And with a score like that, this guy’s got a right to be bragging…
Jibril Yassin: This gets a  solely for the Adele shoutout.
Iain Mew: The trick is in sounding constantly needling and uneasy, at the same time as projecting a certain kind of confidence — that intro is almost an event in itself. It’s perfect for the combined taunt and statement of the title, and even at Stormzy’s most scattered in terms of narrative, he and the track are never anything less than electric.
Maxwell Cavaseno: Is Stormzy’s purposeful Dizzee echoing on this record to convey how grimey he is now that he’s conveniently vanished from the grime scene for his album prep time a bit much? Yes. Is grime veteran DJ/Producer (“SOUNDS OF THE-“) Sir Spyro’s garage-inflected riddim a bit slight compared to the perfect dread of his “Side by Side“/”Topper Top” riddim he scored so big with two years ago? Yes. Am I getting annoyed by watching Stormzy get used in this video as some sort of Hood(ie) Ornament of cool by the ever incestuous glut of media, and the grime genre he represents? Yes. But is this one of the hardest grime singles in time? ABSOLUTELY.
Scott Mildenhall: Kids in Grimsby are saying “bare” now, and depending on what you put it down to, that might be the clearest representation of the extent of grime’s reach this time around. Five years ago, tops, they would have been laughed out the place. They might not yet be GOOSE-fronting as much as Stormzy here, but give it time, because he’s bridging a gulf like no other. It’s not really a revolution: it doesn’t sound revolutionary, and established orders aren’t actually falling apart, but for a number of reasons — not least that it’s good — as music to peel off another cohort of people into feeling old, it is welcome.
Will Rivitz: Stormzy has a nearly unparalleled ability to carry what should in most respects be a repetitive and derivative boast track to incredible heights. Nothing about this is particularly special – choral synth samples straight from “Scary” and cliched hook straight from literally every grime song ever — save for the MC’s electric delivery and performance, stutter-stepping over the hyper-regular beat and switching vocal registers with the skill of an MC five or six years his senior. It feels a bit arbitrary that Stormzy’s been the MC that most successfully rose out of the underground YouTube grime culture – but given how he’s run with his success, I don’t really mind.
Alfred Soto: Given the choice, I’d rather listen to the synth track: a series of single notes triggering horror film strings. But Stormzy’s pretty good, too, Change to Dizzee Rascal’s Chic: a facsimile on first listen whose formal variations delight anyway.
Thomas Inskeep: Fuck yes, this is premium grime: production sharp as a tack that gets me pumped the way some folks respond(ed) to the theme from Rocky, and Stormzy spitting like his life depends on it. There’s an urgency to his rapping, he wants this and he’s gonna get it. And he does. Stormzy right now feels like he’s in the same position as Dizzee Rascal was in 2003, only bigger and better, about to go fully overground, and he deserves it.
Edward Okulicz: From the first second, this sounds massive, like a proper Event Single from an established superstar with confidence to burn, rather than one on the rise. The track skitters as if it has no choice due to the tension, and as long as Stormzy is boasting and blurting out words at a rapid pace the effect is incredibly thrilling. Few people have ever kept up the level of insane energy of this song’s peaks for 4 minutes, and the hook might actually be the least catchy part, but “Big For Your Boots” is exciting, quotable, smart and sounds cool as fuck.
William John: Prior to Gangs, Signs & Prayer, my most recent encounter with Stormzy was in a charming guest spot on Michaela Coel’s delightful sitcom Chewing Gum, a show as filthily, twistedly funny as it is sunshiny and sweet. Mere seconds of “Big For Your Boots” are sufficient to erase any memory of cutesy Stormzy, as he nimbly stomps and menaces over a kinetic beat, punctuated by gothic choir stabs. It’s a triumphant, ominous homecoming.