The Beatles vs The Rolling Stones, Tupac vs Biggie, and in this case, Stormzy vs Skepta. They're both lords of the grime scene - and of course, it's totally cool to love both artists for their own merits - but who will come out on top? We're having them battle it out category by category.
Biggest Song - Skepta
Stormzy has Shut Up, Skepta has Shutdown. Both are the rappers at their best, and both are aggressive, in your face and energetic. However, we’ve gotta give this one to Skepta. Shutdown helped put grime back on the map for many people, yours included, and had an impact that helped pave the way for ‘newer’ rappers like Stormzy to come through and make a name for themselves. That’s not to say that Shut Up didn’t have an impact, as for many, it represented a new wave of grime rappers coming through. But sometimes, you have to pay respects to the OGs.
Best Album – Draw
We can’t split this one. While Stormzy has only released the one album, Gang Signs & Prayer, it more than matches up to Skepta’s best album, 2016’s Konnichiwa. Both were landmark moments for the respective rappers. Stormzy’s proved that he was a force to be reckoned with, as he transitioned from soulful singing, to bars that would make your grandma cower from their sheer force.
Skepta, on the other hand, was more traditional grime with dirty beats and the MC flexing. That’s not to say he stuck to grime the whole time, however, with a love song in the form of Ladies Hit Squad. To call this one way or another would be way too hard, so we're calling this one a draw.
Best Lyrics – Stormzy
We've always been a fan of Stormzy’s lyrics. Whether it’s switching between taking shots at other rappers, to talking about issues from the heart, it’s always felt like he has a tiny bit more nuance than Skepta does. There’s more Stormzy lyrics stuck in our heads, that’s for sure.
Music Videos – Stormzy
Stormzy has some of the best music videos, period. One of the most iconic is the one below, where he’s dancing with his mum. Stormzy is a huge fan of his mum, and so are we. Love you Mum. While Skepta does have some great music videos, especially for Shutdown, which just looks like a hell of a fun time, how can you go past this?
Freestyles – Skepta
Skepta has some of the best grime freestyles of all time. Sorry Stormzy, but sometimes, experience does it best. Check out this example below of Skepta, and his brother, JME, tearing it up. We're surprised the building didn’t burn down while they were in there, due to the PURE FLAMES.
Nicknames – Stormzy
This one’s a bit unfair. Stormzy has a few nicknames, mostly self-prescribed. Stiff Chocolate, The Problem, Wicked Skengman and Big Mike. Skepta doesn’t really have any, though he is referred to as Skeppy by some, and Junior by his family. We think it’s high time someone gave him a proper nickname.
Performing in Australia - Draw
Stormzy pulled out of Listen Out 2016, and Skepta is set to play it this year. However, Stormzy has played in Australia twice since then, and Skepta hasn’t been here for a couple of years, so we think this one is a draw. Someone should bring them on a tour together. We'd be there with bells on.
Stormzy, just. While Skepta has had the longer career, Stormzy has arguably made the bigger impact. His ability to cross through other genres (his collaboration with Ed freaking Sheeran, for example) gives him the win here. He’s also got a killer singing voice, demonstrated best on Blinded By Your Grace Pt 2, and a massive heart, recently launching the Stormzy Scholarshop for two black students to study at Cambridge University.