Up until a couple of weeks ago, it had been a little while since we heard any new music from Stormzy. Then he seized the timeline with the stunning 10-minute visual for “Mel Made Me Do It”, a celebration of Black British culture and a lot of the key players from recent history. Naturally, we all wondered if this meant a new album was on the way and then, earlier this week, that was confirmed when Stormzy announced a new album was on the way, titled This Is What I Mean.
Alongside the title and artwork, Big Mikey also revived his Twitter and Instagram accounts to release the album’s tracklist, which noticeably did not include “Mel Made Me Do It”. However, we now have the first track that will be appearing on the album—“Hide & Seek”—and already it’s stirring up conversation because of how different it is from past uptempo tracks that have signalled new albums, namely “Big For Your Boots” and “Vossi Bop”.
Produced by PRGRSHN, P2J and Owen Cutts, “Hide & Seek” is one of Stormzy’s slower, more inward-facing songs, carried by a gently swaying Afro-R&B instrumental with some guest vocals from Oxlade along with vocalists Ayanna and Teni. It also comes with a suitably crisp and glossy new video from director Meji Alabi, who casts Stormzy as the romantic lead in a blossoming relationship with Top Boy star Saffron Locking.
Stormzy has never been one to shy away from vulnerability—it’s what made both his first two albums such compelling and well-rounded collections—but it does seem as if he’s in a different headspace lately. Only time will tell if this is indicative of the rest of This Is What I Mean.
Until we get more info on the album, which is due to land November 25 on 0207 Def Jam, hit play on “Hide & Seek” below and be sure to add it to your playlists.