While 22-year-old British act Patrick Okogwu has found considerable success in his home country, the budding artist better known as Tinie Tempah is well aware of the difficulties making it big stateside. Looking to make a convincing splash across the pond, Tempah offers up a hearty sample of talent and charisma with the aptly-titled debut album Disc-Overy.
Right from the beginning it’s evident that Tempah wants to break away from the normal sounds and styles found on the radio, with “Simply Unforgettable” chiseling an effective blend of dub step, grime and Hip Hop right into our eardrums. Strangely enough, this unique aim is immediately erased when Tempah buddies up with Wiz Khalifa on “Til I’m Gone.” Backed by the accessible pop production of Stargate, Tinie sounds more conventional in delivery and lyricism, trading in his usual flare for a moderate performance.
To his credit though, the impressive moments on Disc-Overy are far from short, with “Wonderman” (featuring UK turned U.S. phenomenon Ellie Goulding) putting Leslie Levine’s theory into motion (“Bored of being nameless, boring of feeling awkward / When you walk up in the mall and can’t afford a pair of trainers / Imagine when it changes / Imagine satisfaction when you make it”) and “Snap” showing off his creative side. On the latter track, Tempah blazes through his nostalgic memory bank over a reggae-influenced backdrop, reminiscing about family gatherings and teenage flings. Short but sweet, “Snap” delivers feel-good vibe that many listeners can relate to.
With an emphasis on girls and glamour, Tempah’s lack of adept lyricism and content becomes the biggest hindrance on Disc-Overy. Tracks like “Frisky” and “Miami 2 Ibiza” may initially play by with enough vivacity to start a dance party; however these boisterous cuts scarcely hold replay value. Other records like “Written In The Stars” and “Love Suicide” find Tempah taking a backseat to lesser known hook writers, with his words subsequently losing significance by song’s end. “Let Go” shows a more serious Tempah begrudging the tiresome hours spent upholding his rock star lifestyle, however the performance sounds less convincing considering the amount of time on the album he boasts about clothes, popping bottles and the “$100,000 he’ll sprinkle.”
Disc-Overy reveals an artist who has the creative aptitude to back up his eclectic style. However, the overall execution on his first go-round is stuck somewhere between barrenly entertaining and monotonous, a result of his attempt to stand out by fitting in. With that said, Tinie Tempah will certainly be a young artist to watch for in the future.