Stormzy’s “Mel Made Me Do It” Is A Tribute To Black Talent & Success

A look at the lyrics and the many many celeb cameos.

Stormzy attends the UK Premiere Of "NOPE" at the Odeon Luxe Leicester Square
Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

It’s been almost three years since we last heard a solo track by UK grime artist Stormzy, and boy, does he come back in style. The grime MC dropped “Mel Made Me Do It” on Sept. 23, a mammoth seven-minute track that crows of success, accompanied by an 11-minute music video that has fans reeling. Brimming with cameos and talent, there’s a lot to take in. Let’s start with the meaning behind the “Mel Made Me Do It” lyrics, though.

Stormzy’s new track stands out from some of his previous tracks which had leaned more towards the choral and dramatic. Instead, the new beat is minimalist, with spare instrumentals, occasionally flecked with a few string plucks.

From the very first line — “I’ve been the GOAT for so long, I guess it’s not exciting when I win” — listeners already know what kind of swagger this song will hold. Stormzy holds nothing back when he boasts about wearing the prohibitively expensive Patek Philippe Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph to the gym like it’s nothing, and even compares himself to the American President with “I’m like a young Black Biden with a trim / Presidential when I’m ridin’ in the Bimz.”

The artist also displays a heady combination of pop cultural relevance and witty wordplay which makes “Mel Made Me Do It” such a joy to keep revisiting. For example, “I J Hustle and I’m MoStacking” plays on the names of rappers J Hus and MoStack, while talking about how Stormzy hustles and stacks money. He also references striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s contract with Arsenal in “For eight figures I’m Aubameyang, I go and sign the ting.” (#Signtheting was trending on Twitter during his contract negotiations.)

Of course, no grime track can really be complete without some beef. Stormzy calls out British grime artist Wiley, who had engaged Stormzy in a battle of diss tracks back in 2020, with the line “But all I see is washed up Godfathers and washed up podcasters.” Wiley is widely known as the “godfather of grime.”

The “Mel” in the song’s title directly references the influence of Stormzy’s longtime personal stylist, Melissa’s Wardrobe, according to Stereogum. Directed by KLVDR, the epic music video itself also features a dizzying list of almost 50 guest cameos, from the likes of Usain Bolt, Little Simz, and UK national treasure Louis Theroux, to Dave, Headie One, Dina Asher-Smith, JME, Jonathan Ross, Malorie Blackman, Trevor Nelson, and many more. Even José Mourinho hilariously pops up to recreate his famous meme “I prefer not to speak. If I speak, I will be in big trouble.”

The height of the song culminates in a powerful monologue, written by Wretch 32 and narrated by writer and actor Michaela Coel, which celebrates Black talent featuring a number of Black cultural icons dressed in white and appearing in a procession. Strikingly, this part of the music video also features the family of the late DJ and founder of SB.TV Jamal Edwards, in a tribute to the British music entrepreneur.

While unconfirmed at the time of writing, “Mel Made Me Do It” could well be a track in Stormzy’s third album, which he has said will be released “towards the end of this year”. Per NME, during the first night of his UK tour earlier this year, the artist teased fans with a video clip of himself working in the recording studio, ending with the message “Album 3. Coming 2022.

Read the lyrics in full, below:

‘Mel Made Me Do It’

I've been the goat for so long, I guess it’s not exciting when I win

Boohoo, someone grab the violins

Every time I try a ting, top bins like Haile when he sings

So of course, they don’t like me, I’m the king

Aight, tell me why oh why would I reply to him?

I leave him hanging like Kyrie on the rim, hm

Where do I begin? I wear the 5990 in the gym

I got a thing for shiny little things

What can I say? I’m like a young Black Biden with a trim (Woo)

Presidential when I’m ridin’ in the Bimz

Taking pictures with my cameraman, I’m shining in my skin

For eight-figures I’m Aubameyang, I go and sign the ting

Aight, I never wonder about who I could’ve been, ‘cah I’m here

Rose Gold frosted or ceramic

Told bro spin it so he span it

We are not the same, big Mike’s from a whole different—

Top bins, what a set piece, fling it in the net

Could’ve Jet Li kick him ‘till he bled

And I’m rent-free living in their head

What’s that quote? Ooh, kill them with success

Talking smoke, please, give it all a—

Still dripping in finesse (God damn!)

