Be still, close your eyes and Tinie Tempah, just twenty-one but well on the way to superstardom, will guide you. Sporting an already formidable career which boasts several UK chart-topping tracks and four nominations at this year’s 15th annual Mobo Awards, it is unsurprising that his debut album Disc-overy has already reached gold in the UK.
Tinie has been classified as the latest of the generation of UK grime artists to monopolise the charts. But, from the electronic scales rippling up and down like a rush of adrenalin in the Intro, this album scopes an innovative variety of rap, electro and soul.
Though perhaps not perfect, (Tinie has received considerable flack for including the word ‘overy’ in the title) the better songs are distributed cleverly across the album. Of his three hit singles, Pass Out and Written in the Stars are in the first half of the album while to herald the latter part, Frisky is paired with Miami 2 Ibiza; the track which Radio One’s Zane Lowe deemed in August as ‘this week’s Hottest Record in the World’. Tinie’s energy rarely falters and his frequent use of collaborating artists means that the album achieves a high level of variety. His choice of artist is well-considered with Ellie Goulding and Emeli Sandé both delivering flawless performances on their respective tracks Wonderman and Let Go.
It’s an album which reflects on the differences between his life before and after success. Indeed it’s hard not to like Tinie but it is a little too easy to speculate on his character. Founding a deep ambition from an early age and with talent to suit, he dropped Patrick Chukuchewiewubacamaka Okobguwoogu J for Tinie. He celebrated his signing to Parlophone by running a competition on his blog which invited the winner to - of all places - High Tea at Claridges. He is a man who has loved and dreamed the limelight and is not afraid to enjoy it when it has - tick - been attained. As the lyrics of Wonderman parade ‘bored of being nameless…imagine when it changes…and when the fans start grabbing you show gratitude with a little brag or two…’
He is a man who plays his cards well. Polite but self-assured, he exhibits a persona which though adopted countless times before, appears both fresh and exciting. His music is a tribute to the times; poppy, catchy, slick. Perhaps too slick.
The truth is it’s hard to shake the feeling that there is more to Tinie than what this album represents. Perhaps it is his youth, perhaps it is his well-tuned perception of what exactly is needed to make a chart-topping track, but its seems his real potential is only just beginning to show. And though it is apparent Tinie isn’t just in the business for the fame, his love of music could spurn him to even better places than Disc-overy.
If the vibrancy of the album is anything to go by, Tinie will undoubtedly be an incredible performer. Especially if he had his dream band behind him….opening up to the Independent, Tinie listed his perfect support; Kanye on vocals, Hendrix on guitar, Fab Moretti from the Strokes on drums while Alicia Keys on, well, keys. To top it off no other than Cee-Lo Green will groove the bass. As Tinie says ‘I’m not even sure if he plays the bass, but he looks like he could do…I’d want him involved’.
Right now however Tinie is doing pretty well by himself. And while it is easy to be content with Disc-overy, I can’t wait to see what he produces in the future.
Highlights :: "Wonderman", "Miami 2 Ibiza" and "Written in the Stars"