Stormzy: Will He Be Able To Stay In the Mainstream Spotlight for Long? - Emmanuel Ale Life Info


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Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Stormzy: Will He Be Able To Stay In the Mainstream Spotlight for Long?

Now, before I get into this, I just want humble myself by saying that I’m not necessarily what would call or consider to be a big music fanatic or “music information junkie”, neither am I the most knowledgeable on the terms of music, whether it applies to artistry, quality, history or significant, impact, remarkable and memorable moments or work of artist and musicians that have left something for future generations of people, including other artists and musicians, to talk about or remember, but or however, just to speak my mind on this, and try something different for my blog other than talking about topics that are meant to be taken serious all the time, and even though I’m not doing this to do it as a form of gossiping in which is something that some people might consider this as being while reading this, since I’m talking about a celebrity, I thought I’d go ahead and talk about this.

Now, with me personally, and no intention to put out my personal information out there or brag about myself and no meaning to state the obvious, but just to let the people who are reading this right now know, I’m from the U.K and I’m only speaking for myself on the terms of my personal opinion with it being how I feel on music here in the U.K. and of what I see goes on in the music or entertainment scene here in Britain or the U.K. However, the obvious aspect is that I’m also going to take into consideration the fact that with this blog, I have people are from all over the world and all over the globe looking up at my blog site, meaning that I have a worldwide and international audience, whether it be people from the U.S, of in which I lived there before, India, China, Nigeria,  Belize and other places as well, so for those who are reading this now, who aren’t from the UK, this might be something new to you, especially the people who are very big fanatics when it comes to music or who might have more knowledge than me when it comes to this subject so, hope you enjoy. You might learn something from this.

However, while staying on that subject, for the people that are reading this right now that are from the U.K that are big fanatics of music or that have more knowledge than me when it comes to music, especially when it comes to the genre of music that the musician or artist that I’m going to be talking about is based in, if you agree to disagree with me, see it differently compared to what I’m about to say or want to argue and refute, then that’s fine. You can feel free to do that below in the comment section.

Now, to get to the main substance of the message, firstly, let me just start off by saying that we live in a society to where in which entertainment does have heavy influence over us and is one of the main and key elements that create this society to be what it is today, with that being something that a lot of people, if not everybody should know and realize. When it comes to entertainment, there are different forms of it, more in particular when it comes to it being based on the platform of the mainstream media, whether it be forms of films and movies, sports, or TV even. However, focusing on one of those forms in specific, in which is one of the most popular and followed form of entertainment, if not, arguably the most popular and followed form of entertainment is music.

With music, knowing the power that it has behind it on the terms of how influential and how impactful it can be on the terms of a stirring up a movement or starting up a revolution especially if it’s a political movement or political revolution, knowing how it can affect and have power over both the mind and emotions, more in particular with or when it comes to opinions and perceptions on certain subjects and topics, whether it be social, political or personal topics and feelings and mood sets, especially when applied to rough, turbulent and hard times during a person’s personal life, knowing that it can be a very good tool to use on the terms of creativity, self-expression, cultural expression, political expression and delivering a message out to people, and knowing that some of the greatest public figures, public icons and people that have left a mark or legacy on or in the world have been musicians, with music, you have to state the obvious fact that it’s all over the world and everywhere you go. With that, there are different forms or genres of it, everywhere you go, with examples coming off how you have Rock and Roll in which started and originated in the U.S in the 1940’s. You have heavy metal in which started originated in the late 1960’s, here in the U.K. You have Afrobeats music in which started in the African countries of Nigeria and Ghana in 60’s and 70’s. You have Reggae music in which started and originated in the late 60’s in Jamaica. Going back bit more of on the terms of distance when it comes to history, you have classical music in which started in the 19th century. You have R’N’B music in which started and originated in the 1940’s in the African-American community in the US with Ruth Brown being named as the “Queen of R’N’B” meaning she is seen as the one that pivoted it. You have Jazz music in which started and originated in the 1920’s in the US, with Louis Armstrong seen as being the pioneer for it. You have Rap or Hip-Hop music in which started originated in the 1970’s in the African-American communities of New York. You have dubstep music in which started and originated, again, here in the U.K, South London, to be exact, in the late 1990’. However, finally, last but not least, you have the genre that I personally would argue and say gets the most attention or acceptance from people, worldwide and internationally, the genre that is the biggest selling genre of music to date or currently and the genre that does, put a lot of artists and musicians on the map, into the spotlight more specifically and introduces you to a bigger or more diverse audience, on the terms of career, status and profile elevation, with one of the results being that it makes them a bigger and more known star compared to their genre associates or genre peers, if they crossover into it from there original genre, whatever it is,  that they’re built for or that they find their comfort zone or function very well in, especially if there a singer, is Pop music, in which started and originated in both the U.S and U.K in the mid 1950’s. So when you look at it from an overall whole, all genres of music come from different parts of the world.

