Chris Kirkwood

Review: Tinie Tempah’s ‘Youth’ doesn’t quite deliver

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‘Youth’ is a poppy journey through Tinie Tempah’s mind that leaves much to be desired.

After bursting onto the scene in 2010 with his album ‘Disc-Overy’, Tinie Tempah has failed to reach the heights of success that his debut record did.

His follow up, ‘Demonstration’, was too Americanised and didn’t feel real, but his last release, mix-tape ‘Junk Food’ was more of what made Tinie such a hit and there were high hopes for his latest studio album ‘Youth’.

The album is well-rounded and is certainly his best release since his debut album, but still leaves something to be desired. It is clear that Tinie has gone back to his roots with this record, paying homage to his hometown of London, however, too many hooks dampen the album.

There are standout tracks on the record. ‘Holy Moly’ shows just how charismatic Tinie can be, highlighting the best of his rhymes as well as demonstrating the comedic lines that he excels in.

‘Lightwork’, ‘Not For The Radio’ and ‘Text From Your Ex’ are great highlights from the album which show how diverse the London MC can be. Tinie has built his reputation on punch lines and offers a flow that no other UK rapper does.

‘Find Me’, featuring relative newcomer Jake Bugg, is perhaps the best song on the album, and for once a bit of a different one. A folky tune, it is more suited to Bugg’s voice and offers something alternative to anything else on the record.

However, the album can become repetitive with a number of tracks feeling like they could have been left off completely. Too many of the songs on the album have been released early for it to feel completely new. ‘Girls Like’ and ‘Mamacita’ were both released in early 2016, while ‘Not Letting Go’ was released in 2015 and although are all great songs, have been heard too much to feel fresh.

Ultimately, the album doesn’t feel raw and honest enough to hit home. There are moments in the album such as tracks like ‘Shadows’ and ‘So Close’ where you get the feeling like Tinie is coming from the heart, but too many references to the party lifestyle make it feel like any other rap record.

In those moments of honesty is where the record really shines. If Tinie had embraced his rap side and gone for credibility and not chart success then perhaps the album would have offered more.

On the whole, the album is still a good offering from Tinie who appears to have recovered from the disappointment of his previous records. ‘Youth’ is a great pop album which will do well enough in the charts, but Tinie will have to offer more with his next endeavour.

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