July 17, 2018
Stormzy didn’t just bag a book deal — he got a whole dang imprint
by Michael Barron
Shut up… Stormzy has his own publishing imprint? With Penguin Random House? Bruv!
That’s right. #Merky Books, will be under the curatorial vision of one of England’s greatest grime rappers (If you haven’t heard of grime, Britain’s own brand of dancehall-influenced hip-hop, I suggest reading this FACT article by Son Raw.) The Guardian’s Ben Beaumont-Thomas writes that the imprint “will be part of a growing #Merky empire, which already encompasses a record label and music festival.”
If you’re new to Stormzy, I suggest crawling from under your cultural rock and streaming his performance at last year’s Brit Awards, you know, the one where he called out Prime Minister Theresa May’s poor handling of the Grenfell Towers tragedy while performing under thickest drops of artificial rain? You don’t see that kind of anger at the Grammys, even when participants take to the stage to protest.
So yeah, Stormzy, great rapper. But why a publishing house? Because, as he wrote in an Instagram post: “Reading and writing as a kid was integral to where I am today and I from the bottom of my heart cannot wait to hear your stories, your poems, your novels, your sci-fis and then getting them out into the big wide world.” Dude’s a mensch.
#Merky’s first auhor is… wait for it… Stormzy! He’ll publish Rise Up: The #Merky Story So Far. Without saying as much, Penguin Random House are marketing it as British Decoded, Jay-Z’s collage-like memoir, in that it will feature “hundreds of never-before-seen photographs, annotated lyrics and contributions from those closest to him. Rise Up is Stormzy’s story, in his words, and the record of a journey unlike any other.”
Ok, so not much more than a flip-through book. Still, I’d like to read some of those sci-fis…
Michael Barron is an editor at Melville House.