UK music has lost a true soul.
No other MC mastered two of the UK’s most important musical movements to the levels Shaun Lewis achieved throughout his career. His passing leaves a heavy hole in the heart of both grime and drum & bass that will take a long time to heal.
Stormin’s fierce two-year fight against skin cancer was indicative of how he composed himself from his foundation days in grime’s nascent stages alongside the likes of Kano, Ghetts and D Double E right through to his dominance in drum & bass in later years. Uncompromised, positive and acutely articulate, his honesty and frankness were traits from the very beginning. His energy as one of the fieriest and entertaining performers in the game remained in him until he passed away on Sunday night.
Whether it was through the seminal grime collective Nasty Crew, his anonymous activities as the masked Teddy Bruckshot, his drum & bass breakthroughs sparring with Shabba D, as a member of the biggest drum & bass supergroup SaSaSaS or the best freestyle Bricks Don’t Roll has ever been blessed with; however Stormin first bussed into your life, he was impossible to forget. Ask your mum, we bet she knows him…
Stormin was an inspiration. He continued to perform and release music at a near-militant level until the last possible minute with his last single – MoneyGram – released only three weeks ago. Two of his most telling and emotionally-wrought releases during his fight were Cursed, a guileless grime narrative about his upbringing and illness and I Will Live. Flexing Robert Miles’ Children hook, the Macky Gee production provides an urgent, uplifting bed for Stormin whose incisive bars reveal just how passionate he was for performing even during the lowest of times.
Not just professionally, but personally, the east London artist continued to live life on his terms until the very end; two weeks ago he married his girlfriend in the hospice and last month posted a picture of him in his signature buss it stance on a Caribbean beach in Dominica preparing for a television interview. Even though he was suffering multiple tumours, his energy and positivity remained consistent and makes the news of his passing even harder to digest.
For a raw hit of how real, strong and inspiring Stormin was, watch this video he broadcast in October 2017 in which he confirmed his cancer had reached a third and fatal stage. Describing his fight, how the recent loss of his father affected him, answering fan questions and putting down trolls with humour and frankness, it’s a heart-hitting snapshot of his integrity, honesty, strength and clarity and reveals how supportive his fanbase have been since he first revealed his cancer in 2016.
Stormin was a truly singular blueprint setting MC who will forever be missed, his contributions to UK music and MC culture will never be forgotten. Our thoughts and love go to his friends and family. Rest in peace Shaun.