Croydon is really unlike any other part of south London. Firstly, some of you reading this may not even consider Croydon to be a part of London, the debate over where Croydon is has been a matter of fierce debate for decades. The strange Cristiano Ronaldo postcode (CR) coupled with the fact that there are trams there really separates Croydon from the rest of the southern part of the capital. Despite all of that, Croydon Council has been part of Greater London since 1965 and more recently some talented residents from the Borough have been having a huge impacting and the music and sports industries.
We’ll kick things off with the Croydon musicians currently making waves and there’s no better place to start than with the golden boy of Grime himself Stormzy (Michael Omari). Hailing from Thornton Heath, the self proclaimed ‘Problem’ first got the mainstreams attention with his debut EP ‘Dreamers Disease’ which was released in July of 2014. Stormzy had already built up a fan base with a number of appearances on Link Up TV as well as a series of popular rap freestyles entitled ‘Wickedskengman.’ It was in mid 2015 where Stormzy’s popularity rose rapidly when he released freestyle ‘Shut Up’ which currently has over 65millions views on YouTube. His long awaited debut album ‘Gang Signs and Prayer’ was released in February 2017 and became the first grime album to top the charts soon after In the UK. His rise to stardom has been great for the music industry and his humble and hardworking nature have made him one of the most popular artists today. This is all without mentioning that he practically announced the world former record transfer deal of Paul Pogba in 2016 as well.
Krept and Konan
Krept and Konan are a British rap duo from London, consisting of Casyo "Krept" Johnson, born 4 February 1989 from Gipsy Hill and Karl "Konan" Wilson. Croydon can claim half of the duo as Konan again hails from Thornton Heath. Krept and Konan have been a musical duo for almost a decade forming in 2009 and released their first mix tape ‘redrum’ in 2010. They shot to prominence a year later when they released a cover of Jay Z and Kanye West’s song ‘Otis’ which received millions of views on Youtube within the first week. The video was taken down after pressure from Jay Z legal team. That setback didn’t hold them back and they went on to release their 3rd mixtape ‘Young Kingz’ in 2013 as well as their first album ‘The Long Way Home’ in July 2015 featuring stars such as Rick Ross and Jeremih.
The 24 year old Nadia Rose is a fairly new addition to the UK music scene and her talents are finally being recognised. Rose released her debut EP ‘Highly Flammable’ In January 2017 with her most successful singles being ‘BOOM’ & ‘D.F.WT’. Rose came 5th in the BBC’s ‘Sound of 2017’ shortlist. Despite already making an impact on the music scene, it seems the only way is up for Nadia Rose.
Next up on our list is someone who wouldn’t really consider themselves a ‘musician’ so to speak but has shown enough recent musical impact to deserve a mention on our list. Michael Dapaah is a comedian from Croydon who many will know from his ‘mockumentary’ on YouTube entitled ‘SWIL’ (Somewhere In London). In the series he takes on a number of persona’s including a musician ‘Big Shaq’. His popularity got him an invite to Charlie Sloth’s ‘Fire in the Booth’ where he performed as ‘Big Shaq’ and ‘Mc Quakes’ (another musical persona). If you haven’t seen the various memes and videos generated from his performance you either don’t have a twitter account for have been living under a rock. His humorous performance of his single ‘mans not hot’ has been a huge hit on social media.
Now we can get onto the footballers who call Croydon home. Although Zaha was born in the Ivory Coast (and currently plays for them internationally) he and his family moved to Thornton Heath when he was just 4 years old. It’s fairly safe to call Croydon his home borough. Zaha has kept his talents local and is now in his second spell at Crystal Palace after a lack of first team opportunities at David Moyes’ Manchester United. His single best moment in a Crystal Palace jersey came in 2012 when he scored twice away to rivals Brighton to catapult Palace into the play-off final. Zaha is known for his tricks and has completed the most take-ons of any premier league player over the last 2 seasons.
Another African born footballer who moved to the borough from a young age is Victor Moses. Moses was born In Nigeria but was moved to the UK aged 11 after violence in his hometown. Like Zaha, Moses started his career at Crystal Palace after he was approached by their scouts after being impressed with his talent. Moses first came to prominence at 14 after scoring 50 goals for Palace's under-14s side. He made his debut for the eagles in November 2007 before moving to Wigan in 2010 and then Chelsea in 2012. After initially struggling to break into the side and going out on loan to various clubs, he finally started to make his mark in a Chelsea shirt after being deployed as a right wing-back. He became an integral part of Chelsea’s title winning side in 2017 and has 28 caps for Nigeria.
Unlike Zaha and Moses, Jason Puncheon was actually born in Croydon, however his football career started in another part of South London in Wimbledon. He moved with Wimbledon when they were relocated to Milton Keynes, however he was released from the club in 2006. After spells at various clubs such as Plymouth, Barnet and QPR, Puncheon finally got the opportunity to ply he trade close to home when he was loaned to Crystal Palace in 2013. After a successful six month spell at Palace, his deal was made permanent and he has remained there alongside Zaha ever since.
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