Metascore
79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 14 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 14
  2. Negative: 0 out of 14
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  1. 100
    The older he gets, the better the conversational-confessional flow of his rapping, which allows him to stroll through a 10-minute bragathon like “Mel Made Me Do It” without breaking a sweat or losing the listener’s attention. He raps about trips to Dubai and giving up weed like he’s sitting beside you at a London bus stop.
  2. Dec 8, 2022
    80
    Stormzy finds balance on This Is What I Mean and delivers a record with clear intentions and messaging. While it's unlikely to please the entirety of his audience, those who find this record in the pits of depression, lost spirituality, heartbreak or falling in and out of love will undoubtedly be moved.
  3. 80
    This Is What I Mean is a bold album about showing vulnerability, and continues the erstwhile rapper’s overarching mission to transcend the roles allotted to him.
  4. Nov 30, 2022
    80
    This ego-stripped project may not be to the liking of some of his original grime fans. But at this stage, Stormzy is aiming to break boundaries both materially and spiritually. He achieves both on this new album.
  5. Nov 28, 2022
    80
    He’s clearly reached a level of celebrity where his audience are invested not just in the music but in Stormzy himself: if they’re willing to follow him down a more inward-looking path, This Is What I Mean is a good reward.
  6. Nov 28, 2022
    80
    This is What I Mean completely abandons the often very macho bullishness at the heart of hip hop, to show rap at its most sensitive.
  7. Nov 28, 2022
    80
    ‘This Is What I Mean’ is a low-key affair, downbeat and introspective. The tracks are intimate in theme as well as production, and it might just be Stormzy’s cohesive and coherent project to date.
  8. Nov 28, 2022
    80
    While the album is certainly softer in sound, it never plays it safe - experimental pay-offs are peppered throughout.
  9. 80
    There is a small sense of disappointment that we don’t get to hear Stormzy let loose on the mic more often, but then this record was never going to be a recreation of ‘Heavy Is The Head’ or ‘Gang Signs & Prayer’s proclivity for immediate grime hits. The hard-hitting lyricism is still present, though.
  10. Dec 1, 2022
    77
    If Stormzy’s last album, and the pressure to speak for a generation, weighed heavily, then This Is What I Mean feels lighter, freer.
  11. Dec 19, 2022
    70
    For much of the album, Stormzy hardly lifts his voice above a whisper, like he’s slipping us a note under the door. Sometimes this exercise in solemnity and sincerity doesn’t quite land emotionally. ... Elsewhere, Stormzy truly expresses the liberating power of earnest prayer by choosing to speak from personal pain rather than religious catchphrase, like on “Please”.
  12. Dec 2, 2022
    60
    The release seems like a major personal achievement and he deserves to be proud of it, but there isn't anything here that matches the best tracks on his first two albums.
  13. Dec 1, 2022
    60
    If the album spent more time doing what it’s good at we would have a classic on the level that Stormzy seems to be aiming for.
  14. Nov 28, 2022
    50
    Far too often, Stormzy sounds crushed under the weight of his own unrelenting seriousness.
User Score
6.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 6 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 6
  2. Negative: 1 out of 6
  1. Dec 6, 2022
    0
    What is this???? Stormzy what the hell are you doing??? 0/10. No chance for this piece of trash.