In July, Ed Sheeran released his ‘No.6 Collaborations Project’, an album which featured some of the biggest artists in music. Among the 15 tracks, British rapper Stormzy partnered on the hit ‘Take Me Back To London’. Fusing electronics, gritty rap beats and Sheeran’s pop voice, it has been revealed that the track could have sounded a lot different.
Appearing in an interview on the Jonathan Ross Show, the 26-year-old explained that while Jay-Z is the rapper’s “number one hero inspiration” he turned down the possibility of collaborating with the RnB icon. For Stormzy, it would have been one of the biggest collaborations to-date, but for the sake of art, it wasn’t quite right.
“We got into the studio and we were writing for this song,” Stormzy said. He added that Jay-Z asked him about London for inspiration. He and his manager went on to break down “black culture, community, music, his journey, my journey” to the Brooklyn artist. It was then Stormzy realised it wasn’t the right collaboration.
Stormzy continued: “I was like, ‘I love this song, but you being on the song changes everything. 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.’”
The rapper explained his initial regret of the decision, though realised it was the right thing to do. And in true professionalism, the ‘Own It’ artist said, “We spoke and he made me feel [proud of what I did].”
Watch the full interview below.