Headie One, Dave & More

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Stormzy is officially back with his latest single, “Toxic Trait.” The song features London rapper Fredo and is produced by Dave. “Toxic Trait” is Stormzy’s first release since his last album, 2022’s This Is What I Mean. The project was a reflective opus that saw Stormzy singing for a large portion of the tracklist. Although he still rapped on many songs, the rapping on This Is What I Mean was very personal and meditative compared to the explosive bangers on Gang Signs & Prayer and Heavy Is the Head. Stormzy sang on his previous albums but fully leaned into singing on This Is What I Mean. Besides a few bars from Ms. Banks, Stormzy’s last album did not feature any rappers. Therefore, “Toxic Trait” is Stormzy’s first rap collaboration in a while. It is the first time he and Fredo have collaborated, and it marks his second song with Dave. 

The UK icon has worked with rap and grime legends throughout his career, allowing new artists to shine on his albums. Songs like “Bad Boys” with Ghetts and J Hus or “Audacity” with Headie One are perfect examples. Stormzy’s competitive spirit has allowed him to shine on songs with other skilled lyricists, like “Dead Body Part 2+3” with Little Simz and Kano or “Energy” with Avelino and Skepta. This new single with Fredo is representative of how Stormzy encourages other rappers to step up their game while they bring the best out of him. Take a look at the list of Stormzy’s Top 5 best rap collabs below, ranked from least to greatest.

5. Headie One feat. AJ Tracey & Stormzy – “Ain’t It Different” (2020)

Headie One’s debut album, 2020’s EDNA, was a star-studded event full of the UK’s biggest stars and rising names to look out for. One of the album’s significant highlights and biggest singles was “Ain’t It Different.” The song departed from Headie’s typical drill sound and samples songs from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, M-Dubs, and Lady Saw. The three approach the track with unique flows. Headie keeps his drill flow and raps about how prison has affected him, and AJ Tracey spits about his successes. Stormzy raps from a more mature perspective, reminiscing on when he first got into rapping while continuing to flex. “Ain’t It Different” saw three of the biggest names in the UK from different parts of London and is a career highlight for not just Stormzy but for Headie One and AJ Tracey as well.

4. Stormzy feat. Aitch – “Pop Boy” (2019)

Stormzy may be a lyricist who raps about personal and comments on important societal issues, but many of his most enjoyable songs are when he stunts on his peers. “Pop Boy” is an explosive banger from Heavy is the Head featuring Aitch, who was just starting to reach mainstream recognition at the time. On “Pop Boy,” Stormzy revels in his success while acknowledging criticisms that he went pop and sold out. He stands firm at the top of the UK scene and embraces his mainstream status. Aitch, now a household name in the UK, impresses with his verse as he slides over the beat with ease.

3. Ghetts feat. Stormzy – “Skengman” (2021)

“Skengman” was the second time that Ghetts and Stormzy had collaborated. Much like “Bad Boys” from 2017, the grime legend and the rap superstar brought the best out of each other on this song. The track’s instrumental sounds like a mysterious James Bond theme, creating a sinister atmosphere for Ghetts and Stormzy to spit some of their toughest bars.

The two sound calm and collected even when they rap menacing lyrics. Ghetts starts the song with a nimble rhyme pattern and ends the song with a choppy and aggressive delivery. Stormzy’s appearance in the song is its own cinematic moment as the production shifts around his verse. Ghetts and Stormzy complement each other, making for one of Ghetts’s best songs and one of Stormzy’s best rap collabs.

2. Chip & Stormzy – “Hear Dis” (2015)

Chip and Stormzy teamed up for “Hear Dis” in 2015, the year after grime had its cultural reset and propelled the genre to new heights. “Hear Dis” was a big moment for both Chip and Stormzy at the time. Chip led grime’s second generation before signing to T.I.’s Grand Hustle label and moving stateside. He then left the U.S. and set out to reconquer the grime scene. Chip did just that, reinventing himself and engaging in some of the genre’s biggest beefs. In 2015, Stormzy was just a rising name, gaining recognition with freestyles and viral hits. 

A collaboration between the two helped establish Chip as an elder statesman in grime, and his co-sign helped Stormzy gain respect in the scene. The song itself is phenomenal as Chip and Stormzy trade bars back and forth over a traditional grime instrumental from the late DJ Scholar. The two showed immaculate chemistry on the song, which unfortunately may never happen again as Chip and Stormzy beefed many years later.

1. Dave feat. Stormzy – “Clash” (2021)

“Clash” is a collaboration between two of the UK’s biggest stars in their most impeccable form. Over a drill instrumental, Dave and Stormzy rap at the highest level, approaching the song differently. Dave’s delivery is relaxed, while Stormzy’s lively verse brings nuance to the song. In addition to how they complement each other, the beat switch during Stormzy’s verse excites the listener. The sudden switch leads to the two trading verses. The song is also quite catchy, making for one of the biggest hits of both of their careers and one of the best UK rap collabs.

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