Photo by: Paola Kudacki/Trunk Archive

The grime artist tops the US magazine’s list of “next generation leaders”.

Stormzy has made the cover of Time magazine.

The south London grime MC tops the US publication’s list of “next generation leaders”, which includes Rosalía, Senegalese artist Selly Raby Kane, British-Somalian boxer Ramla Ali, South Korean gaming activist Kim “Geguri” Se-yeon and American actor Tessa Thompson and Swedish eco-warrior Greta Thunberg.

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One of my absolute proudest moments. I can’t even comprehend this. I am on the cover of TIME. I’ve stared at this cover for a few minutes and it feels like one of those “how the fuckkkkk did man get here?!” moments. God’s favour and the ever lasting love and support you guys show me has elevated me to a place in life where this South London kid is worthy enough to grace the cover of the most prestigious publication in the World. This is a huge honour – one of TIME’s Next Generation Leaders. I wanna thank God for purpose – I say this because anyone who knows me knows how much I shy away from being anything other than “Mike”. On a deeper, honest one the thought of being a “role model” or “leader” or whatever it is feels way way way too heavy and too overwhelming and a lot of the time I think nahhhh fuck all that I ain’t no one’s anything lol I can’t even bare the weight of being myself let alone any of these other titles so everyone get off me I ain’t shit lol I am deeply flawed and still learning how to be a man and still figuring out how to grow into the person I need to be but within all of that confusion and all the juggling of being a human and trying to be a superhuman – I have purpose. And my purpose has lead me here. Big Mike for TIME ya na 😅❤️🙏🏿 Massive thanks to the legend that is @renieddolodge for interviewing me was an honour.

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In his interview with Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race author Reni Eddo-Lodge, the rapper covered everything from his early academic success (“They’re always a bit shocked that there’s academic brilliance in a young black South London brother with a street background”), to the struggles faced by the early pioneers of grime (“There are so many iconic, legendary, more influential grime songs that are never going to sell as much records as I’ve sold”) and his recent philanthropic projects (“I know it’s my purpose to just shine a light where I can, do something where I can, just whatever I can, in whatever way, shape or form”).

Responding to the cover on Instagram, Stormzy addressed the prestigious opportunity:  “the thought of being a “role model” or “leader” or whatever it is feels way way way too heavy and too overwhelming and a lot of the time I think nahhhh fuck all that I ain’t no one’s anything.”

“I can’t even bare the weight of being myself let alone any of these other titles so everyone get off me I ain’t shit”, he continues. “I am deeply flawed and still learning how to be a man and still figuring out how to grow into the person I need to be but within all of that confusion and all the juggling of being a human and trying to be a superhuman – I have purpose. And my purpose has lead me here.”

Stormzy has released four tracks this year,  ‘Vossi Bop’‘Crown’, ‘Sounds Of The Skeng’ and ‘Wiley Flow’. He is currently working on the follow up to his debut album, Gang Signs & Prayer.

Read next: The Rap Round-up – September 2019

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