For those of us in the states just finding out, Tinie Tempah is a rapper, singer, songwriter of Nigerian descent from London, and apparently on an international level he has the most number one singles in the UK during the last decade. His debut and sophomore albums Disc-Overy and Demonstration both went Platinum & Gold respectively, along with earning multiple awards and even being crowned GQ’s Best Dressed Man of the Year back in 2012. Years later his status has only grown and his appeal has traveled over the Atlantic, where in the midst of his 3rd album Tinie Tempah has become a household name in urban music worldwide.
Youth is the latest release from the British MC, despite the fact that his reputation has already been cemented as a vet in his field. Nonetheless Youth is critiqued track by track below, and there’s certainly a handful of highlights.
“Yeah, last year was not practise year, let's get more number 1's and more plaques this year,I say a lotta blurry lines, let's talk facts this year, I might even try goin back to mass this year, yeah, told bro that I ain't jokin this year, told wifey I might even give up smokin this year, told Dumi I'ma rap with more emotion this year, keep the doors wide open this year” The intro and title track of the album is straight bars over nice production from London producer Nana Rogues, who most recently produced two records on Drake’s More Life project (Passionfruit, Skepta Interlude), making it clear that the London Hip Hop scene is officially on the rise.
Not For The Radio ft MNEK
“Uh, climb new heights and I break new grounds, got a new crib and you can't come round, this year haters gonna big me up, this year no one's gonna hold me down” More bars from the British MC and as long as you can rock with the British accent then there’s nothing not to like here, most notably however the hook from another singer/songwriter/producer from London by the name of MNEK who’s produced for everybody from Beyonce to Madonna.
“Uh, you see the hits? Lightwork, long setters, got bars, I'm a lifer, I just do it for the kids like Michelle Pfeiffer, I'm gettin paid, me and Mitch like Mekhi Pfeiffer” produced by Shift K3Y this uptempo house record is definitely one the standout tracks on the tape, Tinie Tempah coasts on this and unlike the previous record suggests, this one is without a doubt MADE FOR THE RADIO… in a good way, this one goes and it’s lightwork 😎😎😎 *TayRoc voice*
Chasing Files ft Nae
“And who cares what's going on, just put on my favorite song, gonna dance for you in slow mo, aye, we don't hurry, we don't hurry we got all this time, chasin flies” Smooth record and a better than decent album cut produced by London producer TroyBoi and featuring a relative unknown Nae who definitely does her numbers on this. This is a good one.
Mamacita ft Wizkid
“Oh, mamacita, come, let's get more familiar, I like your style, I like your style” In my mind this is the best cruise-ship-dance-floor record in many many many years… in my mind tho… *Nore voice*... that’s all in my mind but in reality this is great record and Nigerian artist Wizkid continues to take over the charts. Wizkid is using that Drake connection and doing NUMBERS with it so i salute it 💯
Text From Your Ex ft Tinashe
“I got a text from your ex, boy, she said to look through your texts, boy, I'm not the kind of girl to snoop but I had a feeling to, and now I'm looking for my next boy” Produced by Jax Jones Tinie Tempah has been had a hit with this one, as this burned the charts for the better part of this year and was likely played on all different forms of radio. They do however definitely lose points for not having Tinashe in the video… which is a major major major let down for sure
Cameras ft David Stewart
“Yeah, more photogenic than we'll ever be, sure I see your mama but that shit don't seem heredity, take you out for dinner, you say feelings is your recipe, you ain't even think what you gon' look like when you 70” Mannn this is 🔥🔥🔥 produced and featuring English producer David Stewart (not to be confused by another English musician named David Stewart who came up under Elton John) and this is one of my favorite R&B hooks of the year. Tinie coasts on this as well and this one is a phenomenal album cut that could have been a single.
If You Know ft Tiggs Da Author
“Gettin millions from the Majors, you ***** ain't behavin, them boys is under pressure, I'm a fuckin freak of nature” He lowkey snappin on this and it’s bar heavy but personally I’m good on this, still not trash at all tho!
