From YouTube freestyles to headlining Glastonbury, Stormzy has had a massive few years. We rundown 10 of his underrated tracks, taking a dive into the archives of Big Mike's back catalogue.
Stormzy AKA Big Mike AKA The Problem AKA Stiff Chocolate has come a long way since a set of YouTube tracks that led to the artist gaining notoriety on a world stage. Dropped all the way back in 2013, it was his Wicked Skengman series of freestyles that got people talking, before his debut EP, ‘Dreamers Disease’ was released independently the following year.
Nearly a decade later, Stormzy’s empire has expanded far beyond his musical output. Alongside racking up awards and number 1 singles, with some massive collaborators, he’s set up a scholarship fund for Black students going to Cambridge University, launched the #MerkyBooks publishing imprint, and made some powerful political statements on the way.
We took a dive into Stormzy’s archive to find 10 of his underrated tracks, for when “Vossi Bop” just isn’t enough. Dive in!
“Freestyle (on Free Spirit Instrumental)”
The track that started it all, and a big blast of nostalgia, Stormzy won the Street Starz TV 'Unsigned Stars' competition in 2011 and followed it up with this freestyle to start all freestyles.
Another treat from a fresh-faced 2011 Stormz' after his Unsigned Stars win (check the necklace), according to Mike the "industry been sleeping on my name". How very right he was.
“WICKEDSKENGMAN [PART 1]”
The first of the WICKEDSKENGMAN freestyles across 2013 and 2014, the 800 thousand views mean it might not be unknown - but it's definitely underrated.
“4pm in London”
You know you've hit gold when an official version of a track is impossible to find across any streaming platform. Released after his debut album, Stormzy continues a well-documented love for Drake (see his "Hold On, We're Going Home" live-lounge) with a flip of the artist's “4PM In Calabasas".
“WICKEDSKENGMAN [PART 4]”
With a massive 10 million streams, you'd be even-harder pressed to argue for the unknown nature of this track - but no Stormzy list would be complete without it. Most iconic line has to be "You’re like 9 - what? You ca - what? You don’t even know the time. You - ca- ju - what? You just think you’re- Bruv, listen you’re like 9. You’re not even 10 yet. You can’t even bench press".
“NOT THAT DEEP”
Appearing as the first unsigned rapper to perform on Jools Holland, it was a rendition of "Not That Deep" that arguably broke Stormzy into the mainstream.
“KNOW ME FROM”
An ode to his grime beginnings, "Know Me From" samples everything from Dizzee Rascal's "I Love U" to ZDot's "Ninja" and the video is another golden slice of nostalgia. The real star? Stormzy's mum.
Before Wiley found controversies of his own, it was beef with Stormzy that sparked a set of diss tracks, over Stormzy's collab with Ed Sheeran no less. Take from that what you will.
“TAKE ONE FREESTYLE”
Another oldie, Stormzy took on Ghetts' "One Take Freestyle" in 2017 and the result was this track.
“Velvet/Jenny Francis (Interlude)”
One from the artist's debut studio album, we feel the interlude nature of this track is what leaves it underrated. It's radio DJ Jenny Francis who lends her words to the spoken bridge, and the track is a special one.