Gang Signs & Prayer is the debut studio album by British rapper Stormzy. It was released on 24 February 2017 independently through #Merky Records while being distributed by ADA of Warner Music Group. It is Stormzy's first major commercial release, following the Dreamers Disease EP (2014). The album features guest appearances from fellow MCs Wretch 32, Ghetts and J Hus, along with singers Kehlani, Raleigh Ritchie and MNEK. It features production from Fraser T. Smith and Sir Spyro, among others.
After gaining attention on the UK underground music scene via his Wicked Skengman series of freestyles over classic grime beats, Stormzy released his debut EP Dreamers Disease independently in July 2014. In September 2015, he released a final instalment to his "WickedSkengMan" freestyle series, "WickedSkengMan 4", onto iTunes. After a year's hiatus from social media to focus on the recording of the album, Stormzy returned in early February 2017 via a series of advertising hoarding campaigns across London displaying lyrical quotes and the hashtag #GSAP 24.02. Gang Signs & Prayer was supported by the lead single "Big for Your Boots".
Gang Signs & Prayer received critical acclaim upon release, and entered the UK Albums Chart at number one with sales of over 68,000 copies, becoming the first grime album in history to reach number one. It also charted in twelve other countries. Gang Signs & Prayer holds the distinction of having every song from the album appear concurrently in the UK Singles Chart, including seven songs in the top 40. The album is certified Platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI). Gang Signs & Prayer won British Album of the Year at the 2018 Brit Awards.
After receiving close competition with Rag'n'Bone Man's Human, Gang Signs & Prayer entered the UK Albums Chart at number one, with combined sales of 68,594 copies. It set British streaming records for the most first-week streams for a number one album in chart history, with 13.9 million streams, surpassing the opening week stream count of Drake's Views. Gang Signs & Prayer became the first grime album to chart at number one, as well as joining the likes of Skepta and Giggs of charting in the top five independently. The album also charted at number one on the UK Independent Chart, UK R&B Chart and the Irish Albums Chart, number two on the Scottish Albums Chart. Outside the UK, it entered the Official New Zealand Music Chart at number 14 and Sverigetopplistan at number 34.
In the album's first week of release, seven tracks from Gang Signs & Prayer were in the top 40 of the UK Singles Chart – "Big for Your Boots", "Cold", "Bad Boys", "First Things First", "Mr Skeng", "Cigarettes & Cush" and "Shut Up". All sixteen tracks from the album appeared in the top 100 in a single week, making Stormzy the fourth artist to achieve this.
Gang Signs & Prayer was certified Silver by the BPI in its first week of release.
Stormzy - Gang Signs and Prayer
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