.

MoStack – Daily Duppy

The first video is a Daily Duppy from from UK rapper MoStack. He’s possibly one of the UK’s best rappers at the moment and this freestyle showcases his versatility. He raps about his lifestyle “see my eye bags, I carry nuff baggage” demonstrating his use of clever puns which is shown throughout the whole freestyle. The beat/instrumental used in this freestyle is great too and MoStack rides the beat like a pro. Some of my favourite bars are; “We don’t speak but your secrets won’t leave my mouth” and “How dare you think a weapon’s more stronger than prayer, I’m more than blessed, I’m more than flex”, MoStack is so talented with his words. This is definitely one of my favourite freestyles from a rapper and I love the rawness and the mention of his love for fellow UK rapper J Hus. I like freestyles when an artist spills out their true emotions and this is exactly what MoStack did. I look forward to more music from him coming in the near future.

PS: Free J Hus!!

Dave – Black

Before I start this I just want to remind everyone about Martin Luther King’s famous speech; “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character”. This dream is seeming less and less likely as the days go on.

UK rapper Dave is infamous for his thought provoking music and incredible videos. This song and video is no different. This song is the first from his upcoming debut album ‘Psychodrama’ produced by the legend that is Fraser T Smith. Dave uses this track to discuss social and racial inequality and how it is to be a Black man in a white man’s world. As a fellow Nigerian, I love the accompanying video as it was filmed in my country and shows the beauty of it. As a Black woman, I love the issues raised, I feel this a song I would love my younger cousins to hear and to digest. I relate to so many things mentioned in this song as i’m sure many other people do. Statements like “Cause you need to do double what they do so you can level them” are things my mum told me from a young age and advice I know many other young black people have been taught. So many statements in this song are powerful; “A kid dies, the blacker the killer, the sweeter the news and if he’s white you give him a chance, he’s ill and confused” reminding me pretty much of the term “Black on Black” crime. We never say “white on white crime” so why is it a specific issue when black people are concerned? I love the awareness Dave brings to these issues and it’s so sad to see the constant battle many of us have to face just because of the colour of our skin. Another point to add is that Dave features many fellow Black celebrities in the video to showcase the positive role models we have. Dave ends by saying “Black is all I know, there ain’t a thing that I would change in it” which is my sentiments exactly. Have a watch below;

Vibes… #SundaySongs

Hey all, Happy Sunday! I know Sundays for most are quite relaxing or religious and laid back. I have compiled a list of a few songs I’m playing at the moment that have that chilled back vibe. Remember to check out my Spotify playlist on the top of the page! Have a listen below and next week I will be back with more content for you.

Kehlani Ft. Ty Dolla $ign – Nights Like This (2019)

Fun fact: Kehlani was actually the reason I started writing about songs. Originally I started writing as a therapy for me to express my thoughts and problems and it was all due to hearing one of her songs. She has the ability to sing a song and get you invested to the point you start seeing the similarities in your own life. I’ve already talked about my love for Ty Dolla in features and this song is no different. The pair in this song are perfect. This song plays on the idea of deceit and dishonesty as she sings; “You gon’ say you want me, then go switch it up, just gon’ play with my emotions” implying that she’s been messed about. You can feel the pain she feels in this song; “Feel like it’s too hard to fall in love again”, the experience has even made her wary of trying again. Overall, this is one of my favourite Kehlani songs. Have a listen below.

Eric Bellinger Ft. Chris Brown & OG Parker – Type A Way (2019)

This song is taken from Eric’ new 32 song EP titled ‘The Rebirth 2′. I’ve been a fan of Eric Bellinger for a while, he’s a great songwriter and has some great songs. He has a unique catchphrase “This gon’ be your favorite song” which I love hearing at the beginning of a song. OG Parker is a producer and sometimes I feel like producers don’t get enough credit so shout out to him has the production for this song is on point. Chris Brown and Eric fuse so well in this song that sometimes it is hard to even know who was singing. They have similar talents where they can hit high notes and low notes in the same breath. I like the fact that the song is quite mixed in terms of both of them singing. A featured song is mostly just a little piece of the featured artist but this is more a collaborative effort. Have a listen below:

Hypo Ft. Yxng Bane & Asco – First Night (2019)

This is a UK feature and boy is it catchy! The song reminds me exactly of Usher’s song “I Don’t Mind” (2014) where he states that if a woman chooses to be a pole dancer it doesn’t mean she is “loose” which is the stereotype associated with that profession. Similarly to Usher’s song Hypo, Yxng Bane & Asco sing about the same premise and even argue that sleeping with a man on a first night does not mean the guy will not “wife” her. The UK guys make a good group and I’m sure you’ll be singing the chorus repeatedly after a few listens. Have a listen to the song below as well as Usher’s song that possible served as inspiration for them.

Usher’s original
Hypo version.

Pia Mia – Ocean Drive (2017)

Pia is most famous for her song “Do it Again” with Tyga and Chris Brown but I’m surprised this song from her wasn’t more of a hit. I like how the tone of the song changes and the sound gets more upbeat throughout the song especially during the chorus. This song will be best to listen to with a speaker that has a great Base or with both headphones in at the loudest volume. If you close your eyes, in pretty sure you can picture yourself on a beach somewhere, I certainly can!

Angel – Thug Juice (2018)

UK singer Angel has just signed with a major record label which is great. He is so talented and has such a distinctive voice so I’m glad he’s getting the recognition he deserves. This song fits in with the theme of this post. If you want a song to chill to and just bop your head slowly, this is the perfect song. Have a listen below.

2 important video reviews coming next…