Stormzy recorded "This Is What I Mean" at a writing camp on Osea Island, Essex. It started with some production from Knox Brown, and chord progression by P2J. "We had this idea for a song where I wanted to use all my favorite artists, like how a painter might use different brushes and different colors," Stormzy told i-D magazine
. "I didn't want them to just do verses, I wanted to paint with their voices. So P2J sampled Jacob Collier's voice, and turned that into something eerie, and we used that as the basis for this song and the sample - it just became more and more epic. It was one of those ideas, like that first song, that evolved over time."
"It's about trying to do something that feels good and right, something that strikes a chord within my soul and my spirit," he added. "It's like painting: if it feels right to put some red on the canvas we do; if we want to cover it in blue we do. This song is a testament to that process."