Stormzy made his name freestyling over instrumentals with his Wicked Skengman series so it makes sense that he’s returned to this furtive ground in recent months. First he was telling haters to ‘Shut Up’ over XTC’s ‘Functions On The Low’ and here he is again laying enemies to waste in confident style. Going in over The Game and Drake’s collaborative single ‘100’, Stormzy talks about his mad year while the US rapper’s soulful sample of Peabo Bryson’s 1978 slow jam ‘Feel The Fire’ chirps in the background.
“They’re tryna’ run the race, I got ’em overlapped,” he says of his peers. “They’re tryna’ walk my path, I make the road collapse.” This is Stormzy establishing himself as the top of the class, an MC who is raising a bar he previously considered “so low”. Later on he goes on to accuse your favourite rapper of being more interested in women and cocaine than making new music. Stormzy, meanwhile, has put “pussy on pause” while busy recording. He teases a new mixtape that will see him settle scores and prove he can attack others.
Stormzy is at his best with back against the wall and something to fight against. That’s the exact position he finds himself in here, defending his move toward rapping and success, and the big lines flow out of him with ease (“Call me Mike the king or call me Mike the gaffer, Might kill the fucking game and go to Ayia Napa”). ’10 Minutes’ establishes Stormzy as a lone ranger, bigger than life and above the scene that birthed him. Now he needs to take that messiah status and turn it into something real. On this form, you leave confident that special moment is in the pipeline.