Tinie Tempah, ‘Pass Out’December 24, 2010
British rappers. They’re such nice young men, aren’t they? No bitches, hoes and bullet holes for them, no sir. No, they want to spit rhymes about beans on toast, making sure you get a decent feed even when you’re raving in Ibiza, and solving their personal clothes mountain by stashing some at their aunt’s house. I just wonder how often Tinie Tempah visits his aunt – you know, to pick up an outfit he’s just remembered – or whether his threads just gather dust. He’d be as well off handing them over to charity. Maybe that’s a problem for the notorious Difficult Wardrobe Decisions Second Album.
“This is my favourite one,” lies Junior, dashing yesterday’s New Pop Order. Still, she flips out to every on-/off-beat, gamely attempting to pin down Labrinth’s riddims, bumping into the problem we all face: just what is ‘Pass Out’? It’s hip hop, sure, but punctuated by dancehall flavours, smeared with grime and – eventually – exploding into drum’n'bass. That leap into hyperdrive for the final chorus always makes me laugh. It’s the only sane reaction to that kind of balls-out self-assurance. But long before the two-step fallout, ‘Pass Out”s swagger has pulled you in with a hopscotch synth line, a flow peppered with bons mots, and a shameless R&B chorus that kidnaps any lingering waverers.
Bang bang bang, idea after scheme after brainwave, ‘Pass Out’ pushes it all together like Play-Doh, stuffs it in a press and squeezes it out again through a best-single-of-the-year-shaped hole. “It sounds like Batman,” is Junior’s final revelation and while I’ve no clue what she means, I know she’s right.