Nominated for the 2017 Brit Awards Best Breakthrough Artist, Stormzy has built a following off of his enigmatic personality and tireless showcasing of England’s grime scene. Prepping for the the release of Gang Signs and Prayer, set to drop in one week, Stormzy recently teased the album with single “Big For Your Boots,” a deafening calling card reminiscent of the songs that previously made the 23-year-old popular. Opening the BBC Radio 1 show today, however, Stormzy brought an “Ultralight Beam” cover different from anything we’ve heard from the rapper yet.
Stormzy slows his pace down from his usual breakneck speeds. Opening the cover by telling listeners “this is a glorious occasion,” he clearly relishes the chance to add his touch to what he admits is one of his “favorite songs.” Accompanied by piano, guitar, drums, a chorus, and other light instrumentation, Stormzy strips his deliveries down to a much more simple, lucid tone. This is, perhaps, one of the most candid performances we have yet seen from Stormzy. Rapping with an emotional timbre piqued by his unique cadences, Stormzy delivers one of his most interesting performances yet.
Stormzy would follow his performance of Kanye’s track with a live rendition of “Big For Your Boots,” but it is “Ultralight Beam” that stands out from the night. Stream both videos below, and pre-order Gang Signs and Prayer on iTunes here.