It used to be said, only U.S. hip-hop travels. That’s not entirely accurate. Take Stormzy for one example. The British grime star is a phenomenon in his homeland, with three No. 1 singles to his name: “Own It,” his collab with Ed Sheeran and Burna Boy; “Take Me Back to London,” also with Sheeran; and “Vossi Bop.”
Born Michael Owuo in Croydon, south of London, Stormzy’s debut album Gang Signs & Prayer became the first grime No. 1 album on release in March 2017. He made history once more in 2019 when he headlined Glastonbury Festival, becoming the first British rapper and first black solo homegrown artist to do so. His follow-up album Heavy Is The Head also went in at No. 1 on the national chart.
Right now, he’s on top of both U.K. charts.
And travel he does. Stormzy’s two albums both peaked at No. 11 on the Australian chart, and he’s nabbed top 40 positions on charts around Europe, including the Netherlands, Denmark and Ireland.
On Monday night, Stormzy made his U.S. TV debut on The Tonight Show, with a performance of “Crown” from his latest LP. The U.S. journey is just beginning. Watch him travel.