British rapper Stormzy, one of the most successful British musical artists to emerge in the past decade, is the first signing to Universal Music Group’s newly launched 0207 Def Jam record label. Stormzy has spent much of his professional career with Warner Music’s label Atlantic, which distributed his Merky label.
Stormzy is pictured above in October with (L-R): Tobe Onwuka (Stormzy’s manager), Alec Boateng (co-president, 0207 Def Jam), Sir Lucian Grainge (Chairman & CEO, Universal Music Group), Alex Boateng (co-president, 0207 Def Jam) and David Joseph (Chairman & CEO, Universal Music UK).
He is a three-time Brit Award winner, including Best Male Artist in 2018 and 2020 and Best Album in 2018. He has had three U.K. No. 1 singles and has won multiple BET Awards and a MTV EMA. He has headlined Glastonbury festival, the biggest festival in the U.K. His debut album, “Gang Signs And Prayers,” was the first grime album to top the British charts. His most recent album, “Heavy Is the Head,” was released last December.
The news was announced via a spare photograph and Instagram post on Monday morning. 0207 Def Jam’s recently appointed co-head Alec Boateng worked extensively with Stormzy over his years as co-head of A&R at Atlantic U.K., where he also worked with Burna Boy, Rita Ora, Kojo Funds, and others, as did the new label’s marketing director Jacqueline Eyewe.
The move is a big one for the new label, which was announced just last Wednesday and is run by Boateng and his twin brother Alex, a veteran of UMG’s Island Records. Universal Music UK Chairman & CEO David Joseph. He says, “Bringing the Boateng brothers together at 0207 Def Jam is an important moment in British culture. Alec and Alex have always done things their own way with success always quick to follow. They have already assembled an exceptionally talented top team with a clear vision for this exciting new chapter in the history of one of the world’s most famous labels”.