Michael Ebenazer Kwadjo Omari Owuo Jr. , known professionally as Stormzy, is a British rapper, singer and songwriter. In 2014, he garnered attention on the UK underground music scene through his Wicked Skengman series of freestyles over classic grime beats.
Stormzy's "Shut Up", which was initially released as a freestyle on YouTube, went viral and peaked number eight on the UK Singles Chart after Stormzy launched a campaign to reach Christmas number one. 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. His debut album, Gang Signs & Prayer , was the first grime album to reach number one on the UK Albums Chart and won British Album of the Year at the 2018 Brit Awards. In 2019, Stormzy achieved his first number-one single with "Vossi Bop" and his headline appearance at the 2019 Glastonbury Festival was widely praised; he wore a Union Jack stab vest designed by Banksy, which was widely perceived as a message on the rise in knife crime in London.
Also known for his comments on UK politics, Stormzy endorsed Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn in 2016. On 21 February 2018, he performed a freestyle at the 2018 Brit Awards, calling out Theresa May for her perceived inaction in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire the previous year. Stormzy encouraged the audience at the 2019 Glastonbury Festival to join him in chanting "Fuck the Government and fuck Boris"—the latter a reference to former London Mayor Boris Johnson's Conservative Party leadership campaign.
Michael Ebenazer Kwadjo Omari Owuo Jr. was born on 26 July 1993 in Croydon, London. His mother is Ghanaian, and he is a cousin of rapper Nadia Rose. He grew up in South Norwood, London, with his mother, brother, and two sisters. Stormzy did not come from a particularly musical household, though he liked music. He attended Harris Academy South Norwood. He began rapping at the age of 11 and would clash with older rappers at his local youth club.
Stormzy has said about his school years: "I was a very naughty child, on the verge of getting expelled, but I wasn't a bad child; everything I did was for my own entertainment. But when I went into an exam I did really well." He said he got six A*s, three As, and five Bs on his GCSEs, but then only achieved a "humbling" ABCDE on his A Levels: "For someone who would cuss in class and was on the verge of being expelled, it was A Levels that showed me that in life you need work ethic." He studied for an apprenticeship in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, and worked in quality assurance for two years at an oil refinery in Southampton, Hampshire.
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