The two goliaths of grime go head-to-head – not to win an award for ground-breaking music or to place on the album charts, but something far more influential: our very own Face Off. They’re privileged, we’re sure. So will Mercury Prize-winner Skepta prove his Greatness? Will ground-breaking newcomer Stormzy have to Shut Up? Let’s see…
Over the years Skepta has claimed five solid awards to his name, as well as a host of nominations. Best British Male at the NME Awards in 2017 was his most recent, but given how well his latest record’s been doing, it’ll be surprising if he doesn’t nab a few more in 2019.
It goes without saying that 2017 was Stormzy’s year and he cleaned up on the awards front, winning a grand total of six awards at the MOBOs that year. He did the same at the Brits, with Best British Male Solo Artist and British Album of the Year in 2018. If that’s just one album, expect a lot more next time.
THE ALBUM SALES
He might not have had an album as loved by mainstream listeners as Gang Signs & Prayer, but Skepta’s last two albums, Konnichiwa and the recent Ignorance is Bliss both hit No. 2 in the UK Charts, to near-universal critical acclaim. The first hit 100k sales and the second is still being counted. Throw in Skepta’s earlier works and he’s a long way ahead here.
At launch Stormzy’s debut album hit 69,000 sales, making it the first grime record to hit number one in the British charts. On the singles side, Vossi Bop back in May entered at No. 1 with 12.7 million listens and sales only eclipsed by Arianna Grande. That’s impressive.
Despite the Rolex Sweep being a thing (an awful, awful thing), Skepta doesn’t seem to really go in for the wrist candy like other rappers, preferring to keep his wrists free. Sure he wears the occasional splash of gold, but not often enough to really count.
Forget the hip-hop standbys of Rolex and Hublot, Stormzy prefers the finer things in life… like an all-black Patek Philippe Aquanaut, one of the most sought-after pieces on the market. It’s a damn sight better than a Casio.
Skepta’s without a doubt one of the most stylish guys in British music. Don’t believe us? He’s a regular on GQ’s best-dressed men, hitting No.10 this year and No. 6 last year. His mix of haute couture and streetwear is part intimidating, part chic and all awesome.
He definitely doesn’t have the same sartorial swagger as Skepta, but Stormzy at least dresses comfortably. His propensity for Adidas Originals tracksuits (he even collaborated with them) and simple, pared-back outfits make for great everyday outfits, even if they’re not showstoppers.
Rapper, songwriter and producer: Skepta’s a force of nature in the grime world. Still, despite having a fair few top-ten hits, he’s never seemed to break the mainstream, meaning his measly $2m in the bank isn’t all that surprising. You know what they say: grime doesn’t pay.
The 25-year-old rapper helped bring grime to the mainstream back in 2017 with the seminal Gang Signs & Prayer, so you can expect he got a decent payday from his chart-topping album. With a net-worth of £16m, at least he’s shown that the niche can pay, and pay damn well.
Stormzy may be the new kid on the block (i.e. Croydon) but Skepta’s been in the game for a long time. The former may have broken into the mainstream, but it arguably wouldn’t have been possible without Skepta in the first place. That and Skepta’s immaculate dress sense make him the winner… at least until Stormzy’s second album drops.