After being drip-fed his new album for over a year, Tinie Tempah finally brings us his third studio effort, Youth. Seven years on from his ground-breaking debut, Tinie, real name Patrick Okogwu, returns with his artistic formula which straddles the line between pop and rap. His tendency to cater for the former in his music is what sets him apart from the current resurgence of introspective and serious hip-hop. That’s not to say that Tinie shouldn’t be taken seriously, far from it, but his priority to entertain rather than assert himself a lyrical diarist is one I wholeheartedly agree with.
While Tinie writes lyrics which can, on the face of it, fit the rap cliché of addressing race, money and women, he does at least mix it with British humour. ‘Lightwork’ is a case in point when during the second chorus he sings “I’m gettin’ paid, like when Chris left Billie Piper”. A piece of British gossip history he intertwines with the lavish lifestyle of pop success.
I find myself enjoying this slice of hip-hop more than other recent releases in the genre.
The album’s collaborations each offer something a little different. Single ‘Mamacita’ featuring Wizkid has been stuck in my head since it’s release last year; its catchy calypso chorus is a real delight. The same goes for the 2015 earworm that was ‘Letting Go’ featuring Jess Glynne which appears on the deluxe version. We’re reminded once more of the ubiquitous Zara Larsson with ‘Girls Like’. The house style is reminiscent of Tinie’s earlier hits and breaks up the album nicely.
Despite the annoying repetition of sports car brands (amongst many other rap clichés) being mentioned in every other song, I find myself enjoying this slice of hip-hop more than other recent releases. The entertaining wordplay which describes his rise to fame (I was dropping off the mandem in the Polo, now I’m with the mandem at the Polo) is as amusing as it is creative, but at heart, he remains the same old Tinie.
By Will Hunt
Youthful exuberance from a matured artist
Lyrical clichés interspersed with originality
The pop elements help retain Tinie’s identity
|2. Not For The Radio (feat. MNEK)|
|4. Chasing Flies (feat. Nea)|
|5. Mamacita (feat. Wizkid)|
|6. Text From Your Ex (feat. Tinashe)|
|7. Cameras (feat. David Stewart)|
|8. If You Know (feat. Tiggs D Author)|
|9. Holy Moly|
|10. Girls Like (feat. Zara Larsson)|
|11. Something Special|
|12. They Don’t Know (feat. Kid Ink, Stefflon Don & AoD)|
|13. So Close (feat. Guy Sebastian & Bugzy Malone)|
|14. Find Me (feat. Jake Bugg)|
|15. Rehab (feat. Tiggs Da Author)|
|16. Shadows (feat. Bipolar Sunshine)|
|17. Not Letting Go (feat. Jess Glynne)|