Heavy or not, even his crown appears unable to hold Croydon rapper Stormzy down, as 2019 has seen his career escalate to stratospheric levels.
Now he gets the seal of establishment approval with the hanging of the image that appears on his upcoming album cover in the National Portrait Gallery.
The cover, a photographic portrait by Matt Mattock, shows the rapper holding the stab proof vest he wore for his iconic Glastonbury performance this summer. The vest also featured in “Gross Domestic Product” , a characteristically thought-provoking Banksy exhibition in Croydon. On his head are the letters h.i.t.h, in the shape of a crown, an acronym of the album’s title, ‘Heavy Is the Head.’
Nicholas Cullinan, director of the National Portrait Gallery, told Eastlondonlines: “We are delighted to exhibit the portrait as a contemporary intervention within our historic galleries, and hope to be able to acquire the work for the gallery’s permanent collection.”
His Glastonbury set, described by one critic as “a major cultural moment and one of the most memorable festival performances this decade”, saw him become the first black British solo headliner of the festival.
It is his unique cultural influence that has earned his image its place in the National Portrait Gallery. Cullinan told Eastlondonlines: “Stormzy has undoubtedly had significant influence on British culture today, both through his music and work with minority groups and young people, and we hope our visitors will enjoy the juxtaposition of this new work with historic paintings of influential figures from the Victorian era, from politicians, royalty and radicals and artists, sporting heroes and singers.”
Single ‘Vossy Bop’, which will feature in the upcoming album went immediately to number one in the UK charts, staying in the top five for the next nine weeks. Single ‘Crown’ went to number four and at the time of publication, ‘Own It’ sits at number three.
This week Stormzy increased the size of his world tour to 55 shows, including 13 in the UK.
His second album, “Heavy Is The Head”, will be available on December 13.