However, focusing on music specifically on music that is coming from the U.K, over than pop music being the top or biggest selling genre of music here specifically, and other than you having other genres of music that are known all over the world that originated here such as heavy metal and dubstep, there is one genre of music that is originated here, that at one point or at a certain time period didn’t really receive any attention or recognition, wasn’t really taken serious or was seen as being unpleasant or violence-influencing, violence-instigating and vigorous by the mainstream audience, more in particular by the white audience, with no meaning or intention to bring up race and ethnicity into the picture, but just to honestly and bluntly put it out there, but now due to somewhat shift, whether it comes in the form of artist proactivity with that being traveling to other countries and showing and projecting their music there, breaking down certain barriers when it comes to showing this genre of music to other people in other places, a change of social attitude or feeling towards it as a genre, or just as big as having world-known artists, more in particular it being the biggest world-known artists, more specifically with the rappers with it being two of the biggest selling rappers in the world, if the arguably, currently, exact and precise two top biggest selling rappers in the game right now, with that being Drake and Kanye West, giving it a chance by working with and collaborating with artists in this genre and even co-signing a couple of artists in the genre, with one of them being who I’m about to discuss and talk about, is now being accepted more into the mainstream spotlight, with it being what is known as “Grime” music.

For those of you who reading this now, who aren’t from the U.K, who don’t know what grime is, grime music is a genre of music that started in the early 2000’s in the east province of London. On the terms of style of it, it is a blend and a stem of styles such as UK garage, jungle, ragga, Jamaican dancehall and hip-hop, in which at times, gets comparisons with or too, on the terms of the similarities and differences between it when it comes to an American genre of music and a British genre of music that seem to have the same or similar fashion. When it emerged onto the music scene in the 2000’s, it was and today, still is considered by some people to be underground or subterranean music. The main pioneers of the genre come in the names of emcees such as Dizzie Rascal who is from East London, Wiley, who some, if not a lot of people see as being the main creator of grime, in which is part of the reason of why in which he’s nicknamed the “Godfather of Grime”, Kano who is from East Ham in London, of in which a lot of people respect as being a real and authentic emcee compared to others, and finally, Lethal Bizzle who is from Walthamstow in which is North East London. You have other prominent acts such as Skepta, who at one stage or point in time, and still now to a degree, some people see him as being the king of the grime music scene or the grime genre, who is from Tottenham in which is the north borough and province of London, while also with his brother JME as well.

However, other than that, there is one grime artist or one grime act that I want to focus on and talk about, with this being an artist that has been accepted by the mainstream audience here in the U.K, is enjoying the aspect of having mainstream commercial success very well and abundantly, that is infiltrating the mainstream flow of music today with a sense of grime, and that is seen as being the main artist leading grime down to the mainstream promise land, is Michael Omari, or the artist who goes by the name of Stormzy. Now, with Stormzy, for those of you who don’t know who he is or have never heard of him, again especially the people who aren’t from the U.K, he is a grime rapper or emcee from Thornton Heath, in which is a surburb of Croydon, in which is in the south terrace or province of London, again in which is where dubstep originated from. On the terms of his journey or route to being a rapper, musician or U.K celebrity, or on the terms of his background, at the age of 11, he began rapping. When grew up and older, before he started focusing on music full time, he studied for an apprenticeship and worked as an engineer. When he quit his job to pursue music, he started to release a series of freestyles on Youtube with the series called “Wicked Skengman” in 2014 and then dropped an debut album independently entitled “Dreamers Disease”. However, the freestyle that significantly garnered him attention or gave him media publicity, just from an underground level, is the gritty and crude freestyle called “Shut Up” in which later came out as a single and made onto the UK singles charts. From there on, he grew more on the terms of popularity and turned into being a highly rated underground rapper or emcee, with results coming in the form of where in which he won the award for “Best Grime Act” twice in a row, year after year, at the MOBO awards, of in which, again for those of you who aren’t from the U.K who don’t know what the MOBO awards is, is basically a music awards ceremony made to recognize, embrace and pay attribute to music coming from or made by artists specifically of African, Jamaican or British black ethnicity, even though they also do embrace music of other ethnicities as well. The “MOBO” stands for “Music of Black Origin”. On the terms of comparisons, it is very similar or very equivalent to the BET awards in the U.S, for all the people from the U.S who are reading this right now, especially for the black people or African-Americans will know about, with BET standing for Black Entertainment Television”, as some of you will know, with it having the same motive and purpose as the MOBO awards with that being to embrace black-created music.

