Stormzy whose real name is Micheal Ebenezer Kwadjo Omari Owuo is a Ghanaian-British rapper who is currently based in the UK. He has a large fan base throughout the UK with many No 1 singles and a UK No 1 album titled Gang Signs & Prayer. His album Gang Signs and Prayer is nothing short from phenomenal and inspiring. In this album, he sheds the light on living in a society where all odds are against him. But he was able to use Rap to overcome the temptations and danger that come with living in a gang prone locality.
He is from South London, which has a reputation for high gang, gun and knife crime. Many localities within South London face cuts to local council funding and benefit schemes such as tax credits, which have made survival and living conditions increasingly difficult. Also, South London has a significant number of the African and Caribbean diaspora population. One will find many Nigerians and Ghanaians in this area. Although, he does not specifically discuss his Ghanaian roots in his music. He is known for making regular visits back home to Ghana and many other African countries.
In an interview with FADER, he said, “I needed to make an album that represented me, which was always going to be a struggle. I wanted to touch on the gospel side of things, and my faith, because that’s so integral to my character. And the other side of my life – growing up in the streets, doing the things I’ve done with the people I was with, that is also a very integral part of me. I’m not a one-dimensional character.”
The song that stuck out to me from this album was Blinded by your Grace. It carries his voice as its speaks to his spiritual life and the street persona that he developed as a product of living in South London. The chorus says, “You fix me … now I’m blinded, by your grace … You came and saved me.” While watching this video, he includes images of the immigrant demographic. This imagery highlights Stormzy’s experience as a second generation Ghanaian immigrant in South London. By the end of the video, the community is sheltering the children, almost to signify protecting them from the dangers that come from living on the South side.