Stormzy Releases New Album “This Is What I Mean”: Streaming
British rapper Stormzy released his third studio album “This Is What I Mean” on November 25, 2022.
It is his first project in three years since the 2019 album “Heavy Is the Head”.
The album comprises 12-track, featuring guest appearances from Amaarae, Black Sherif, India.Arie, Jacob Collier and Ms Banks.
“When you hear about music camps they always sound intense and sombre,” Stormzy said of the album in a statement. “People saying: 'We need to make an album.' 'We need to make some hit records.' But this felt beautifully free. We're all musicians but we weren't always doing music. Some days we played football or walked around taking pictures. And the bi-product to that was very beautiful music. Because when you marry that ethos with world class musicians and the best producers, writers and artists in the world, and we're in one space, that's a recipe for something that no one can really imagine. You can't even calculate what that's going to come up with. And it came up with a big chunk of this album.”
Stormzy explained track-by-track for the album via i-D.
“Fire + Water”
“This song is one of the truest testaments to how we made the album. For a long time, it was the first song on the track list. Prgrshn, the executive producer of the album, and Jermaine, my cousin who is also my creative partner, everyone thought it was the intro. But this song is really melodic, soulful and vulnerable, and I never really knew if it was the intro. It's a song about my ex-girlfriend and, at the time I made it, she was the most pressing matter in my heart. As soon as I went to touch the mic, this was what came out of me. It goes back to the thing of considering the audience last. Before, when I'd make an album, I'd think like a rapper: that first tune you have to rap and show everyone how good you are at rapping. And that comes from a place of ego rather than a place of art.”
“This Is What I Mean” featuring. Amaarae, Black Sherif, Jacob Collier and Ms Banks
“This song that happened in so many ways. It really started with this amazing producer called Knox Brown, and this chord progression by P2J. We had this idea for a song where I wanted to use all my favourite artists like how a painter might use different brushes and different colours. I didn't want them to just do verses, I wanted to paint with their voices. So P2J sampled Jacob Collier's voice, and turned that into something eerie, and we used that as the basis for this song and the sample – it just became more and more epic. It was one of those ideas, like that first song, that evolved over time. It's about trying to do something that feels good and right, something that strikes a chord within my soul and my spirit. It's like painting: if it feels right to put some red on the canvas we do; if we want to cover it in blue we do. This song is a testament to that process.”
“This song started with this amazing singer and songwriter called Debbie, who is really fantastic – she is maybe the most talented person I've come across recently. She's unbelievable. We signed her to Def Jam as well. I got into the studio with her, and George Moore, a phenomenal producer, started playing these chords, and we started messing around with some melodies, and writing this story. It's a song about that first spark when you meet your partner and how it feels. That first time, when you're really observant of them. You might go to a party, or you're having dinner, and you're watching how they move, how they work the room. I've always sung and used melody but I've been sheepish about it. Five years ago I was brave to even dip my toe in but I needed to commit to it properly here. I want to sing how Stevie sings, or Frank Ocean, or Whitney. I mean I'll never be able to sing like Whitney but I can sing my way. I can sing with my honesty and truth. That's a place I've always wanted to be.”
“That song is called 'Please'. The word “please” is so multifaceted. There's a vulnerability to it, a desperateness; there's so many ways you can say please. I thought about what 'please' means to me. It wasn't something defiant. It was about letting everything roll out. I wanted to do something that wasn't premeditated. It became a confession. It was very therapeutic.”
“I like that if I heard that song, I'd think someone else had made it. Do you know what I mean? But it feels good. I think that consistency is because of the truth of the songs, the essence of them. When we were making this album, we didn't go in to make songs in a specific style. Instead, we had an approach and an ethos to the album that carried into every piece of music. As much as it's a broad sonic soundscape, we approached every song with a feeling of truth – so whether it was something really hard and rap, or something really soft, they live in the same space because they were made with the same intention.”
“Hide & Seek”
“That song is called 'Hide and Seek'. I'm really proud of it. I think it's a song I've been trying to have the confidence to write my whole career. A song where I can rap and sing, and create something really warm. I love warmth, I love soul and melody. I would hear other people make songs like that and I'd be a bit jealous, because it felt like it was their bag. So to be able to do them myself, it's a bit like coming full circle.
“My Presidents Are Black”
“The sample is from this amazing Swedish artist called Daniela Rathana. It blew me away. It's so soulful. It hit me right in my spirit. So I played it for Prgrshn and he was blown away too. He sampled it and I knew I wanted to rap over it, but it took me some time to figure out what I wanted to say. I had to get into a specific place, because I'm also in a new place as a man, so when I go to rap now I start by trying to figure out what I want to say. It's not just about rhyming and showing off and placating my own ego. It's about what I want to say. You give me a beat and I can rap all day. But it's not about that anymore. It's about saying something purposeful and intentional. That song is called “My Presidents Are Black”. It's a bit of a reference to Def Jam. Because that means so much to me. The person speaking at the end is Jazzie B of Soul II Soul. It's a song about arrival, about being here, and standing for something.”
“Weirdly every time I listened back to the song I'd made, in my head I just kept on hearing Sampha's voice singing over it. He's got so much feeling and truth in his voice. It's back to this mantra: you have to do what feels right. What feels good. I just wanted to hear how he would sound singing this song. I asked and he came into the studio and just kept going.”
“This was a song that was about reconnecting with God. It's a song about coming of age, becoming an adult, and coming to understand yourself. My collaborator Dion, we call him the chord lord because he has the Midas touch when it comes to keys. He's on loads of tracks on the album actually. He just started playing and I just started singing. The melody was a one take. I worked out the lyrics later, but the melody just came to me. The Holy Spirit was in the room and I caught it. It felt so powerful.”
“I Got My Smile Back” featuring India.Arie
“It reflects the man I am and the man I've become. Where I'm at in my life. It's a reflection of growth. It's not an attempt at music so much, it's more me trying to hold up a mirror to myself.”
“Give It To The Water”
“This is with Debbie. It's called 'Give It To The Water'. It's actually the first song we made together. I've wanted it to be the outro from the beginning. I knew from the beginning, from as soon as we made that track, that it would be the outro. If you think about the story the album is telling... During this chapter of my life, it felt like all I could do was give it to the water, give it to God. That's all I could do. I've held myself accountable. I've looked in the mirror. I've deeped every detail of my life. And then I was just like, give it to God. Free yourself. It's a fitting end to the album.”
- source : Apple Music