"Gang Signs & Prayer" is the debut studio album by British grime MC Stormzy. It was released on 24 February 2017 independently through #Merky Records while being distributed by ADA of Warner Music Group. It is Stormzy's first major commercial release, following the Dreamers Disease EP (2014). The album features guest appearances from fellow MCs Wretch 32, Ghetts and J HUS, along with singers Kehlani, Raleigh Ritchie and MNEK. It features production from Fraser T Smith and Sir Spyro, among others.
After garnering attention on the UK underground music scene via his Wicked Skengman series of freestyles over classic grime beats, Stormzy released his debut EP Dreamers Disease independently in July 2014.
In March 2015, he released the single "Know Me From", which entered the UK Singles Chart at number 49. In September 2015, he released a final instalment to his "WickedSkengMan" freestyle series, "WickedSkengMan 4", onto iTunes, along with a studio version of his "Shut Up" freestyle over XTC's Functions on the Low instrumental. The track debuted at number 18 on the UK Singles Chart, becoming Stormzy's first top 40 hit. The online video for "Shut Up" garnered millions of views and attention from the mainstream. As a result, Stormzy launched a Christmas number one campaign to get the song to number one, ultimately peaking at number eight on the UK Singles Chart.
After a year's hiatus from social media to focus on the recording of the album, Stormzy returned in early February 2017 via a series of billboard campaigns across London displaying lyrical quotes and the hashtag #GSAP 24.02. The album title was announced to be Gang Signs & Prayer, set to be released on 24 February 2017, followed by the track listing the following day.
Prior to the album's official announcement, the non-single track "Shut Up" was released in September 2015 and ultimately included as the penultimate track on Gang Signs & Prayer. The non-album single "Scary" was released in April 2016 prior to Stormzy's hiatus. On 1 February 2017, a billboard campaign was launched across numerous areas in London that foreshadowed the release of the album.
reviewed by theguardian.com
Grime’s commercial renaissance has largely been fueled by a back-to-basics approach: the bullish we-were-right-all-along manifesto set out on Skepta’s 2014 single That’s Not Me. There’s certainly some of that to Stormzy’s rise to success: it doesn’t get much more back-to-basics than freestyling over a 2004 instrumental in a south London park. But there’s a lot more to Gang Signs and Prayer than that. It’s not a perfect debut – it’s slightly too long for one thing, and there are a couple of points where it sags – but it sounds like an album teeming with original, daring ideas. More importantly, it sounds like the work of an artist with the confidence and the talent to pull those ideas off. User Comments