Man I got figures and flows I’m a different kind of F

Got a Lambo and a Rolls, that’s a different kind of cheque

And I said I was the G.O.A.T, they didn’t listen when I—, ay

Any time I do a big fletch, just ignore me

N*ggas wanna hear my side of the story

N*ggas wanna hear a n*gga chat like it’s Maury

F*ck that, you n*ggas better bask in my glory

They call me to slide through the store ‘cah I’m so patterned

To be fair we don’t go Hatton

We don’t tell lies

I think the kids call it no cappin’

The boys rough but the flows satin

I J Hus’tle and I’m MoStack’ing, they wanna catch me on the roads lacking

You better pray that it don’t happen (N*ggas)

And I don’t sell drugs, still I’m dope rappin’

Have your whole pattern Stiff Chocolate with the book

To be fair, I don’t feel Twitter

Getting told I’m not a real spitter by some broke-arse bill splitter

Listen, n*gga, you got bigger fish to fry, like

If I ever see your girlfriend in Dubai, oh Lord

Party on the boat she’s onboard and the Birkin is a bag you can’t afford, and she’d like one

Do the maths you ain’t the right one

It’s alright, son, we’ll send her back before the nights done

I wrote one, light one, eight-out-of-ten

She’s my aight one, think of a hit then I write one

On when I sight one

This my, this my Ghanaian flow, it’s a tight one

If she pretty then I put her on a flight

I put her on a jet if her p*ssy— Wait—

Look, my nephews are listening, my chef should be Michelin

There’s guests in my kitchen and my left wrist is glistening

And my tunes getting played from a set to a christening

They’re pissed on the net ‘cause I said I ain’t listening

Ugh, real n*ggas know it’s all positioning

Real n*ggas know I’m not the victim

Alright, I am I’ll take the L, they hype the ‘gram

They tell their jokes to spite the man

I feed my folks, they bite my hand

I do the most, I’ll fly to Cannes to watch a film, then bye, alright

Headline Reading and Leeds like it’s easy

Funny when they talk about the game ‘cah it needs me

N*ggas wanna hear a n*gga spill it all to Zeze

F*ck that, you n*ggas didn’t know that I’m greazy

It’s easy, man talk sh*t until they see me

Believe me, all you n*ggas give me (Heebie jeebies)

Word to Lauryn, I will die on this Hill

You little n*ggas two figures shy on my deal

Someone slide me the bill (Okay, I got it)

What my eyes don’t see, the Messiah reveals

If it all goes left, give Jasiah my will

‘Cah I guess I’m just the bredda that they’re dying to kill, ah (Woo)

Your boys mad dark, still I shine like a grill

Yeah, I’m healthy and I’m blessed but I rhyme like I’m ill

Line bagger, holding on the line like Kalil, ooh (Ooh, ooh)

