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Stormzy reveals he turned down chance to collaborate with his ‘hero’ Jay Z

Stormzy turned down chance to collaborate with ‘shocked’ Jay Z (PA Wire/PA)
Stormzy turned down chance to collaborate with ‘shocked’ Jay Z (PA Wire/PA)

Stormzy has revealed that he almost released a song with Jay Z, but that he told the US rapper he could not feature on his single.

The British grime star said that he had started collaborating with Jay Z and Ed Sheeran on the song Take Me Back To London in a recording studio, the footage of which was shown during his Glastonbury Festival set earlier this year.

However, Stormzy said that he thought having the international hip-hop star on the record would change “everything”.

The London-born musician said that Jay Z was “super shocked”, but also “super proud” that he turned down the chance to collaborate with him.

Speaking about his number one hit Take Me Back To London, Stormzy told The Jonathan Ross Show: “We were all in the studio writing; me, Ed Sheeran and Jay Z. Before that I loved Take Me Back To London because I thought it was just going to be me and Ed and then Ed was like, ‘Jay is getting on it.’

“It blew my mind. Jay Z is my number one hero inspiration.

“We got into the studio and we were writing for this song and then he just stops the music and he said, ‘Tell me about London, I need some inspiration.’”

Stormzy said that he and his manager “were telling him about London and we had this powerful, beautiful, greatest conversation of my entire life so that’s where that footage (at Glastonbury) came from”.

He said that he talked about “everything from black culture, community, music, his journey, my journey” with Jay Z.

Stormzy continued: “At the end he’s smiling, we were probably talking for an hour and he goes, ‘So what do you think of the song?’… I had verbal diarrhoea.

“I was like, ‘I love this song but you being on the song changes everything’.

Glastonbury Festival 2019 – Day 3
Stormzy performing on the Pyramid Stage during the Glastonbury Festival (Yui Mok/PA)

“Take Me Back To London with me and Ed is one thing, but now that Jay Z is on it… This is Jay Z and Stormzy, what he means to culture, what I mean to culture… I said, ‘Is this the song?’ I didn’t think it was the song…”

Stormzy, real name Michael Ebenazer Kwadjo Omari Owuo Jr, added: “I felt proper bad because I was like, ‘You’re saying no to Jay Z!’

“I was like, ‘If you didn’t ask me this, I would have just written my verse and we would have done it and I would have never questioned it but now that you’ve asked me, no.’

“I was like, ‘I know how it goes, Mr Z. You are the most brilliant, busy man and I will probably never get this opportunity ever again but hand on my heart, I don’t think this is the right song for us. I don’t know why I’m saying this to you but this is not the song’.”

Stormzy said that it is “the greatest story of my life”, revealing that Jay Z “was super proud and super shocked and taken aback by the fact that this kid told him”.

He added: “He fully understood. We spoke and he made me feel (proud of what I did.) I left there thinking (I was an idiot) but then I had the honour of seeing him again and having the conversation and he let me know to my face that, what I did (was courageous) he couldn’t believe that I did it.”

Stormzy appears on the chat show along with tennis star Sir Andy Murray, comic Desiree Burch, actor Luke Evans and writer Adam Kay.

The Jonathan Ross Show is on ITV at 10.10pm on November 30.

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