Gang Signs And Prayer #1 for Stormzy

 

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So Stormzy has done it. His highly anticipated debut offering Gang signs & prayer or more affectionately known via the web as #GSAP has become the U.K’s number 1 album & I couldn’t be more happy about it!

It’s no secret that although my musical taste is eclectic, there’s something about hip-hop & grime that will forever scratch an itch that pop, R&B, dance, or Tchaikovsky can’t.

What makes the success of #GSAP all the more sweet is that 23 year old Stormzy is able to fuse Gospel,  R&B, with a splash of pop (in the form of vocals by Lily Allen), & grime into the kind of audio alchemy that is a more than worthy chart topper.

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Buy #GSAP on iTunes here

BODY OF WORK

I downloaded #GSAP 30mins after release, on Friday feb 24th & actually felt a sense of nostalgia…It felt like a moment reminicent of when ‘The miseducation of Lauryn Hill‘ dropped, or when ‘The college drop out‘ by Kanye landed or when  Kendrick gave us ‘ Good Kid M.A.A.D City‘. All records that marked the arrival of an artist that would effect the way we feel about the genre. About music, period.

What strikes me most about this 16 track body of work is the confidence in which Stormzy is able to deliver heart felt, cocky, aggressive, vulnerable, & pay homage to those that came before whilst doing something never done before. Stormzy released his debut on his own label #Merky records, distributed through ADA (Warner) which makes it the first UK grime album to hit #1 on the chart, & the first to do so independently.

I rate Stormzy & his team, the marketing & roll out for this record has been exceptional. His performance  with Ed shereen at the brit awards on the week before release was genius & releasing the remix to ‘shape of you’ Ft Stormzy straight after, sending it straight to #1 on the singles chart…..BACK OF THE NET.

They literally built it from the ground up.

STAND-OUT CUTS

It’s a testament to a record when it’s hard to pick your stand-out cut…

Honestly It’s been a while since I felt like crying, praying, moshing, & been ready to lift weights all over one record. ‘Blinded by your grace’ (Pt 1 + 2), ‘100 bags’ & ‘Lay me bare’ almost left me a wreck. From the  vulnerable moments of redemption in BBYG, to the straight emotional, as Stormzys mother prays for him via Voicemail. 🤤 🤤🤤🤤Im sure everyone will be wiping their eyes & noses cos I definitely was!

‘Mr Skeng’ & ‘Return of the racksack’ had me gassed beyond measure, & hearing Jenny Francis from choice FM (96.9 fm the now defunct but first UK black radio station) on an interlude  before ‘Velvet’ & ‘Cigarettes & Cush’ ft Kehlani had me missing the old days & thinking about calling a dude asap. We were also transported in time to the clash between Ghetts (Formerly MC Ghetto) & Bashy (actor Ashley Thomas) & given a goosebump inducing moment on a Crazy Titch interlude. These nods to early grime & british music culture for me, puts #GSAP in a league of its own category. Only time will tell if it’s a classic. It definietly seems to have captured the zeitgeist, with everyones mum, brother & dog talking & tweeting, about it, but it’s definitly on my repeat playlist list & will be for a while.

There have been a few album moments in UK Grime & rap, but  I imagine this is the closest to what it felt like when Dizzee dropped  ‘Boy in da corner’. I had just moved to Germany to sign my record deal at the time so I missed the moment. Either way, Gang signs & Prayers is an amazing body of work. Im super happy for Stormzy & extremely proud of my mate Fraser T Smith who co- executive produced this record. Fraser has such a knack for being able to make dope urban music & is equally dope at crafting grammy winning records for your Adele’s, or the sam smiths of the world.

#MERKY

Stormzy has managed to stay above the fray beautifully. Whether it be the police wrongly kicking off his door after wrongly suspecting him of burglarising his own property or LBC radio attributing knife crime to him/grime

“I was scrolling through my tweets/ had Adele up on repeat/And saw a madness on my timeline,
LBC’s tryna’ black ball me/And tryna’ blame your boy for knife crime.”- Stormzy (First things first. #GSAP)  

He really carries himself with respect & dignity. I wish this brother well &  long may his reign over the charts continue. It’s truly inspiring watching this young man from the ends work & get the gold. Stormzy proves he truly is #Merky & a #Problem!!

Gang signs & Prayer out now!!

Happy Construction

A x 💋

Review: Elizabeth Gilbert ‘Big Magic’

Title: Big Magic      Author: Elizabeth Gilbert     Pages: 276  Rating: 4/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I just wanna start off by saying I love this book!!! 

Firstly, I wasn’t one of the die hard Eat, Pray, Love crew. I can just about remember much else besides Julia Roberts eating pasta or pizza & some Asian old man blowing her mind about something or other on Netflix. (Her bestseller Eat,Pray,Love was made into that film)

However, I came across this book after watching Elizabeth Gilbert doing this TED talk & decided to buy it online. It arrived super quick & I took it with me on my writing trip to Norway.

Creative living beyond fear

From page one I was Immediately drawn to Gilbert’s conversational tone & writing style  which is super familiar & comfortable. Almost like catching up with an old friend for coffee.

Her perspective on creativity is refreshing, especially how she personifies ideas as beings looking for human collaborators  in order to maniesft. I caught myself nodding vigarously like in church & even laughed out loud on the airplane.

As a writer, it’s easy to get caught up in your own head especially after success, & that search for perfection  can totally kill creativity. What I loved was that she takes the angst out of the creative process by reminding you to be unafraid to just jump back in the ring. Ideas dont have to be perfect, just finished so you can develop. The process will guide you back like a homing device. Keep learning. Keep growing.

