Stormzy celebrates his new creative freedom on "This Is What I Mean"

One of the most powerful and shocking moments on Stormzy's new album This Is What I Mean involves his rise from independent South London rapper to Def Jam signing and Glastonbury headliner. Looking back on his journey to this point sees the artist using his platform to nurture other artists he admires, wittyly bragging about his success to date, and tapping into what drove his creations in the first place. “Stormz got that sauce, that meat sauce,” he declares on the album’s title track.

In Stormzy's eyes, he's an artist who can progress creatively and reach impressive new heights without forgetting where he came from: "I'm Harry Styles, like I walk a thin line. We're going Mainstream.” Styles, a former member of the X Factor boyband One Direction, is another artist who has struck a fine balance between chart appeal and creative exploration.

Along the way, Stormzy also nodded to his critics and declared himself "a cross between Kanye and Donny Hathaway." He later added: "This is not the guy who said he had a heavy head," referring to the title of his 2019 album Heavy is the Head . The album offers diverse content, sampling Tracy Becker ("Superheroes"), featuring a guest appearance from Ed Sheeran, and understanding the pressures of fame.

"It was like a sonic explosion. This song happened in so many ways. It really started with a great producer named Knox Brown, and P2J's chord progression. We had this idea for a song that I wanted to use All my favorite artists, it’s like how a painter uses different brushes and different colors,” Stormzy told iD, discussing the title track of his new album, “This Is What I Mean,” in cryptic fashion. Producer Rick Rubin. "I didn't want them to just write poetry, I wanted to paint with their voices. So P2J sampled Jacob Collier's voice and turned it into something weird, and we used that as the song and The basis of the sample - it became more and more epic, it was one of those ideas that, like the first song, evolved over time."

“It’s about trying to do something that feels good and right, something that resonates with my soul and spirit. It’s like painting: if it feels right, we put some red on the canvas; if it feels right, we Just paint some red. If we want to cover it with blue, we do that."

Meanwhile, a star-studded video for the song was filmed on the night of Stormzy's album launch, featuring Canadian artist Storry, acclaimed song co-writer Jacob Collier and guest artists Ms Banks, Amaarae and Black Sherif.

Below, check out the full lyrics to "That's What I Mean."

[Verse 1: Stormzy]

This is a bigger surgery

What's up with all the speculation?

The store had to be closed for renovations

My little guys say "Stormz," man, they're losing their patience, you know.

It's time to make a statement

It's time to free my mind from limitations

Skillfully handled professionally, this is my form of compensation

They said: "You can't slip, you are a national treasure"

But what will they do and what will they say?

Stormz has that sauce, this meat sauce

Talk about bread like it's related

I see the troubled expression on your face

Even though we come from a common place

All I see are stars, like we're in a ghost

So give him space to grow, give him space

he could be young black man jimmy napes

[Interlude: Tempest]

Oh, this is clean, this is clean

that's what i mean

I said, that's what I mean, yo

[Verse 2: Stormzy]

All my brothers got it and we all agreed

Cut from different fabrics and different calibers

My bones match my manager's

She loves me because I'm handsome and talented

hang on railing

Tell me, who will pay for all the losses?

Ah, I'm just reckless, like a man

Let's be honest, we have to ask you where are your manners?

I've been saying this since I was a kid, you should listen

I manifested this thing and it happened.

Said I would do it and then it happened

(P2J keeps up the rhythm and slaps)

I call my brother Giggs, it's not just rap

Call my sister Mel, we make fashion

Ah, all this work I do

Put your kid in a position where I can profit from my passion, okay?

They don't know how much I bleed

Ignore what the timeline says, I will do your daily live broadcast

For a moment, yes, I shine like Ed

I thank God for this life and then clean up the ghost

I hear them say dirt isn't dead yet

I'm Harry Styles, and with my delicate steps, we're heading mainstream

Mind your own business first, then my bread

If ten million is not enough, I swear for the rest of my life


that's what i mean

that's what i mean

that's what i mean

that's what i mean

that's what i mean

that's what i mean

that's what i mean

that's what i mean

[Section 3: Stormzy and Ms. Banks]

Well, I can't solve your problems online, it's disrespectful

They don't want to give me respect, it's disrespectful

A nigga who does numbers, what the hell do you expect?

Every time I miss a flight they charge a fifty dollar fee, ah

I think I overslept

If she silences me, then I might buy her a Patek Philippe

Men stop me because they know how I got

Please don't hold my money, man, just wire me the check

[Bridge: Amaarae & Stormzy ]

A nigga comes out of the mud and kisses a slut on the beach

White bitch rolls in the deep

Dive into the sea from a yacht

crap i still have blikky

B*tch I'm done with that.

You know I'm already preparing

Insert centerpiece

But she might have made that helicopter sing

B*tch I don’t do that anymore (Issa disrespected)

You know I already have feelings (Issa disrespects)

They don't want to give me respect and disrespect

Y'all gone and gotta pay all the body fucking checks

[Verse 4: Storm]

I don't do things the rapper way

Any hat on the Internet, I will let the man blow it away

So we asked them to get out of the way.

I guess I'm a mix of Kanye and Donny Hathaway

I heard Sunday is the new Saturday

We praise God and I watch my enemies disappear

Hallelujah, honestly, I can plan and do it for you

But I have to rise above it, to Dan Kaluuya

No chance, buffalo standing on my Neneh Cherry

They want to see the Michael they see on TV

You man just reminds me of my girl, why aren't you ready yet?

I'm the goat but that's nothing I haven't said yet

Oh please, all my enemies dead and buried

I need Haagen-Dazs, I need Ben & Jerry's

If we do it, we'll do it big, I love Kevin Perry

This is not the guy who said his head was heavy

[Chorus: Black Sheriff]

( that's what I mean )

Because you see, if no one listens to you, Breda smokes, they don't deserve you

( that's what I mean )

Can't let them say your name, they say you do this or that, we are tired

( that's what I mean )

Talk is cheap, I don't do naked talk, diss jiggas are quiet, bredda dey don't tell you

( that's what I mean )

Because you see, if no one listens to you, Breda smokes, they don't deserve you

( that's what I mean )

That's what I mean, that's what I mean, that's what I mean, o

( that's what I mean )

Oh, I mean, oh, that's what I mean, oh, that's what I mean, oh

( that's what I mean )

That's what I mean, that's what I mean, that's what I mean, o

( that's what I mean )

That's what I mean, o, that's what I mean, o