Whether in the continent or afar, the rhythm of African music lives through every African person. The impact of African music is prodigious and influences every culture worldwide. A multitude of African hip-hop artists bring the influences of their culture and lived experiences into their music outside Africa. They share the beauty of African beats with people and cultures everywhere.
Stormzy, also known as Michael Ebenezer Kwadjo Omari Owuo Jr., is an incredibly talented, London-based grime MC with Ghanaian heritage. Grime is a genre of music that emerged from the streets of multicultural London in the early 2000s. Stormzy is a rapper, singer, and songwriter and sparked attention in 2014 in the UK underground music scene through his Wicked Skengman series of freestyles over classic grime beats. He is perhaps the highest-profile MC in Britain and is one of the UK’s most critically acclaimed artists. Stormzy won Best Grime Act at the 2014 and 2015 MOBO Awards and was named as an artist to look out for in the BBC’s Sound of 2015 list.
It is no doubt that Stormzy is a musical genius. He represents both his country and the African Diaspora through his lyricism and music video imagery in his work. Stormzy’s music video for his song, “Superheroes,” is a beautiful and vibrant animation with immense meaning. Stormzy chose animation because he felt the song needed to transcend boundaries, like the music. It makes the impossible possible, thus allowing us to get lost in imagination. The song was dedicated to Chadwick Boseman following the actor’s death last year and emphasized current events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter Movement. Through the music video, Stormzy conveys the message to young black youth that despite skin color, religion, background, or whatever they feel is holding them back, they need to remember how powerful they are. Furthermore, everyday superheroes worldwide, ranging from hard-working mothers to social activists, to athletes, to music artists, to scholars. The point of the song is to express how not all heroes wear capes. Heroes are people like our friends, family, and those in our community. Stormzy wishes to empower young people, especially young Black children, that they are all capable and can reach their full potential. In an interview with TIME, he states that he is invested in black excellence. He intends to rise with his class, rather than out of it and says, “being championed by my community, I feel like everyone’s put me o this pedestal and, like, everyone has put me on top of the world… I know it is my purpose just to shine a light where I can, do something where I can, just whenever I can, in whatever way, shape, or form.” Stormzy is more than grateful for the position and platform he was given and as he deserves. He is an incredibly innovative, passionate, and inspiring individual who is changing the music industry and the world in the best of ways.