Stormzy Releases 'Gang Signs & Prayer: The Film'
Stormzy has illustrated his 2017 debut album Gang Signs & Prayer with a 15-minute film, which arrived to YouTube on Tuesday (Sept. 26). The English grime rapper, whose real name is Michael Owuo Jr., tapped Rollo Jackson to direct the film. The film begins with Stormzy's mother speaking over church organs, as she does in the intro of "100 Bags."
Her voice is abruptly replaced with hard beats and shaky video of a young man named Thomas sprinting on a rooftop. Through a Stormzy voiceover, we're told of a battle of two demons inside of him, and the table of the video is set.
According to BBC, the video is modeled after Stormzy's own upbringing in south London. He told the British outlet that the film reveals the "two demons" he faced growing up and the "inner battle" of many black youths. The video follows Thomas through his childhood, preteen and teenage years portrayed by three separate actors -- similarly to how Grammy-award winning film Moonlight was carried out.
Throughout the film, we hear "Return of the Rucksack," "Bad Boys" and "Mr. Skeng" as Thomas becomes more and more enthralled by life on the streets, before we return at the end of the video back to "100 Bags" as it relates to present-day ( "Your son did good, Mum/Swear down, man, your son did good, Mum/Know I used to run around with a budge, Mum/But promise I was doing what I could, Mum/Now I made a little change, now we're good, Mum ...")
"Young youths like myself who grow up in the hood," Stormzy says toward the end of the video, "we often don't know that we are actually the masters of our destiny. There are so many things that steer us in the wrong direction, however we decide what happens in our own lives."
Watch the full 15-minute short film below.