Pop preview: Jamie T, on tour

O2 Academy Bristol, Thu; Guildhall, Southampton, Fri

It's tempting to see the state of British MCs in terms of some low-rent 1980s mobster film, a turf battle for the title of "king of the streets". After a long time spent as top dog, now that he's retreated from "real life" subjects, Mike Skinner's crown has slipped. Rather than, say, once-tipped artists such as Plan B or Example, the coming man would have to be Jamie T: still yet to write anything with the kind of appeal of Dry Your Eyes but, realistically, probably not that far off. It's an impression that's reinforced by his new album, Kings & Queens. While a far more streamlined and easy-on-the-ear affair than his debut, Jamie T's subjects remain unflinchingly edgy. From drugs to patricide, it all feels a bit more like a pirate radio station than BBC Radio 1. In among it all, however, the MC's gallows humour occasionally offers some light relief.

• O2 Academy Bristol, Thu; Guildhall, Southampton, Fri


John Robinson

The GuardianTramp

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