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N-Dubz - Uncle B
For a moment, N-Dubz looked likely to become a victim of their flash-in-the pan success. Fazer, Tulisa and Dappy captivated the masses to earn a Mobo Award in 2007, followed by a swift deal with Polydor to release their hit single, 'Better Not Waste My Time'. But then came the obligatory attempts to charm the mainstream, with Dappy even going so far as to trade gags with Simon Amstell on Never Mind the Buzzcocks. Bad move? Perhaps. As has been the case with many underground crews caught up in the hype, they have since faced an inevitable crash back down to street level - major deal revoked - and lost a chunk of their credibility in the process.
Their overdue debut album, Uncle B, seems intent on rectifying these wrongs, reminding listeners that their underground acclaim didn't come without reason. Slickly produced hip-hop, grime and r'n'b form the backdrop to Tulisa's better-than-most vocals and the whimsical rhymeplay of Fazer and Dappy, who touch on everything from cheating ('Ouch'), "fake" MCs ('Defeat You') to fornication. "I don't mean to be pushy, pushy/I'm just in it for the pussy, pussy," snarls Dappy on the shameless 'Sex', which deserves a government warning in its own right.
Still, they're not as mean as the So Solid Crew of yesteryear, nor as clichéd, and their faux bravado is just what you'd expect from these poster kids for urban Britannia. Parents won't be too impressed, mind you, but Uncle B will likely be lauded for its furious party jams made with the Skins generation of reckless teens in mind. All that, and it's actually quite a good listen.
Picture: PA Photos