Review at a glance
ith Stormzy still riding high from last year’s This Is What I Mean, his most introspective record to date, singer-songwriter RAYE – newly independent after several years stuck in major label limbo – feels like the perfect co-conspirator for the decidedly up-tempo new single The Weekend.
Clawing all the way through the working week can sometimes feel like scurrying around in a hamster wheel – navigating supermarket meal-deals, train strikes, and wafts of commuter coffee-breath… and for anybody who’s ever had to create a Doodle poll to nail down a spare hour to go for a pint with a pal, Stormzy and RAYE’s playful sparring, as they try to agree on a day to meet up, may well hit a little too close to home.
After RAYE’s jazz-inflected intro sets the scene – “I met a man when I was out… I like his vibes, I took his number” – she and Stormzy quickly lock into a quick-witted back-and-forth. The latter reflects on their shared south London roots and calls back to a primary school worship staple with a brief snippet of the gospel-hymn This Little Light of Mine, before attention shifts to the old diary.
“Is Wednesday cool?” Stormzy asks; “Wednesday I work late,” RAYE replies. “How about a Thursday?” The response comes: “Hmmm, Thursday’s tight.” Eventually the pair settle on the weekend, and get back to exchanging wit-charged compliments once more.
It’s all set to a smooth, Noughties pop beat by Nigerian-British producer London, best known for his collaborations with Selena Gomez, Wizkid, and Rema. Getting a bit of life admin done has never sounded more appealing.
A meeting of two big south London talents (RAYE grew up between Tooting and Croydon, while Stormzy was mostly raised in South Norwood) The Weekend taps a similarly playful vein to Stormzy’s previous collaboration, his Dave-produced link-up with Kilburn rapper Fredo. On that track, Toxic Trait, he channelled the same wit that was also evident in spades on 2022’s standalone single Mel Made Me Do It. “See me runnin’ up that hill,” he bragged tongue firmly in cheek, getting down with the Eighties classic’s recent renaissance; “I’m the black Kate Bush”.
And The Weekend, a straight-up and flirtatious duet delivered with a smirk, feels like it has all the makings of another hit. While it’s been illuminating watching both artists branch out creatively in recent years, this collaboration allows them to flex their biggest strengths.
The Weekend is out now