However, going back to Stormzy, from there, in April 2016, he released a single called “Scary” and after that, went into a nine-month hiatus, and then just recently, came back in February with a single called “Big For Your Boots” in which placed at number 6 on the UK single charts, and then exactly 3 weeks later, coincidentally on the same day as my birthday as well, dropped his mainstream debut album entitled “Gang, Signs & Prayer” in which went straight to number one on the UK album charts. Now, look at on him as an artist and emcee and how the mainstream public in general feel about him, overall I would say that everybody labels him as being a top or pinnacle artist, even though, during the aspect of when he started transitioning into the main stream spotlight, there were some people seeing him and labelling him as being overrated and you have some people that still say that now. On the other hand, what I want to talk about mainly is him being mainstream. 

Firstly, let me just say that on a comparison stage, when it comes to the terms of position or status, Stormzy is in the same merge as Drake, on the terms of being the biggest selling music artist in the UK, period, just like how Drake is the currently biggest selling artist on the planet right now, period. However, when it comes to artists that breakthrough to the mainstream stage, this is something that doesn’t get brought up for discussion that much, and applying that to Stormzy and his situation, I think he would be the perfect example of somebody to bring up for discussion. The deal is that now that he’s mainstream or seemed and accepted as a mainstream artist along other artists and musicians, more in particular with the ones that are based in the genre of pop music, such as Ed Sheeran and Adele, in which some of you guys would probably already know, with it, will it be the case of where in which he will be able to stay mainstream for long or sustain himself in the mainstream spotlight for a certain period of time, a long time in particular?

Now, if you were to be honest, that’s something that a lot of people didn’t or haven’t thought about it when it comes to him, but to answer the question and put down my personal opinion on it, I personally don’t think he will be. No disrespect to him as an artist or emcee, due to my like and preference for him as others have as well, and if it wasn't the case, he wouldn't be accepted by a mainstream audience as much as he is now, but, on the terms of my honest opinion, I think with him, he will be another, what i would personally call and label, “one-hit wonder” in the mainstream spotlight, with him just having his moment right now, that might or probably will soon die down quick enough, if not very quick, compared to other artists who were mainstream like him before. What makes it seem so different or so significant is that this time, it’s a grime artist staying grime throughout the whole time, meaning that he was grime when he was underground and he’s grime mainstream now, or in other words, he’s bringing grime mainstream. That what makes it seem so significant or seem as if there’s been a massive shift on the terms of acceptance of different genres of music. What makes him different being mainstream compared to guys like Chipmunk, who is from Tottenham in North London like Skepta and JME, Tinie Tempah, who’s from South East London, who is still mainstream, but isn’t in the position he once was before at the start of him being mainstream, Wretch 32 who’s, again,  from Tottenham in North London, like Chipmunk, Skepta and JME, Wiley and Dizzie Rascal, all of who were mainstream at a certain point in time, is that they were doing pop music, because they had too, due to the fact that that was more accepted at the time and that was what they had to do, in order to appeal to a wider mainstream audience. Grime wasn’t accepted at the time due to the perception that a lot of people, again, the white audience in particular. Stormzy, on the other hand is grime 100% and all the way. If it’s the case of where in which he does stay main stream for long and then chooses to go out or go for a break, I can’t think of another grime artist or grime emcee to replace him or take his place, if it’s the case of where in which people are really willing to accept grime in open arms as a mainstream genre of music, mind talking about grime artists that have never gone mainstream, whether it be Kano, Ghetts, who is from Plaistow in East London, Devlin, who is from Dagenham in East London, Giggs, who is from Peckham in South-East London or anybody else.

The only person that I would say it’s capable of replacing Stormzy or following in his footsteps if he left the mainstream limelight is, who I actually think suits it much better than Stormzy and actually has the credible image for it is Yungen, who is from South London, like Stormzy. When you look at Yungen, on the terms of music, even though he has some songs that are hard-core and pure grime, there were at time of where he did pop songs. It’s also the case of where in which he gets Drake comparisons, even though with that, to a degree he doesn't deserve those comparisons when talking on the terms of music, because if you were to be honest and tell the truth, that comparison a lot of times, isn’t based on music, people base it on his looks or his physical appearance, due to the fact that he’s what you would call as being "light-skinned" or light-complexed, and in a similar fashion, Drake who is mixed race or biracial, even though some people confuse him to being "light-skinned" or "light-complexed", with there being a difference between the two terms, so in that case he has a physical resemblance to him. 

