Swagger Like Us: MC Tinie Tempah, who topped both MTV Base lists and won two Brit Awards (Photo: Getty Images)
Fans of MTV Base U.K., the cable and satellite-delivered urban-music TV network, became outspoken when some claimed they suspected something unsavory about the inaugural ranking for the country’s best MC.
They used the blogosphere to express their disagreement with not only the results of the first ever Top 10 “Best of the Best: U.K. MCs 2010,” announced on February 20, but also the methodology used to select the winners.
A subsidiary of MTV Networks targeting 14 to 34-year-old fans of R&B, hip-hop and other urban sub-genres such as grime and dubstep, MTV Base invited a host of established urban-music journalists, radio DJs, and TV presenters to pick the 10 most impressive MCs.
They crowned Tinie Tempah the winner. A rapper and grime act admired for his improvisational vocals, Tinie Tempah apparently had the “buzz, impact, MCing ability, acclaim and swagger” required to win.
After recently walking away with two awards at this year’s BRITS, the U.K. equivalent of the Grammys, his victory surprised no one. And he proudly disclosed the news on his website: “Yours Truly Tops The MTV Base Best Of The Best U.K. MCs’ List for 2010.”
What riled some fans was the ranking of the remaining nine on the original list and the changed one.
At the last minute, the list of winners was allegedly changed and longtime U.K. grime star Dizzee Rascal came from nowhere to replace rival Skepta at the No. 2 spot. Skepta dropped to third place in the changed list.
Chipmunk and Lowkey, two other popular grime/hip-hop acts not on the first list, turned up jointly at No. 10.
These new additions forced Wretch 32, previously at No. 8 and Maxsta (No. 10) out from what became the final list.
“To put it in context, 40% of the list mysteriously changed at the last minute,” declared Jesal ‘Jay Soul’ Padania on his blog on the RapReviews.com.
Another blogger Max (and current BBC 1Xtra radio DJ) complained on thisismax.net. However, the beef she had was with the original list.
“Two major names in the game were left out – Dizzee Rascal and Chipmunk; due to pressure the list was changed a day before filming the special happened, Lowkey was added as a late addition to … I feel it’s important for you the music fan to see what really goes on behind the scenes sometimes. How can you leave out two artists that have made such an impact in music…and only add them due to pressure?”
She admits her decision to express her views was influenced by Steve Stoute’s full-page New York Times advertisement protesting about the selection of this year’s Grammy winners.
Although the changes made by MTV Based have been described as “controversial” among the country’s MC observers, neither Wretch 32 nor Maxsta have complained on their respective websites.
However, that did not stop Ghetts, another established U.K. MC, who was not on either list from responding by posting a video on YouTube called ‘Who’s On the Official Panel’ declaring in his lyrics: “You can’t get away; you can’t escape this…Everyone knows I’m the best MC; Why the f*** should I have to say this.”
Tinie Tempah and his management company at DL Records did not reply by press time when asked to comment on the dispute.
On MTV’s website Joseph Patterson, an editor and writer for the site, offered the following explanation of how the Best of the Best UK MC’s 2010 list was compiled:
“Due to the fact that the panel nominations were being submitted daily, the list changed a number of times – right up to the day before filming. It was revised a number of times, whenever additional nominations were scored, hence the original list which has been posted online via a number of blogs, which is actually just one of many revised lists.
A lot of other MCs were discussed and mentioned besides the ones featured on the final Top 10, such as Wretch 32, Sway, Maxsta, K Koke and JME, to name but a few. But they didn’t score enough points to make the final list, but did get an honourable mention within the show.
On the day of filming, the panel had the right to change the order and make additions to the list, but only if a strong enough argument was made and a majority vote reached, hence the inclusion of Lowkey.”
1. Tinie Tempah
2. Dizzee Rascal
4. Pro Green
8. P Money
9. D Double E
10. Chipmunk & Lowkey
ORIGINAL FINAL LIST (Alleged):
1. Tinie Tempah
3. P Money
5. D Double E
7. Wretch 32
8. Professor Green