Stormzy has sparked a rapturous response online with the surprise release of a new 11-minute music video featuring a plethora of cameos including Usain Bolt, Jose Mourinho and Louis Theroux.
Mel Made Me Do It is the rapper’s first solo effort in nearly three years and its sharp, twisting rhymes put his songwriting prowess and delivery on full show.
Including no chorus or hook, the surprise release on Thursday night triggered an instant outpouring of acclaim online and racked up more than half a million views on YouTube within hours.
Much of the initial excitement on social media focused on the appearance of Mourinho – and reference to the popular meme of the football manager’s “if I speak I am in big trouble” comment.
But there was also widespread praise for cameos from an array of pioneers of Black British culture, including Gabrielle, Ian Wright, Jazzie B, Malorie Blackman, Trevor Nelson, Dave, JME and a tribute to late SBTV founder Jamal Edwards.
Stormzy opens the track with him in a theatre, saying: “I’ve been the goat for so long I guess it’s not exciting when I win.
“So of course, they don’t like me, I’m the king”.
The first verse also includes a possible reference to fellow rapper Chip who has released a series of so-called diss tracks aimed at Stormzy.
Stormzy doesn’t namecheck him, simply rhyming: “Aight, tell me why oh why would I reply to him?
“I leave him hanging like Kyrie on the rim, hm”.
Despite not being mentioned by name, Chip posted a tweet seemingly in response, asking: “Why am I trending.”
The video goes on to feature Olympic 100m sprinter Bolt watching a talkshow on TV in which Jonathan Ross and Zeze Millz interview Stormzy alongside Theroux and runner Dina Asher-Smith.
As he sits on the sofa saying “We don’t tell lies”, Louis Theroux – himself the subject of rap-related meme – chimes in and they both add the next line: “I think the kids call it no cappin'”.
Later, the video features a shot of Stormzy standing with Mourinho – both holding fingers to their lips – and samples a famous clip of the former Chelsea manager in which he says: “I prefer really not speak, If I speak I am in big trouble.”
Another line features a homage to another member of hip-hop royalty, Lauryn Hill.
“Word to Lauryn, I will die on this Hill,” says Stormzy, over a sample of the legendary artist saying “heebie jeebies” from the 1996 Fugees classic Ready Or Not.
The reception on social media was almost universal in its praise, with many suggesting the artist had chosen to showcase his ability as a rapper after his huge popularity in recent years drew accusations this had been overshadowed by his status as a pop star.
Reacting to the video, writer and poet Musa Okwonga said: “Stormzy’s new track is incredible. He has never rhymed this well. Outstanding use of patterns and flows, and that video is an immediate classic. My goodness.”
Popular YouTuber Jon Denton said: “Is that Usain Bolt? Jonathan Ross and Zeze Millz? Oh my god, Stormzy has gone clear. He’s gone clear.”