Another contributing factor to that is the fact he has a relatively large female fan base, like Drake, and some of the top male pop and R’N’B singers like Chris Brown, Trey Songz and others have, based on the fact that a lot of girls or women find him attractive, in which is something that you would expect to happen and take place in the mainstream spotlight of music. However, the issue with him is that he has never taken the chance to go mainstream, with the reason to that being that he might be comfortable in the position he’s in right now. Although, if it was the case scenario of where he was mainstream, when you look at a single that he did like “Take My Number” featuring Angel, who is a singer from Sheperd’s Bush in West London, as a good example, in which he did a year ago back, if he was mainstream, that could have done very well in the charts, or as a matter of fact, it was a very good single to release as a debut single onto the mainstream radio stations like BBC, Capital FM and Kiss.

 Another act that was and to degree, still is main stream even though some people could argue and say that they aren’t or weren’t at the time, just before Stormzy transitioned into mainstream stardom, is Krept and Konan, who are a duo from South London. Even with them, they were doing pop songs for certain period of time.

However, to conclude, coming back to Stormzy or just the genre of grime in general, if somebody were to ask me what needs to happen or what needs to be done if he or the genre as a whole wants to stay mainstream for a very long time to where it’s become permanent, with me knowing this and not even saying it from the perspective of being a musician, an artist or a celebrity,  the first that I would say in which some could say is the obvious thing to do, is that he and other artists like him, and the deal about this is that, it doesn’t apply to just grime music, it can apply to music period, regardless of what genre it is, need to be careful of the content they put in their music, of in which Stormzy himself said in a recent interview with Channel 4, in which is a TV channel network station here in the U.K, with being that that he “has the ability to inject poison into the world, in which scares me, because as much as I good inject truth and good things as well, I could spread poison and bad things as well, so I’m careful of what I put out there”. It’s also the case of where in which with that, especially in the religious setting, with examples of that being such as Christianity or the church, you’re taught by both your parents that you should be careful to what you listen to or what your watch, more in particular on the terms of the content of it, especially if you’re a youth and teenager or when you are that, and especially when it comes to forms of mainstream entertainment like music and movies, because the content of it might be wrong or bad on the terms of influence, even though you have other people, other than just religious people, that tell you that as well. It’s also something that some people will tell you about TV on the terms how that can be a bad influence you as well, how you shouldn’t watch too much of it and how even on an academic level, it can have a bad influence as well, more so when it comes to your grades and achievements.

On the other hand, avoiding that or going beyond that reason, if you were to add more to that or look at that in deeper context, due to the fact that that capable of happening, for me personally, that would be very hard to answer, based on the fact that I’m not in their shoes, with that meaning that I’m not an artist or a musician, and only a fellow artist and musician like him would be able to answer. However, on the terms of him or the genre as a whole, I personally don’t think it will stay mainstream for long based off of the fact that, if it’s the case of where a catastrophic event happens or a rise and outbreak of something or a growing epidemic of something happens, it might get the blame for it, or it might be seen as being one of the stems of that epidemic or issue or one of the things that influences it.

To give an example of that, going back to the time of where in which grime music wasn’t really accepted in the mainstream atmosphere, in particular by the white audience, due to one of the reasons being that they saw it as being gang-related and at the same time, during the 2000’s decade, there was an issue with gangs or gang-crime culture being a major problem, especially and more in places like London, in which still today has a bit of an epidemic in that, however it’s not as prevalent as it was years ago or years back. So, back then, if it’s the case of where in which grime music was more accepted as a mainstream genre of music, with it embracing gang-crime or gang-culture or as they perceive it to be, in which to a degree, with some grime artists back then they did, and you even had some grime artists back then and some now, who are gang-affiliated and some as a result,  are in jail right now, due to being gang-affiliated , it’s not a smart or sensible thing to do, because it would influence gang-crime or gang-culture and therefore as a result, more gang-crime would happen or gang-culture would grow even more because of it. Another example of similar fashion, is the case of where in which even the U.S, and again, for all the people in the U.S, black people or African-Americans, in particular would know and agree and testify to this as well, with that being that when it comes to the mass incarceration of black people, black men in particular, and black-on-black crime in certain places like Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and other places, a lot of people believe that Rap and Hip-Hop music influences that and inspires that on the terms of having all these rappers talk about guns, violence and killing one another in their music and when you look at it, it does. So in that case, that goes back to the point that they should be careful with the content of their music.

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