The Worst of The Worst: Tinie Tempah


Tinie Tempah, once half-respected member of the grime scene, now go-to record selling cash cow. I recently reviewed Kano’s excellent fifth album- Made In The Manor, and shortly after, Tinie Tempah emerged onto my Spotify’s screen. The two are literally incomparable, material and ability wise; complete polar opposites. And for two artists of similar beginnings, surely there was a reason why Tinie Tempah is a musician with such a tainted artistry.

Signs of Tinie Tempah’s ability as an MC, or indeed lack of, were evident from as early as his first singles. If you cast your eyes back to 2010, you’ll remember that Tempah’s big break came with the Labrinth-helmed Pass Out, followed by Frisky, and then Written In The Stars. The tracks did amazingly well commercially, notching in at number one, number two and number one respectively. His debut album Disc-Overy, then went on to hit the number one spot as well.

These three singles boasted lyrics like ‘they say hello, they say hola, and they say bonjour / I’m pissed, I never got to fly on a Concord / I been South Hampton but I’ve never been to Scunthorpe’, and ‘would you risk it for a chocolate biscuit’. Tempah knew from day one the angle of which he would climb the commercial ladder- to sell out. With the release of his debut, Tempah and his team enlisted whoever was selling records at the time- Ellie Goulding, Wiz Khalifa, Swedish House Mafia, and threw together an embarrassing representation of what can’t even be called British rap.

That being said, being poppy and cheesy isn’t illegal, and most rappers have dipped into the avenues of charts to make a few bucks every now and again. However, with Tinie Tempah there’s never been any desire to release credible music, even the likes of Professor Green you can cast your eyes back on, or Chip you can began to resonate with once more, but Tempah, his only interest is the money. What solidifies my opinions on Tempah and his laziness, is his guest verse on Chase & Status’ Hitz. At what stands as one of the best tracks on the album, Tempah actually delivers a pretty decent verse. ‘I’ve been getting real friendly with the banks man / And I don’t mean Phil, Carlton, Hilary or Ashley / Papz see me up in the vicinity and flash me.’

Following Hitz, I thought that maybe things may have began to change with Tempah’s outlook on artistry, but how wrong I was- what would follow the blip of integrity found on Hitz, was some of his worst material to date. His guest verse on Labrinth’s Earthquake marked the beginning of an even lesser standard of music- ‘yeah, fire fire, we ’bout to set this place on fire, without a match or lighters’. Then came an act of sabotage via Rita Ora’s RIP. Written by Drake, produced by Chase & Status, sampled using Nneka, introduced the pop-star-power of the fresh-faced Rita Ora, what could go wrong? Tinie Tempah had a guest verse on the track. ‘I’ll make you call me Daddy, even though you’re not my daughter, baby I ain’t talkin’ ’bout books when I say I’ll take you across the border’.

The last few years to present day doesn’t look any brighter for Tinie Tempah and his disregard for integrity, humility or progression as an artist. Tsunami (Jump), Crazy Stupid Love, Not Letting Go, featuring the plainest of the Janes- Jess Glynne, and Turn The Music Louder, all horrible pieces of music, yet all managing to hit the number one spot.

Writing about Tinie Tempah for this long has started to make me feel weary, and trawling through his back-catalogue of singles, noting the millions of views per music video, is something that nobody should be subjected to. It’s difficult to word the injustice at which Tinie Tempah boasts a net worth more than many of us can only dream of, but the real injustice comes when comparing his accolades to those considered great, and that’s the final thought I shall leave you with.

Tinie Tempah
UK number one singles- 7
BRIT Awards- 2
MOBO Awards- 4
UK number one albums- 1
BET Awards- 1

UK number one singles

Radiohead- 0
Nas- 0
Outkast- 0

BRIT Awards
Portishead- 0
Wu-Tang Clan- 0
Kendrick Lamar- 0

MOBO Awards
Kano- 1
JME- 1
Dizzee Rascal- 1

UK number one albums
A Tribe Called Quest- 0
Dr Dre- 0
Bob Marley- 0

BET Awards
Eminem- 0
Q Tip- 0
Justin Timberlake- 0


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