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Revisit Stormzy's classic Fire In The Booth

In his first ‘Fire In The Booth’, renowned grime MC Stormzy blew everyone away with his aggression, passion and precision as he delivered what was a ferocious freestyle. The freestyle, which aired on BBC Radio 1Xtra in 2014, was Stormzy proving a point as he showed why he is the best in Britain when it comes down to pure bars. Stormzy’s ‘Fire In The Booth’ shows the rapper at his hungriest and, as a fan favourite, has accumulated millions of views.

This legendary appearance at the BBC studios came just two months after the rapper released his internet-breaking single ‘Not That Deep’. The freestyle also followed a now acclaimed series of youtube freestyles that the rapper uploaded. Known as his “Wicked Skengman” freestyles, they were a seminal part of the Croydon MCs journey to fame and laid the foundation for his later works.

Charlie Sloth’s ‘Fire In The Booth’ is a spot for the best in the UK to show off their rapping ability and is notoriously used to compare artists to one another. The ‘booth’ is where artists give all they have to offer and where they prove themselves. So when Stormzy stepped up, still relatively new to the game, fans were sceptical about whether or not the young man had the tenure to even be in the room.

With the famous “Let’s get ready to rumble!” sound effect signifying the beginning of the freestyle, sceptics readily listened. Rapping over a sparse and dark grime beat (FML – August Alsina), the Croydon began with aggression, talking about his journey from having to get illegal money to making an honest living from music as he rapped, “Look, I was in the street with the shooters / Then I swapped my beef for a future / Used to link my mans for some weed / Now I call up T for a link for producers”.

After passionately telling his story and venting about his hardships, Stormzy was praised by Sloth, and he went on to continue with his freestyle but at a new tempo, over a new beat which was ‘They Don’t Love You Know More’ by DJ Khaled. This 2014 ‘Fire In The Booth’ would really act as a form of certification for Stormzy as he henceforth progressed in his career as a legitimate artist who could evidently go toe-to-toe with the best.  

Below, revisit the legendary freestyle and see his 2014 single ‘Not That Deep’, which arguably put him on the map.