I live a life that they try to fulfil

So they hate on my name but admire my skill

And before I touch stage, gotta wire my mil, ah

My n*ggas do drill that was prior to drill

If you see me with my dragons lookin’ fly in the field

Know Khaleesi couldn’t fathom all the fire I spill, nah

You old washed n*ggas should retire, for real

There’s a time you should move, and a time to be still

There’s a time to destroy and a time to rebuild

But all I see is washed up Godfathers and washed up podcasters

I own all my masters, I ain’t got masters

I throw a party on the yacht and wear my Yacht Master

They think I just chart top, but I’m the top charter

Gaffer like I’m Scott Parker

From when the mandem use to rock parkas

I am Nasty, but I’m not Marcus

Genius, I could’ve clocked Harvard

My n*ggas slide but they are not dancers

Dead rappers wanna swap chargers

Nah, I mean they wanna swap stances

Nah, I mean they wanna trade places

Get to scrappin’ like I ain’t famous

Have you dashing like you’re Dwain Chambers

Follow fashion, man, you fake greatness

To make a classic, yeah, it takes ages

But I still do it like my mate David

Nah, I mean like my bro Dave

Me and MIST, that’s a close shave

They fear this but they won’t say, I’m the nearest on a cold day

They love to talk about the old days

Them man are old like, “Annie, are you okay?”

I prefer not to speak like I’m José

(I prefer really not to, uhm, not to speak, If I speak I am in, in big trouble) (Woo)

This is what I meant when I said what I said

I got whips in my drive, pretty women in my bed

My accolades are bigger than my head

Stylo told me, “Kill ‘em ‘til they’re dead”

(The killy’dem ah carry one inna di head, Don Dada, kick arff face with bank robber)

If it’s a ting then I’ll just pattern it like Trev, ay

Man I got ‘tec’s like I’m Kylian, punch like I’m Dillian

Walk in a gym and I bump into William

Yeah, the S on chest, yeah, that stands for “Success”

But the M on my hairline stands for my millions

Ah, I got a brilliant car

I got a brilliant team, they wanna bring up my past becah I’m living my dream

What we achieved ain’t a shock ‘cah we knew it

We just stepped all clean and said, “Mel made me do it”, ow

Now there’s not enough space in my wardrobe

Benjart fitted on my waist and my torso

N*ggas keep on thinking I’m a chief, oh you thought so?

Chatty patty n*ggas, man, you n*ggas need a talk show

I’ve never seen real dons turn Loose Women

Sleep real good, fresh sheets, new linen

If we ever played a game called “Guess Who's Winning?”

Then you’ll open up the door, I’ll be in the room chillin’

There’ll never be a time where me and you’s are twinning

Why? Different status, my chicks the baddest

You know the bags Chanel, the trips to Paris

And if your boys a King, the bits a palace

Okay, three O2’s that I sell-out, man, I’m such a sellout

Might f*ck around and bring Adele out

Me and Flipz don’t talk like we fell out

Ah, get the hell out, all the sh*t I gotta spell out

Please A-L-L-O-W me

Every time I double-plaque they go and double my P

I was double-spread Mike, now I cover i-D

I wouldn’t cover for you d*ckheads if you covered my—

Ah, I knew they wouldn’t like it if I blow

Got all your n*ggas rattled but you hide it on the low

I’m from the city where they’re ridin’ with the pole

And now my nephews can’t believe that Spider-Man’s my bro

Shout Tom, that’s my guy, on-top ‘til we die

Yeah, I skip through the world, hop-scotch to Dubai

There’s a lot to divide but my God will provide

Couldn’t get to where I’m going if you hopped in my—

I got TJ tellin’ me we’re done

I said, “I thought I have an hour left?”

Ah, man, my enemies are out of breath

I pray, then I fast, then I counter press

Spent a week in the sticks, but tonight I’m at my South address

Ah, you know how it gets

Holy Spirit, that’s just how I’m blessed

Aight, twenty bags for my shower head, a n*gga gotta shower fresh

You little boys are out your depth

Know I got Ashford on the yard and Yianni on the wrap

I mean I’m Yianni on the rap

I’m the best at what I do, they think I’m braggin’ on the track

But I’m flexing ‘cah it’s true, and if you went and run it back

You’d know I’d left you with the truth

Because cars don’t make you this lit

The money don’t make you this good

The plaques don’t make you this cold

Give a f*ck what my sh*t sold

I buss a rhyme when I’m in flip mode, you pr*cks know

The boy’s just way too nice so you always see my music on the shelf

I’ve been the G.O.A.T for so long that they never hype a n*gga up

So I guess I gotta do it to myself, boy