Stormzy soars past Taylor Swift to score first UK No 1 single

UK rapper lands personal milestone after closely fought battle between his and Swift’s respective comeback singles

Stormzy has scored his first No 1 single, beating Taylor Swift in a closely fought chart battle between their respective comeback singles.

The UK rapper’s Vossi Bop had 94,495 combined sales and streams, giving it the second biggest first-week combined sales of the year so far to 7 Rings by Ariana Grande, which totted up 126,000 sales. It is the biggest combined sales No 1 debut for a British act since Ed Sheeran’s Shape of You in January 2017.

“Words don’t really do it justice,” Stormzy told the Official Charts Company. “I’m genuinely, for once in my life, speechless!”

Swift’s single ME!, a collaboration with Brendon Urie of Panic! at the Disco, entered the chart at No 3 with 65,761 combined units, behind Old Town Road by country-rap artist Lil Nas X at No 2 with 83,381. Speaking on BBC Radio 1on Thursday, the US pop superstar said: “I love Stormzy. I’d happily lose to him.”

With 12.7m listens on streaming services, Vossi Bop also boasts the most streams in a week for a rapper, breaking the record held by Drake for the 2018 single In My Feelings.

Stormzy will headline Friday night at this year’s Glastonbury festival, and joins the Cure and the Killers at the top of the bill. He told the OCC that his first UK No 1 single proved to him that he was worthy of the slot. “I definitely got called in to headline Glasto for a reason, for a purpose.”

In the past 12 months, he has launched a publishing imprint on Penguin Random House, #Merky Books, and announced that he will fund two Cambridge scholarships for black British students.