British rap icon Stormzy has confirmed details of his highly anticipated third album, This Is What I Mean, set for release globally on November 25, 2022 via 0207 Def Jam/Interscope Records.
Returning to social media after a near three-year hiatus, Stormzy also unveiled the album’s poignant artwork; a letter, placed on a doorstep, emblazoned with the words ‘This Is What I Mean.’ The artwork also reveals the album’s tracklist.
With the release of his third album, Stormzy stands not only as one of Britain’s most accomplished rappers, but one of its most accomplished musicians of any genre and a cultural icon. With his new record, he’s delivered an undeniable modern classic, effortlessly condensing a number of disparate styles and genres into music which thrillingly broaches any gap between soul, hip-hop, and more.
A bold, brave, and courageous leap forward from his critically acclaimed previous two No.1 records, Gang Signs & Prayer and Heavy Is The Head, this isn’t music simply for the pop charts but rather an intimate love letter to music. It’s an album that showcases intensely personal and lyrical themes which lay bare the vulnerabilities, regret, frailties, healing, joy, and triumph.
The confidence which drove the album stemmed from a deeper and far more spiritual place than we have seen from Stormzy previously. For all the success and awards that he has accrued during his brief, meteoric career, the lockdown that ensued from the coronavirus pandemic gave him one commodity he’d long lacked: time. And thanks to his sense of accomplishment following Glastonbury he was, for the first time, in a position to make the most of it.
Much of the creative energy that shaped the album emerged from a Stormzy music camp in Osea Island–a remote island in the Essex estuary that’s only accessible via a Roman Causeway for four hours a day at low tide. Surrounded by leading producers and musicians (who will all be unveiled in due course), each and every morning they would eat and pray together and then spend the rest of the time driven to creative heights by each other’s talents. “When you hear about music camps they always sound intense and sombre,” says Stormzy.
“‘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.”