Tinie Tempah made a sudden and natural transition from underground clubs to stadiums to become one of the U.K.’s biggest breakout stars of the early 2010s. The rapper, singer, and songwriter went supernova with Disc-Overy (2010), a multi-platinum debut album that integrated hip-hop, reggae, drum’n’bass, EDM, and full-on pop with seven Top 40 singles, beginning with the chart-topping and award-winning “Pass Out,” and later including “Written in the Stars,” also a Top 20 U.S. hit. Demonstration (2013) and Youth (2017), his second and third albums, nearly doubled his tally of Top 40 singles as a headliner. All the while, Tinie’s animated guest verses became increasingly prized, granted to major hits by the likes of close associate Labrinth, Rita Ora, Cheryl Cole, and KDA. Three years on from his third album, Tinie has previewed his fourth LP with a handful of singles led by “Top Winners.”
South London native Tinie Tempah, born Patrick Chukwuem Okogwu, Jr., started recording in his teens with the group Aftershock Hooligans, and soon made his solo mixtape debut with the freely available 2005’s Chapter 1, 1-Verse 22: Buss Dat Cap. Hood Econ%mics, Room 147: The 80 Minute Course followed in 2007 on Disturbing London (aka DL), a label Tinie co-founded with his manager. Tinie’s first proper commercial release, it contained the singles “Wifey,” “Hood Economics,” and “Tears.” It also featured an appearance from Chipmunk, who had worked with Tinie on his own “Connections” — issued earlier that year — thus priming Tinie for numerous supporting roles throughout the ensuing years.
Signed to Parlophone in 2009, Tinie made his major-label debut the following February with the Labrinth-produced single “Pass Out.” An across-the-board mainstream breakthrough, it went to number one in the U.K., sent its subsequent parent release, Disc-Overy, to the top of the album chart, and went on to win a Brit Award for Best Single, as well as an Ivor Novello Award for Best Contemporary Song. Even if it hadn’t included “Pass Out,” Disc-Overy would have been immensely successful. The LP produced five additional charting singles, including the number two hit “Frisky,” the number one Eric Turner collaboration “Written in the Stars” (also a number 12 pop hit in the U.S.), and the Swedish House Mafia production “Miami 2 Ibiza,” which reached the fourth position. During this barrage of hits, Tinie also appeared on Tinchy Stryder’s number 22 hit “Game Over.”
Although three years passed between Tinie’s first and second albums, the artist issued mixtapes such as Birthday and was the common factor in a slew of Top Ten hits, namely JLS’ “Eyes Wide Shut,” Labrinth’s “Earthquake,” Rita Ora’s chart-crowning “R.I.P.,” and Calvin Harris’ “Drinking from the Bottle.” Tinie offered his follow-up, the number three chart entry Demonstration, in November 2013, and racked up more Top Ten singles with “Trampoline,” on which he was joined by 2 Chainz, and “Children of the Sun,” featuring John Martin. Between 2014 and 2015, DVBBS and Borgeous’ “Tsunami (Jump),” Cheryl Cole’s “Crazy Stupid Love,” and KDA’s “Turn the Music Louder (Rumble)” all became number one pop hits with Tinie in supporting roles. Another supplemental mixtape, Junk Food, was released toward the end of the latter year. Tinie’s third proper full-length, Youth, materialized in April 2017 and continued his streak of Top Ten entries. It was promoted by his third number one single as a headliner, “Not Letting Go” (featuring Jess Glynne), and the number five hit “Girls Like” (with Zara Larsson).
On the way to his fourth album in 2020, Tinie offered numerous singles, most notably “Top Winners,” a collaboration with Not3s.