What football team does Stormzy support? While we await more news on when he will be able to tour again, here are some facts about Stormzy’s roots and causes close to his heart.
The undisputed (more or less!) king of grime has been in the news again lately as fans await news of whether his tour will go ahead in any form next month.
It seems a good time to delve into Stormzy’s roots and causes close to his heart, starting with – football!
What football team does Stormzy support?
Although he originally hails from Croydon, it’s Manchester United rather than Crystal Palace that holds Stormzy’s heart.
He was unable to hide his joy when he chatted to some Old Trafford legends to mark the release of his debut album Gangs And Prayers three years ago.
Since then, Stormzy has used his lyrical skills to both celebrate and denigrate those who influence the fortunes of his favourite club.
Some highlights have included rapping a new version of 2015’s Nigo Duppy to mark the return of hero Paul Pogba to Old Trafford. However, former manager David Moyes’ mediocre spell at the club saw him commemorated in Stormzy’s Know Me From, with less than complimentary lyrics!
Stormzy hasn’t only focused on United in his music. He not only rapped alongside the Red Devils’ Mark Rashford for FIFA 2019 but also former Arsenal star Ray Parlour.
The midfielder turned pundit delighted the Big For Your Boots man, who duly dubbed him Ray-Pizzee for lyrics including: “I remember 2003, in my whip with Thierry Henry. That man was merky, he could roast teams like a turkey.”
Background and education
In 2017, Stormy told GQ magazine how he grew up in a rough neighbourhood in South Norwood. He said: “You didn’t show weakness. You didn’t show vulnerability. You weren’t having it from anyone.”
With his parents having separated, he was mainly raised by his single mother, Abigail Owuo, with his three siblings. He has recounted how she was “always working”.
He was an intelligent student who his academy’s benefactor described as a “boy who had lots of ability (but) was very naughty”.
He also recalled: “His English was fantastic. I thought it could have got him to Oxford or Cambridge.”
From an early point, Stormzy found solace and expression in writing poetry, which he described as “Proper f***ing beautiful poems. And proudly.” He has been rapping since the age of 11.
Stormzy felt less focused on his academic work than his music, and didn’t attend university. He clearly values education, however, having funded the Stormzy Scholarship for black UK students through Cambridge University since 2018.
Career so far
Stormzy first gained a following through his YouTube channel, and gradually became renowned for his combination of striking lyrics and powerful raps.
He has released two solo albums so far – 2017’s Gangs And Prayers and last year’s Heavy Is The Head. He has featured in a range of songs with other artists, especially grime, as well as one with Ed Sheeran.
He also featured on the 2017 Artists For Grenfell cover of Bridge Over Troubled Waters.
Activism and good causes
Stormzy is passionate about speaking out on the need to address inequality and injustice, especially racial inequality.
In the aftermath of the Black Lives Matter protests, he made the Stormzy Pledge. In it, he states: “Stormzy pledges £10 million over ten years to organisations, charities and movements that are committed to fighting racial inequality, justice reform and black empowerment within the UK.”
He has also created a publishing imprint, #Merky Books. It aims to promote young, under-represented and unpublished authors in the UK through the New Writer’s Prize, which opened last week.
Merky loosely means “something great”, a standard it seems Stormzy aims to judge himself and others by.
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