Tinie Tempah: Youth review – noughties rapper grows up, but pop is his playground

Parlophone/Disturbing London

Tinie Tempah is a product of the late noughties, when British rap was less concerned with credibility and more with chasing chart success – an era when Skepta released the electro-nightmare that was Rolex Sweep, and Wiley was heading down a road that would eventually see him collaborate with Ed Sheeran. So can Tinie thrive at a time when rap seems to be getting grittier, artier and more inward-looking again? There are moments on Youth – his first album in four years – when the south Londoner mimics the new age of rap convincingly: Something Special is back-to-basics grime; If You Know embraces the groggy R&B-trap of Drake. But it’s when he moves more brazenly into pop proper that Tempah really shines. Girls Like (featuring Zara Larsson) is already deservedly ubiquitous, while Text from Your Ex, a collaboration with trendy American R&B singer Tinashe, is good enough to proceed immediately into the infidelity-themed pop canon.

Contributor

Rachel Aroesti

The GuardianTramp

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