Tinie Tempah's Demonstration - What you need to know
After 2010’s double-platinum selling Disc-Overy and a delay of over a year since the new album’s completion, Tinie Tempah is back with his sophomore effort, Demonstration.
Long time no see…
So, why the long wait? Various reasons have been given since 2011 when Demonstration was originally slated for release. Initially the rapper wanted to concentrate on cracking America and more time to work on the new record, with a source telling the Daily Star that he didn’t want fans to feel short-changed by a rushed release. When the album was finally finished towards the end of 2012, the huge merger between Universal Music and EMI meant a choice between delaying the release again, or having separate release dates for the UK and the US. Tinie decided to wait so he could release in both territories at the same time. Now, the wait is over.
What are the standout tracks?
Opening track ‘Someday (Place in the Sun)’ kicks the album off with its big, piano-led intro accompanied by Ella Eyre’s vocal, before dissolving into a bubbling synth bassline and Tinie’s signature rapping style, followed by the Diplo-produced single ‘Trampoline’, with it’s bouncing bass, 808-style drum patterns and effects that sound as if they came straight out of a 90s Nintendo game.
‘Mosh Pit’ features Dizzee Rascal delivering one of the album’s best verses, along with Ty Dolla $ign, over a beat that is a raucous mash-up of grime, hip-hop and dubstep, with a little drum & bass thrown in for good measure. The Gator Creek-sampling ‘Looking Down the Barrel’ is one of the most interesting cuts on the record, while ‘Witch Doctor Woman’ features Candice Pillay singing over clanking, almost tribal rhythms.
The Labrinth-produced, Daft Punk-referencing ‘Lover Not A Fighter’ sees Tinie rapping about his council-block upbringing and is one of several tracks on the album built around a huge, sing-along chorus. Similarly, ‘Heroes’ features Laura Mvula and has an epic, arena-filler of a hook.
Roll call, please…
In addition to an assembly of producers that includes Labrinth, Diplo, iSHi, Naughty Boy, Crada, Ballistiq and Alex The Kid, Demonstration also features a host of collaborators: as well as those already mentioned, Emeli Sandé, 2 Chainz, John Martin, Big Sean, Sway Clarke II and Paloma Faith all appear on the album. In fact, there are only 2 tracks that do not list any collaborators.
Was it worth the wait?
There are enough strong tracks on Demonstration to make the answer a ‘yes’, but a couple of them do feel a little generic. The producers involved have enjoyed a lot of commercial success in recent years and in places some are sticking to a tried-and-tested formula. Combine this with a list of collaborators that reads like the roll call at a Brit School graduation ceremony and you are left wondering how much room there is left for Tinie himself.
Fortunately, when you brush aside the obligatory references to champagne & designer clothes, there is a lot more substance to his lyrics and delivery, allowing his personality to really shine through. Wherever this happens on the album, it becomes quite brilliant. Demonstration is a slab of slickly produced grime-pop that features some real bangers and should see the London rapper repeat the sort of commercial success achieved by his debut. It will be very interesting to see where he goes next.