Disc-Overy

The PlayStation-bleepy crossbreed of hip-hop and house known as grime has become England's new chart-pop. On his debut, 22-year-old MC-producer Tinie Tempah dreams of even wider glory: "Disturbing London, baby, we about to branch out," he rhymes like a psyched-up robot over neon-lit synths on the irresistible "Pass Out." Tinie is a smart and sly hook maestro, mixing the flashy and the mundane with lyrics like "I've got so many clothes I keep some in my aunt's house." He skirts cheesiness on tracks like the trance headbanger "Miami 2 Ibiza." But the closer to hip-hop he gets, the better: On the slow-rollin' "Snap," stripped-down beats are perfect for his simple, brash enthusiasm.

Listen to "Pass Out":

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From The Archives Issue 1131: May 26, 2011