“like holy moly, oh my god, look at my Roley, look at my squad” On this record the same applies, he can actually spit but the braggadocios raps don’t really make an impact unless you’re at the house party… and even when you’re at the house party this one probably wouldn’t get much reaction… even still like the previous one not trash at all
Girls Like ft Zara Larsson
“I know what boys like, I know what they want, they want that good thing, they wanna get some” Another uptempo dance club record this time produced by Nana Rogues, and the hook provided by Swedish singer/songwriter Zara Larsson is definitely similar to Tinashe’s output on the breakthrough single, and even still I’m not mad at it. This is another good record that serves it’s purpose.
“Side chick tried front on me, let me hit it from the back again, friends say that I'm back again, the ends say that I'm back again, my sensei say I'm back again, they know something special's happening” 🔥🔥🔥 London Hip Hop has most definitely arrived 🔥🔥🔥
They Don’t Know ft Kid Ink, Stefflon Don & AoD
“Yeah, I remember back in high school, I used to have a girl that looked just like you, yeah and with all of these flashbacks, say ain't no tellin' what I might do” Kid Ink compliments this record as well but overall I’m cool on it… however it’s not trash either tho and thus far there hasn’t been a trash record on this tape yet.
So Close ft Guy Sebastian & Bugzy Malone
“Gonna be like London's burning down, I've been grinding five years, four mixtapes, 1 EP; never got a retweet, watch how it changes now” Decent album cut produced by Nana Rogues and featuring Australian singer Guy Sebastian and British MC Bugzy Malone, look most of the others this one is hardly groundbreaking yet worth a listen all the same.
Find Me ft Jake Bugg
“Lord, forgive my need to succeed and progress, they were all my favourite rappers, now they see me as a threat, what the heck?” Unfortunately not really an ‘idols become rivals’ record but instead simply more pop infused Hip Hop and I’m still not mad at it, meanwhile the highlight is once again producer Nana Rogues who performs a beat switch around the 3 minute mark that’s definitely smooth enough to ride out to. That outro actually makes the record worth mentioning.
Rehab ft Tiggs Da Author
“You had just turned 21, I was 19, naive, very young, gettin high, eatin Chinese, gettin drunk, you let me on but you never used to let me come but let me come” Introspective raps and one of the standouts on the tape. Shoutout Tiggs Da Author all his contributions on this tape have been clean, yet once again that production by Nana Rogues is something special, especially that guitar solo by Alastair O'Donnell who deserves some recognition.
Shadows ft Bipolar Sunshine
“Today's beef then tomorrow your friends, rappers follow you, unfollow you, then follow you again” Bars but at this point the album is honestly too long, and truth be told we didn’t need this one… SKIP!
Not Letting Go ft Jess Glynne
“Now you're scratchin' on me like we're Adam and Eve, playing remix to Ignition in the back of the Jeep, ah, she like the hook but she don't know the verse, she know I love her even if I never say the words” The first single was certainly very very very radio friendly but I’m not feeling this at all, all the same it did it’s numbers and the R Kelly references throughout the record were clever enough. Not a game changer but I respect it nonetheless.
Overall this album from Tinie Tempah goes from good to very good to great but as is often the case the album is just too damn long. Even still there’s very little trash on here if indeed there’s any trash at all, with the standalone highlights being Lightwork, Cameras, Mamacita & Text From Your Ex, all of which are Platinum status by either numbers, radio play, or quality in general. It should be noted that at 17 tracks there may be only 1 or 2 skips, thus respect is due to Tinie Tempah for putting together a cohesive album (albeit 5 records too long) with a wide variety of different sounds and music that undoubtedly makes Youth an enjoyable listen. In the end the bigger story is the UK/London Hip Hop scene in it’s entirety, as with or without Drake they can most definitely spit over on the other side of the world.