STORMZY has been a big name on the UK’s underground grime scene for years, but has gone more mainstream after his debut studio album went straight to No.1 in the charts.
The rapper has gone from strength to strength this year, and often hits the headlines – here’s what we know about the outspoken star…
Rex Features 5 Stormzy with his TV and radio presenter girlfriend Maya Jama
Who is Stormzy? What’s his background?
Born in July 1993, Stormzy grew up in Thornton Heath, South London and went to Harris Academy South Norwood.
It was here, at the academy, where he started rapping at the age of 11.
In an interview with music magazine Clash, he referred to himself as a “proper little s***” during his school days and was “excluded from school every week”.
He left school at 17 and joined an engineering firm, but spent a lot of his time trying to perfect his freestyles on Post-it notes.
At 24-years-old he’s won two MOBO Awards and was named as an artist to look out for in the BBC’s influential Sound of 2015 list.
His first studio album, Gang Signs & Prayer, came out on February 24 and went straight to number one in the UK album charts.
Fame Flynet 5
Stormzy was born as Michael Omari and grew up in Croydon, London
Why is he called ‘Stormzy’?
Born Michael Omari, he chose the performing name of Stormzy simply because it “sounded really cool”.
Speaking to Live Mag UK back in 2014, he revealed: “I think God puts names in my head, like, ‘Wicked Skengman’.
“It just came to my head and I ran with it.”
PA:Press Association 5 Stormzy made his acting debut in Brotherhood
How did Stormzy become famous?
Stormzy first found fame through his YouTube videos, which he has been making since 2011.
But it was his Wicked Skengman freestyles on the channel which garnered wider appeal.
The Londoner had started as a road rap MC which was more stylistically hip hop than grime.
He later became the first unsigned rapper to perform on Later with Jools Holland.
Stormzy made his acting debut in Noel Clarke’s Brotherhood, the final film in the Kidulthood trilogy.
But days after the release of the film one of the actors and a childhood friend of the rapper, Aaron Eaton, died suddenly.
He paid tribute to him at the time, writing: “This one has hit home I can’t lie. You had a kind heart and so many people will be broken by this, rest up my bro.”
Who is Stormzy’s girlfriend Maya Jama?
The rapper is currently dating Maya Jama, who he has previously dedicated a song to on her 22nd birthday.
In 2016 she was named as a Rising Star for 2016 by Hello Magazine and is a TV and radio presenter on 4Music and RinseFM.
She was also the host for Channel 5 star documentary Swipe Right for Sex.
She has made appearances in some of his music videos, including Big For Your Boots, and the pair have been making red carpet appearances together.
Stormzy has even said he’s ready to propose to his other half, who will appear on Loose Women today, Wednesday, September 20.
He told the Sunday Mirror: “I’m still so young but I want to propose, it’s going to happen and I will do it right. She is so sick, she is the best.”
Fame Flynet 5 Stormzy has already written a song about his girlfriend Maya Jama
When did he win a MOBO award and what for?
Stormzy was the first artist to win MOBO‘s ‘Best Grime Act’ award in 2014.
Afterwards, he spoke about the win to Live Mag: “That’s sick man. I think that’s an honour. Because this is a scene I’ve been watching throughout my whole childhood, it’s a scene I’ve grew up on, a scene that’s heavily influenced me. I’m a child of Grime, so for me to go and win the first ever grime category for the MOBOs… that’s just an honour.”
In 2015 he went on to win MOBO’s Best Male Act and Best Grime Act awards.
At the 2017 MOBO Awards he swept the boards with THREE gongs.
What else does Stormzy do?
In September 2017, the Big For Your Boots rapper filed a trademark application registering his name across Europe. An insider said: “Stormzy has become a massive star in the past 18 months so he and his team think this is the perfect step to turn his popularity into a booming business.
“They are considering lots of different options, all reflected in the trademark document they have registered. There is scope for him to design clothing and also beauty products.”
He also released a short film to go alongside current album Gang Signs & Prayers.
What did Stormzy say about the Notting Hill raids?
Stormzy slammed cops for a series of raids ahead of the Notting Hill carnival.
He accused police of targeting “black events” after the force made nearly 300 arrests before the Afro-Caribbean celebration in west London.
Stormzy hit out over a Metropolitan Police tweet which revealed officers had seized a kilo of heroin in Catford, south east London.
The music star wrote: “How many drugs did you lot seize in the run up to Glastonbury or we only doing tweets like this for black events?”
What happened when Stormzy was confused with Romelu Lukaku?
On July 10 2017 an Irish newspaper used a picture of Stormzy instead of Manchester United’s new signing Romelu Lukaku.
The Grime star took to Twitter after The Herald mixed the two men up writing: “I don’t find none of this funny btw.”
Stormzy, 23, who was wearing a branded top from his favourite team Man U in the picture, added: “Don’t wanna sound like the party pooper who missed the joke…”
The Irish paper replied to the performer: “Sincere apologies, we don’t think it’s funny either.”
In an apology on their website Alan Steenson, Herald Editor wrote: “Hands up, we got it badly wrong.
“Earlier, we made an error with a picture of Romelu Lukaku that wasn’t him. It was Stormzy.
“To be honest, we are totally embarrassed and want to say sorry to all involved and our readers for the error. We will keep our eye on the ball in future.”
Did Stormzy send homophobic tweets?
Homophobic tweets posted by Stormzy have been uncovered from 2012.
Whilst watching a BBC show called School for Stars he labelled one of the characters a “f**king f**”.
Also, in another tweet, which dates back just three years, he questioned whether one of his followers was a “f***t”.
He has since tweeted a lengthy apology for his past tweets, and ended it with: “Again, I’m sorry to everyone I’ve offended. To the LGBQT community and my supporters and friends, my deepest apologies 🙏🏿”
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