When a label announces that one of its major autumn pop releases contains "no obviously constructed singles", it usually signals that the artist has lost their mojo. As applied to Tinie Tempah's second album, it's more a ruse to gently lower expectations. Indisputably, there are some natural singles here, such as the irresistible steel-drums-and-rap confection Trampoline, and the rock-hop duel A Heart Can Save the World, which has Tinie rapping fluent rings around Emeli Sandé's histrionic chorus. But the album is unlikely to yield the five hits of his 2011 debut: rather than creating radio-loving hooks, Tinie has expended his energies on honing lyrics and flow. Sonically, he's plumped for stark electronics that recall his teen years as a grime MC – a period recreated, with fellow rapper-turned-popster Dizzee Rascal, on the chilly Mosh Pit – but essentially the music is there to serve his observant lyrics. More than any other English MC, he's mastered the art of interweaving boasts and banality: lines such as "My mansion is so tidy, but the neighbours hate my mistress 'cos she never wears no nightie" are sheer British genius.
Tinie Tempah: Demonstration – review
Caroline Sullivan writes about rock and pop for the Guardian