Let's talk about multi-award winning South London MC, Stormzy for a minute. Michael Omari is the 24 year old Hip Hop superstar who has revolutionised the UK Grime scene and played a massive roll, alongside others, in catapulting the UK's urban music scene in general into mainstream music. Having won two MOBO Awards, a Rated Award, a Southbank Award, an AMI Independent Music Award and a BET Award for Best International Act:Europe; Stormzy has begun his career with a bang.
Prior to his debut album release in 2016, the Croydon musician released a project titled "Dreamers Disease" which saw him gain the accolade of becoming the first unsigned rapper to appear on Later with Jools Holland. In 2015 he released "Know Me From" which had the world losing their minds spamming the internet with a multitude of hashtags suchs as #PROBLEM and #MERKY. What followed was "WickedSkengMan 4" sporting the oh so popular "Shut Up" charting in the top 10 UK Singles charts. 2016 saw what everyone had been waiting for, the debut album. Gang Signs & Prayer (#GSAP another hashtag for the history books) and Lord, was it worth the wait!
There was probably no need for the accolade filled introduction, but we wanted you to really understand the calibre of artist that we had the opportunity of seeing live at Melbourne's The Forum Venue on July 27th.
On a typical Melbourne Winter night (Bipolar weather forecasts), we arrived at the Flinders Street venue to a line which stretched around the block. A wide demographic of Stormzy fans awaited what was sure to be a wild show of hype tracks mixed with mellow bars as the UK heavy weight took the stage supported by Sydney's rising star, Manu Crooks. As the venue began to fill, excited fans lined up at the merch stand, eager to get their hands on some trophies from the night ahead. We went to the bar, to make sure we were hydrated of course and then proceeded to assume our positions at the flank of the stage. Even the security were excited for the night ahead as we spoke with Guard, John, about what to expect and he advised us of a forthcoming moshpit that was going to be one for the ages.
The lights changed colour and everyone cheered. We were still about fifteen minutes from the start of the show but the fans were ready. Then enters Henok.e, a Melbourne DJ who was easily the most fitting for the show. He played hype trap bangers as he chanted into his microphone and prepped us for the wildness that Manu Crooks was about to bring. Crooks, came on. Cool, calm and collect he looked and sounded like he was truly at home in a foreign city. Shouting out a number of fans whom he recognised proudly sporting a ghanain flags, the motherland of both artists. By the end of Manu's set the crowd was wild, he had the whole place jumping and honestly it was really cool to see so much love being given to a new local artist. We were impressed.
A short break and then as we all waited in sheer excitement, DJ Tiiny, Stormzy's tour DJ stepped on stage. The vibe suddenly became very, very real. After playing a couple of tunes, the 6'5" ft. legend in the making strutted on to the stage performing the first song from his debut album, "First Things First". The mix of cadence, aggression and complete lack of complacency oozed from the rapper as he began what was one of the best performances we have ever seen. Admitting that he had planned to play his album in full but realised that Melbourne City deserved some classics, he gave us a real trip. Playing a range of tracks from the award winning "Know Me From" to new album tracks like "Cigarretes & Kush" and "Velvet / Jenny Francis (Interlude)", at which point he insisted on playing out the outro to demonstrate that he is more than just a rapper.
"Okay, okay, okay, okay
Man thought that Stormzy couldn't sing, haha"
He took us up, he brought us down, he dedicated "100 Bags" to his mother who is his biggest fan. He informed the crowd of adoring fans that he had turned 24 the previous night and we all stopped him mid-sentence to sing happy birthday and he left the stage completely drenched in sweat. It was simply glorious. Multitudes of fans crowd surfed their way from the deepest parts of the moshpit to the front of stage and the vibe was unlike anything we have ever seen at a Hip Hop show in Melbourne.
In all honesty, we give the show a 10/10 and this is easliy reflected by the fact that every single Australian show sold out. #GSAPDOWNUNDER was a real success and we cannot wait to see Stormzy again when he returns to our humble shores.
If you haven't done so already, check out all the Stormzy essentials below and get familiar with a name who is changing the game.
View our gallery of the eventful night: