My older son listens to Grime, but he is 16. It is not something I could ever get into: a (nearly) 52 year old reverend getting ‘down wid da kidz’ would be, I fear, the height of incongruity, although I appreciate the dexterity and skill of some of the artists he has played to me.
It was through him that I first heard of Stormzy: ‘Shut Up’ is catchy, but not my style. However, later I heard ‘Blinded by your Grace’; it didn’t sound very ‘Grime’, so- curious-I listened to it, listened to it again and listened to it once more.
I searched for blogs about it, as I was taken in by the joy and the theology therein. I couldn’t find one, apart from one very evangelical one that sounded as if the reviewer was sucking a lemon as he wrote about Stormzy’s life not being compatible with Faith & as he damned him with stern gatekeeping.
Yes: from what I’ve seen and heard, there are inconsistencies in his lifestyle, but, there are many in mine; I wouldn’t say that many of my actions are very ‘Christian’. However, that is not the point for me; sometimes, isn’t enough just to be captured by the joy and exuberance of what you are listening to?
Maybe it is enough to be open to whatever fragment of Faith that is offered by any artist and rejoice in it and see how it lights your own path. Perhaps the reviewer’s theologically correct, yet joyless and judgemental review is actually much further away from any Gospel than Stormzy’s hopefulness. Indeed, having looked at the short ‘Gang Signs and Prayer’: Christian iconography pervades this deeply moral, yet uncomfortable short.
I like this version of the song most; beautifully shot in a South London estate; most probably the one he grew up in and intercut with images of people searching for Grace and redemption: I find it really moving and very powerful.
Music begins around 1:20 if you are impatient; but don’t be.