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Stormzy Says He Turned Down a Collaboration With Jay-Z on 'Take Me Back to London'

The British-Ghanaian rapper says although Jay-Z is brilliant, it wasn't the right song for the two to work on together.

In a recent interview with ITV's The Jonathan Ross Show, Stormzy revealed how he had turned down an opportunity to work with Jay-Z. At the time, the British-Ghanaian rapper was collaborating with Ed Sheeran on "Take Me Back to London"—the eighth single on Sheeran's 2019 album No. 6 Collaborations Project which subsequently topped the UK charts for five straight weeks. According to the BBC, when Sheeran mentioned that Jay-Z would be jumping onto the track with them, Stormzy told Jay-Z that he didn't feel that it was the right song for the two of them to work on for the first time.


Very few people are able to say no to Jay-Z. Most musicians would jump at the opportunity to collaborate with the billionaire rapper and without thinking twice about it—unless they're Stormzy, of course. "I felt proper bad because I was like, 'You're saying no to Jay-Z!'" he said emphatically. He added that Jay-Z was, however, "super proud and super shocked and taken aback by the fact that this kid told him [no]."

READ: Stormzy Will Headline South Africa's 'Rocking the Daisies' Festival 2020

For Stormzy, it wasn't a matter of not wanting to collaborate with Jay-Z but feeling that it was neither the right time nor the right song for them to do so.

He relayed his conversation with Jay-Z saying, "I was like, 'I love this song but you being on the song changes everything." Stormzy added that, "If you didn't ask me this, I would have just written my verse and we would have done it and I would have never questioned it, but now that you've asked me, no." He then ended off by saying, "I know how it goes, Mr Z. You are the most brilliant, busy man and I will probably never get this opportunity ever again but hand on my heart, I don't think this is the right song for us. I don't know why I'm saying this to you but this is not the song."

"Take Me Back to London" was just one of the songs Stormzy worked on with Sheeran. Two weeks back, he dropped a new single entitled "Own It" where he featured both Sheeran and Burna Boy. The playful accompanying visuals show the trio dancing on the rainy rooftops of London in what appears to be tremendous fun.

Stormzy's much-anticipated second album Heavy is the Head is set to drop on December 13th.

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A Year After #EndSARS, Nigerian Youth Maintain That Nothing Has Changed

Despite the disbandment of the SARS units, young Nigerians are still being treated as criminals. We talk to several of them about their experiences since the #EndSARS protests.

On September 12th, Tobe, a 22-year-old student at the University of Nigeria's Enugu Campus was on his way to Shoprite to hang out with his friends when the tricycle he had boarded was stopped by policemen. At first, Tobe thought they were about to check the driver's documents, but he was wrong. "An officer told me to come down, he started searching me like I was a criminal and told me to pull down my trousers, I was so scared that my mind was racing in different ways, I wasn't wearing anything flashy nor did I have an iPhone or dreads — things they would use to describe me as a yahoo boy," he says.

They couldn't find anything on him and when he tried to defend himself, claiming he had rights, one of the police officers slapped him. "I fell to the ground sobbing but they dragged me by the waist and took me to their van where they collected everything including my phone and the 8,000 Naira I was with."

Luckily for Tobe, they let him go free after 2 hours. "They set me free because they caught another pack of boys who were in a Venza car, but they didn't give me my money completely, they gave me 2,000 Naira for my transport," he says.

It's no news that thousands of Nigerian youth have witnessed incidents like Tobe's — many more worse than his. It's this helpless and seemingly unsolvable situation which prompted the #EndSARS protests. Sparked after a viral video of a man who was shot just because he was driving an SUV and was mistaken as a yahoo boy, the #EndSARS protests saw millions of young Nigerians across several states of the country come out of their homes and march against a system has killed unfathomable numbers of people for invalid or plain stupid reasons. The protests started on October 6th, 2020 and came to a seize after a tragedy struck on October 20th of the same year.

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