Gang Signs & Prayer

Stormzy - Gang Signs & Prayer
Critic Score
Based on 18 reviews
2017 Ratings: #104 / 852
User Score
Based on 288 ratings
2017 Ratings: #528
Liked by 3 people
February 24, 2017 / Release Date
LP / Format
#Merky / Label
Grime, Hip Hop / Genres
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The south London grime don delivers a knockout debut that’s brash and pensive in equal measure.

If Skepta’s ‘Konnichiwa’ was grime’s breakthrough, ‘Gang Signs & Prayer’ is its blockbuster – an all-encompassing ride through human experience that’ll stand tall for decades.
The Line of Best Fit

As an independent artist he’s created a something that feels deliberately empowering and doesn’t revel in novelty. But then Omari’s not just one of the best lyricists in the UK right now, he’s also someone who packs his bars tightly with logic, values and humour.

The Guardian

It’s not a perfect debut – it’s slightly too long for one thing, and there are a couple of points where it sags – but it sounds like an album teeming with original, daring ideas.

Loud and Quiet

This is an emphatic debut from a rapper that could take Grime to commercial heights it’s rarely seen ... Grime is growing up, and Stormzy is gracefully towering above the rest.


Gang Signs & Prayer does a brilliant job of introducing the world to the full scope of his talent, dismissing any notion of him being a one-trick pony. This is the work of a man who is comfortable pushing his craft to the limits and blurring the boundaries. It’s not perfect – it’s too disjointed for that bold tag – but the ambition is extraordinary.

Crack Magazine

Nothing feels contrived or forced — the grittier tracks bang as they should and the insular, reflective moments are offered up with genuine emotional weight. Take it or leave it, the release of GSAP is a monumental moment for UK music. Now let’s see where Stormzy, and grime, go from here.

No Ripcord
Stormzy makes every minute of this album count. By giving a voice to both the street and religious sides of his life he is able to produce a well-rounded, exciting project.

Both sides of Gang Signs & Prayer come to a head on pointed closer "Lay Me Bare," in which he writes about depression and his absentee father. Far from a weakness, that vulnerability brings welcome depth to Stormzy's explosive and emotional debut.

God Is in the TV
It can seem a sprawl – but one worth exploring.
It cannot be understated how bold it is to go against the grain in a genre where adherence to style can equal respect, but Stormzy's ambition exceeds potential judgment from purists. He's more concerned with expressing himself and adapting to survive, so that he can express further for years to come.
The Telegraph

His peculiar mix of antagonism and soul-searching may not be enough to convert non-believers, but this bold, ambitious debut suggests that grime has found its most accomplished ambassador yet.


Both hard and soft, belligerent yet spiritual, Gang Signs & Prayer reveals a vulnerability belied by his 6-foot 5-inch frame and menacing glare.

The 405

Gang Signs & Prayer is as insightful as it is extravagant, gracious as it is haughty, and divine as it is gritty, which is both a blessing and a curse depending on whether or not you were looking for more gang signs than prayer.


So while it’s not perfect, Gang Signs & Prayer is still a fairly absorbing consolidation of Stormzy’s position within the higher reaches of today’s grime movement.


Occasionally it feels like it veers too suddenly from braggadocio to piety, and it’s questionable whether Stormzy has a sufficiently versatile delivery (he’s no Durrty Goodz) to support this. But by casting his net so wide, the MC is unlikely to disappoint his diverse audience.


Gang Signs & Prayer shows the grime star at his finest, delivering hard-hitting disses and more importantly a lesser seen, sensitive Stormzy.

The Independent

Stormzy is clearly on the verge of becoming the next grime crossover success.

If there was a word to describe this album, it would be "inconsistent." Do I mean the quality was inconsistent? Well, yes, but no. I think while the quality ranges from exciting highs, like on Cold and Mr Skeng to lackluster lows, especially on Velvet and Cigarettes & Cush (plus some others), what I really mean is the sentiment throughout this project. This album lacks coherency jumping from hard grime to gospel to pop crossover. It all feels thrown together, rather then an effort ... read more
A lack of direction plagues Stormzy on his latest album, but on the directions that he does follow, he has some solidly enjoyable performances. His attempt to include gospel/soul influences were both interesting and a bore. Tracks like Blinded By Your Grace pt. 1 are absolutely stunning and do a substantial job at bringing deeper meaning to hip hop (all of the gospel areas of this project also do a much better job at gospel-rap fusion than Kanye West did with TLOP last year). But then there ... read more
I can't say I really cared for this album as much as I was hoping to, I think Stormzy's a very skilled MC and he definitely comes through with a good handful of highlights here, but I think he sings way too often on this thing, and imo his singing voice is in no way compelling at all. Tracks like Blinded By Your Grace Pt. 1/2 (especially part 1), Velvet, Cigarettes & Cush & Lay Me Bare just had me rolling my eyes. When he really sounds confident on a track, he can come through with some ... read more
NME 100 review out of 100 come on seriously they just trying to sell there magazine to young grime and hiphop fans.

There is some good grime music out there but Stormzy is not making any of it.

decent. a good handful of tracks are great (blinded by your grace, big for your boots etc.) others are meh.

as a whole the record is pretty inconsistent but still enjoyable
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Track List

  1. First Things First
  2. Cold
  3. Bad Boys (feat. Ghetts & J Hus)
  4. Blinded By Your Grace, Pt. 1
  5. Big For Your Boots
  6. Velvet / Jenny Francis (Interlude)
  7. Mr Skeng
  8. Cigarettes & Cush (feat. Kehlani)
  9. 21 Gun Salute (feat. Wretch 32) [Interlude]
  10. Blinded By Your Grace, Pt. 2 (feat. MNEK)
  11. Return of the Rucksack
  12. 100 Bags
  13. Don't Cry for Me (feat. Raleigh Ritchie)
  14. Crazy Titch (Interlude)
  15. Shut Up
  16. Lay Me Bare
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Added on: February 2, 2017