It’s not going to be peaches & cream always, but embrace the fear. Give yourself permission to fuck up. You don’t write for others, you write because you do it for yourself.

Listen, I felt this book on a spiritual level boy!!

She weaves stories of trials & triumphs into gems with a delivery that speaks to your damn spirit. I definitely will be refering back if & when nessesary.  I say buy a copy, borrow or steal one. Just make sure you read it if you need a creatve kick up the bum.

I give it 4 stars! 

HAPPY CONSTRUCTION!

A x 💋

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GoodReads Reading Challenge 2017

Ok so Im doing the 2017 reading challenge by Goodreads.com.

Im super pissed that I actually failed to hit my target last year 😩 so I’m making a concerted effect to actually complete it this year 🤓. My target isn’t that ambitious, but let’s see…

You can sign up through facebook & see what others are reading for inspiration on what to read next, which is pretty dope. I’ll also be do book reviews to help keep me on track .

Wish me luck, infact why not join in & let me know what you’re reading!

HAPPY CONSTRUCTION!

A x 💋

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The V-Word: Why I went Vegan.

Happy New Year!!

Hi,

So, I’m really about to be that one person still saying happy new year half way through February…but Happy New Year!!!! 😂 💃🏾

So far 2017 is officially looking like the craziest IN MY LIFETIME!

We are officially living through a “President” Donald Trump administration & it’s the most surreal thing. Im sure if there was an option to get our collective memories erased ala Men in Black, the shares in neuralyzers would be through the roof!

men-in-black

Trying to erase the last 4 months like…. (Neutralyser from M.I.B movies)

Seriously  though, it’s only been three weeks  since his inauguration & we’ve already had claims of Russian hacking & a Muslim travel ban. (Nationals from 7  Muslim countries are banned from entering for 90 days), & already the world seems a little less normal.

It’s scary out there son! So in order to counter this weird energy, this year I decided to create a happy bubble around myself. Inside this bubble, I’m President & the first order of the day, is a 90 meat ban!

 

 

Inspiration to try a Plant-based diet

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Inspiration: My Cousin Jacqui

Ok so, all jokes aside…I decided to adopt a plant-based diet for 90 days at first to see where it would take me.  Actually I was inspired by my cousin Jacqui who lost loads of weight following the Dr Sebi ‘Electric food’ way of eating. (Click here for an unofficial list of foods permitted in Dr Sebi’s ‘Electric food’ list).

I saw how healthy, slim, happy & full of energy she was & it just seemed like she was glowing from the inside & her eyes were all bright shiny. It totally convinced me to try a plant-based way of eating. Emphasis being on nutrition & not just a yo-yo fad diet.

Jacqui also does book camp work outs regularly so im going to follow her foot steps. Step by step.

Making the shift

Boxing day 2016…

Before embarking on this diet shift, I’d been toying with the idea of going vegan for a few years, but I just wasn’t able to commit, even when I wouldn’t feel great after meat-heavy meals.

I  talked myself out of doing it sooner because of my love for cheese & eggs. (Eggs where blatantly my kryptonite.)  I felt like I could happily survive on cheese with everything, despite it making me snotty & sick, but I did manage to stop drinking cows milk a few years ago because of my intolerance to lactose.

I began researching veganism & watched loads of films on the meat & dairy industry, which pretty much sealed the deal for me. I just don’t want to be complicit in the suffering of other beings that share the earth, to be honest. I also work with a producer called Whiten3rd who has been a vegan for years & is super knowledgable, & has been a major influence.

The V-Word

I’m super happy to say, I’m Currently 54 days in & if im honest I haven’t felt this good in a long time. My energy levels are higher, my concentration is better, I don’t get that after dinner bloated feeling & i’ve dropped a few lbs. I also suffer from PCOS & so far this change has honestly got me feeling 100 times better.

The transition wasn’t difficult because searching Instagram recipes, watching YouTube & asking friends who have cut out animal products has been a god send (shout out to Hayley & Naomi ).  Also the stigma of veganism being synonymous with vegans inflicting their choices on others is lifting & it doesn’t feel like the dirty little V-Word anymore. Feels like people are generally more conscious of what they’re eating & thanks to social media, becoming educated about fucked up food industry practices. Either way, I believe it’s completely down to personal choice.

My favourite thing has be discovering the Vegan resturants springing up all over London. I’m  planning to go back & Love Gift Vegan for the amazing caribbean food. The BBQ wheat me is a game changer! I’m also dying to try  The temple of Seitan’s  vegan ‘fried chicken’ but they’re always sold out 😫 which is equally amazing & heart breaking! ) 👅👅👅

I can actually say, Im commited to  continuing this plant-based lifestyle & am going as far as to say I am now vegan.

There….I said it. My names Ayak & Iam a Vegan 🤗

HAPPY CONSTRUCTION!

A x 💋

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Steve Void Single: ‘Never been better’

Dutch Dj/Producer Steve Void  has dropped his second single ‘Never been better’ Spotify & all digital retail outlets, & Im really super chuffed with the outcome of this record.

This one was co-written by Carl Ryden,  Grace Tither & I.

Special mention to Grace who absolutely knocked this vocal out the park & to Carl who in my opinion is one of the best when it comes to recording/ producing &  treating vocals. I love what Steve Void has done on this production, in keeping the vulnerable feel but going off in the breaks, matching the lyric perfectly. I Love it.

Steve is currently on a European tour with Matoma…. have a listen!

HAPPY CONSTRUCTION!

A x 💋