sun 19/11/2017

CD: Tinie Tempah - Demonstration | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Tinie Tempah - Demonstration

CD: Tinie Tempah - Demonstration

Can the breakthrough grime-pop rapper break out further?

Demonstration - but what is being demonstrated?

Oh dear, there it is – the career-plateau pot-shot at “journalists” and “critics”. It comes about halfway through the album, on the otherwise really good 1970s blues-rock-sampling “Looking Down the Barrel”, and it cements a sad feeling that's been growing throughout the record that here is an artist who's achieved some success and now has nothing to talk about except what it's like to be an artist who's achieved some success.

See, the problem is not the pot-shot, but the fact that Tinie Tempah needs to make it. Having achieved big-time pay-day and proved his talent, he should be cutting loose by now and making the most of that talent, not picking away at the threads of his success. Sadly, though, he seems to be so stuck on the treadmill he's unable to talk about anything other than what it's like being exactly where he is, being a pop star, doing pop star things, with pop star problems.

He does it with wit, he does it with panache and great rhyming skill – “I used to sit on the settee eating a tin of spaghetti, now women think that I'm sexy because I've been on the telly,” for example, is a really great line (say it out loud) – but he's been here before, he's done rags-to-riches narratives, and it no longer feels like it's from the heart.

There's plenty on this record to enjoy: Dizzee Rascal is on blistering form on “Mosh Pit”, “Pass Out” producer Labrinth does a turn on “Lover Not a Fighter” that sounds bizarrely like an electronic Thin Lizzy, and throughout US rap tropes are dragged kicking and screaming into the sweaty British rave environment. It's a solid, individual pop album with a decent underground undercurrent. But lyrically it all feels just a little bit jaded, as if success – not criticism – has taken something away from this 24 year old.

It feels like success – not criticism – has taken something away from this 24 year old

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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