On Tuesday, we shared some of Tinie Tempah’s thoughts on mentally transitioning from the UK to the US as an up-and-coming artist in the hectic world of hip-hop. Because the London native goes back and forth across the pond so frequently, we also asked Tinie to give us a cheat sheet of sorts, helping to get us looped-in to the who’s who of British rap. Check out his list of personal favorites below, because after all, you never know if one of these guys might be next.
GIGGS (IF YOU LIKE: Gucci Mane)
“Definitely be on the lookout for Giggs, he?s doing his thing,” preached Tinie. After collaborating with B.o.B and a slew of other big-name British rappers, Giggs continues spitting coke-rap bars for days. Style-wise, Tinie compared him to both Young Jeezy and Gucci; embodying the hustler image, Giggs served a two-year bid for a gun charge back in 2003, but inked with XL Recordings (see: M.I.A., Tyler, The Creator, Dizzee Rascal) to distribute his third solo LP next year off of self-made label, SN1 Entertainment.
With such an oversaturation of music from ?up-and-coming? rappers these days, it?s a constant struggle to differentiate the rookies with potential from the mediocre flashes in the pan. Every day, it seems, there?s a new solo artist, duo or squad that you’re compelled to listen to, and just keeping track of the influx of talent calls can be exhausting for listeners. If you?re a rapper or emcee trying to penetrate ?the game,? it must be intimidating, right? Now imagine you?ve got an extra handicap: You?re British.
With an alley-oop assist from Eric Turner?s booming ?Written In The Stars? chorus, the Capitol-drafted English import rapper Tinie Tempah is gaining early momentum on this side of the pond, and remains determined to do something that very few UK spitters have done before: “break” in America. Tinie has done quite well for himself in his native U.K., as his most recent album Disc-Overy debuted at #1 on the British charts and launched four Top Five singles (including two number ones), and was England’s top-selling debut album by a Brit in 2010. Two BRIT Awards, a recent BET Award for Best International UK Artist and a well-reviewed performance at Glastonbury later, it appears the young rapper is getting on the board fast. But even with those accolades under his belt, finding quick success in America isn?t a given, and Tinie knows that. Between breaking the barriers at crossover radio without getting “too pop” while also getting acclimated with our snooty, regionally-structured hip hop scene, it would appear that his path is a bit steep.
When we sat down to interview Tinie earlier this month, he told us all about his transitional journey from overseas thus far. Lucky for him, some friends of ours helped him mentally prepare for this moment. While supporting The Script on tour in Australia, Tinie received a much-needed pep talk from the band that had experienced some tough American crowds of their own when they first made the North Atlantic journey. ?Just brace yourself,? they told him, ?some of the shows are going to be a little bit gun-wrenching.? The coached warning was helpful and wound up serving as an airbag when Tinie performed before crowds of ten to twenty thousand people one night, and then under one hundred the next. ?It has been fun, and more than anything, it?s a humbling experience ?cause is just shows that, you know, that you?ve never really made it until you?ve made it, and there?s always something more you can be doing, so, yeah, I like it? it?s all part of the game.?
Shakira, Shakira! On Monday, we gave you a 30-second glimpse of Shakira’s latest hip-shaking anthem “Loca,” but now we’ve got the whole enchilada for you. There isn’t much in the way of plot, but considering the manner in which Shakira is able to connect with the camera (and, by extension, the viewers of the video), who cares? But, if you’re looking for a summary, here goes: Under some seriously foreboding Barcelona skies, Shakira straps on a pair of old school roller skates, boogies her way down a beachside boardwalk, climbs on the back of a motorcycle and then shimmies so saucily that we found ourselves surprised that the ominous clouds above didn’t shoot out bolts of lightning in response.
As we’ve come to expect from Shakira, the song is filled with catchy choruses, worldly horns and charmingly broken English. She’s also joined by the UK grime legend Dizzee Rascal, who contributes some spirited raps to the song. Speaking of raps, Shakira even takes the time to spit out a few verses in this song, which, we believe, is a first for her. Enjoy this video on your computer monitor for the next few days, but be sure to tune into VH1’s Top 20 Video Countdown this weekend to catch it in the comfort of your own living room.