After a last-minute surge to the top of the charts, Stormzy nabs the No.1 spot on the UK Official Albums Chart. The UK rapper has now delivered three No.1 albums in a row with the release of his new project, This Is What I Mean.
Stormzy is now the first British rapper ever to have 3 No.1 albums in the UK. The race to No.1 was a close one to clinch, as Stormzy was initially behind Sir Cliff Richard and his latest project, Christmas with Cliff. Sir Cliff had initially closed the gap earlier in the week, but at the last minute, Stormzy fans rushed to listen to his new project, boosting him to the top of the charts.
At only 29, this is the third No.1 album in Stormzy’s discography, with the first being his 2017 debut studio album, Prayer, and his second being his critically acclaimed LP from 2019, Heavy is the Head. Stormzy’s latest project features a classical twist on UK’s drill scene. The new album indulges the more emotional side of Stormzy’s lyrics, as he pours his heart over thick, sliding basslines that underlie orchestral-sounding beats.
As Martin Talbot, the Official Charts Company’s chief executive, puts it: “Everyone loves a tight No. 1 race, and this week’s battle between Sir Cliff Richard and Stormzy has been an absolute classic, pitching two of our musical icons head-to-head.”
The climb to No.1 for Stormzy represents a win for the UK underground and the country’s younger generation. Evoking imagery of the country’s impoverished and underrepresented, Stormzy’s This Is What I Mean furthers the success of his critucally-acclaimed sound.
Along with earning the No.1 spot, the album has also garnered critical success, with Pitchfork writing: “The UK rapper’s third album is pitched as both a pious expression of worship and an earnest message of self-affirmation—but with plenty of opportunities for flexing along the way.”
Stormzy views the album as a mixture of hip-hop, soul, gospel, and countless other genres, fusing together to paint the most personal image of his past possible.