Songs about, or literally called, the weekend by artists like John Mayer, Jonas Blue, and SZA have all passed the vibe check. Now, Stormzy & RAYE can add themselves to that list as well with their new rap-sung collaboration called, appropriately, “The Weekend.” The pair are no strangers to one another, as RAYE shared in an IG post: “Stormz jumped on a song of mine called ambition 7 years ago, and in the lyrics I’m talking bout how huge my dreams are, and it’s wild to see how God has blessed it since.”
Fast forward a bit, and Stormzy is, arguably, the world’s most recognizable grime artist, while RAYE, despite roadblocks she has since overcome, has had a massive year so far with her hit “Escapism” and stellar album My 21st Century Blues. Both artists are going nowhere but up, and are bringing each other along for the ride.
Their friendship and evident chemistry are front and center on “The Weekend,” a midtempo trap-led duet with minimal production to distract from the story being told. RAYE starts the track off with an Amy Winehouse homage vocally, before trading steamy requests for personal pleasure back and forth with Stormzy: “Is Monday alright? / No, Monday I can’t / Aight, Tuesday I’ll slide / No, Tuesday is hard for me / What? Is Wednesday cool? / Wednesday I work late… I was thinkin’ bout it/How bout a Thursday, ayy? / (Hm, Thursday is tight.)” Finally, by the time the weekend arrives, their schedules line up.
Stormzy tries to sweet talk his way into getting with RAYE, hyping up her success and hailing their similar upbringings: “’What? You know RAYE?’ ‘Yeah man, we’re from the same ends. Pretty women gettin’ money, yeah, it all makes sense.” He can’t help but hide his affection and desire, and RAYE is living for it. It’s almost like she is dancing around him on the couch, every so slightly teasing him to get the vibe going. Musically, RAYE often stays in the picture while Stormzy spits, interjecting some sensual flair to the verses with adlibs and quick-witted responses.
RAYE sounds sweet enough on the chorus, but behind that sweetness is a woman with intention. Like SZA, she wants her man on the weekend. She works hard for that time, and, in her eyes, she’s earned it. And she’s ready to move. “’Call me / I was thinking we could spend some time babe / But don’t, don’t play no game with me, honey / Cause I’m workin’ all week, Monday to Friday / Let’s stay in the weekend.’”
RAYE certainly does not need the rub right now, but this track is a clear indication that not only was her ascension to the top exactly what she wanted, but it’s almost like she manifested it herself. With an evocative and expressive yet purely artistic voice, RAYE is taking full advantage of her moment.