First of all I am sorry that this is late, its December. Thats my excuse lol.
It was actually a little hard to write this review (another excuse as to why it has taken so long lol) simply because it feels so important! I want you to understand that this book isn’t actually what you think it is; before I picked it up I thought I already knew the #Merky story, so imagine my surprise when I cracked it open and found myself learning so much about just what it has taken.
Rise Up isn’t the premature autobiography I thought it was going to be, it isn’t full of stories of how Stormzy met Ed Sheeran or that time he made it rain at The Brits (only a teeny mention of that.) It’s more of a documentation of the brand that is #Merky and how it has become something we now all know. So think more guide less fairytale and for that I loved it so much more than I thought I would.
Essentially this is book is comprised of a series of interviews (14 contributors to be exact) with those who have “made” Stormzy happen and these interviews have then been organised and sorted so that they tell the kinda-complete story. I say “kinda” because you and I (and the title of the book) all know it isn’t any-where close to over, I mean this book was published before the clothing collab with Adidas & before Stormzy was announced as a Glastonbury headliner so we are just getting started really!
I love the fact that this book has so many (black) voices which all come together to tell a truly wicked story. Its the inspirational kick (if you needed one) its funny because I sat in my living room thinking that I was going to give it a once over and ended up finishing the book in one sitting. From their lack of funds to just having the conviction to go with an idea this book is for you if you too have the dream to be more than your current state.
I am not going to ruin it for you and tell you the intricacies of the story because Iw ant you to experience it properly and organically for yourself.
I don’t even mean to sound all wishy-washy about it. We know that Stormzy’s story isn’t one of rainbows and butterflies but the book doesn’t delve too deeply in that, it glosses over him being stabbed (almost casually) and he mentions a battle with depression but chooses to not dive into it too much but I think we will read more on that in the books to come (this is the debut in a deal for #Merky Books with Penguin.) For now we have been given a glimpse into what it took to create GSAP from the people that were there.
One thing that I really appreciated about this book was that Stormzy didn’t pretend that he wrote the whole thing it was co-written by Jude Yawson. He did even call it the “Stormzy story so far.” I appreciate that, it is a nice and necessary nod to what it take to become a household name. If you were expecting a big glossy book full of anecdotes about Little Mix and Coachella then you’l be disappointed. Instead we got a manual of how they have managed to reach these heights and continue to amaze us.
I am going to keep this book on my coffee table in pride of place in between The Slumflower’s book and Michelle Obamas memoir (next months review)