The brand new single is out on Monday!!!
To pre-order this amazing new single please just simply text TEN to 60300
Lyricist, mentor, star in waiting: Tenny Ten aka 10Shott is the latest talent to be unearthed from the UK urban scene. With a smooth tongue, stylish swagger and knack for an ear-catching hook, his appeal is wide-ranging and undeniable – and behind it is an impressive story of success against the odds and an artist of real substance, capable of pushing British music even further forward.
Tenny was born and raised in Wolverhampton – an unlikely breeding ground for hip-hop talent, to say the least. The child of a mother who sang backing vocals for Culture Club and UB40 and a father who played keyboards with Thin Lizzy, Tenny grew up accustomed to spending time in an atmosphere where music was prioritised, and penned his first bars as a teenager, inspired by the successes of his favourite football team, Liverpool. Nonetheless, the path out of Wolverhampton wasn’t an easy one to find – and it became an even tougher one during the early 2000s, just when Tenny was beginning to find his artistic feet, when street violence escalated – leading to the effective closure of the town’s entire hip-hop scene. “Everyone was afraid to book black acts here because they were afraid there’d be a stabbing,” says Tenny wryly. “I even spoke to a black promoter who told me he didn’t want any black people in his club – just white people in suits.”
Despite the fact that the odds were stacked against him, Tenny’s commitment to his craft paid off. His tough route to success was reflected in the title of his first independently-released mixtape, 2007’s Ghetto Brick Road, a collection of 30 snappy, sharp freestyles which garnered a four-star review from Hip Hop Connection that labelled Tenny “one of the best British MCs to date”; its highlight was the powerful Tin Soldiers, on which Tenny railed against the Iraq War over epic chorales and sampled news snippets. The mixtape was so titled because, in Tenny’s own words, he wanted to explain that “there is light on the other side of the hood”, and as such it mirrored his own life, where his burgeoning skills and success were proving an effective path off the streets. “I’d be hanging out with friends on a street corner, up to no good, and I’d be thinking – I wanna go home, write some bars, finish that track, book a studio! It kept me out of a lot of trouble,” he says.
Ghetto Brick Road was released under Tenny’s first stage name, 10Shott, a moniker that stems from his basketball prowess, specifically one game in which a zoning Tenny shot 10 hoops, as accurate on the mic as on the court. The press and radio acclaim it received – with praise coming from names such as Tim Westwood and Ras Kwame – has led to Tenny being snapped up by Zy Records; currently on tour with some of the UK’s biggest emerging pop stars – Chipmunk, Daisy Dares You and Tinie Tempah – his charismatic live performances are going down a storm. His talent has also spread across the pond, with the anthemic monster hook from his Swagnificent track sparking interest from the Def Jam stable.
It is unsurprising when you consider how Tenny’s material continues to go from strength to strength. Debut single Oh My Dayz, co-produced by platinum album producer Mr Woo (Death Row/Suge Knight/Cam’ron) and released on 1 March, is an irresistible electro-rave banger. Both lairy and nimble, with an “off the Richter, off the Richter” hook that lodges immovably in your head, it’s a feel-good track that perfectly depicts a great night out.
Tenny is nothing if not versatile, though. Unlike the majority of crossover urban artists of late, Tenny grew up not on the energy of grime but on the lyrical and narrative skills of the US hip-hop greats: Tupac, Biggie and in particular Method Man and Redman. Now, he prides himself on crafting material of similar substance, depth and resonance. He’s also aided by the relaxed, laconic swagger of his flow. On Designer Girl, for instance, he masterfully crafts a portrayal of the titular character, a queen bee who’s “in charge like Obama” and who has never had to stand in a queue in her life. “I had so much fun writing the verses,” says Tenny. “And yes, that’s my type of girl! I like girls who can look after themselves.”
On Leave Us Alone, Tenny turns his attentions to a very different sort of woman: an interfering mother-in-law. Over a jaunty ska beat, Tenny delivers a hilarious comedy of manners – inspired by a real-life situation – that audiences everywhere will be able to identify with, along the way delivering punchlines at every turn and rhyming “hard-boiled” with “gargoyle”. Meanwhile, Tenny indulges his sense of humour further on Get Blown, on which storming, ravey beats are juxtaposed with Tenny rapping in a posh accent for maximum comedic purpose; it is effective without being remotely gimmicky. His twin brother Jodi, aka Conman, also turns up on Twin Bro, a description of two brothers as alike as they are similar.
On a more serious note, Tenny’s background has meant that he is fully committed to delivering a positive message to young fans as well as banging music: a recent school tour went down so well that one school offered him a full-time role as mentor. “I’ve got nieces and nephews,” says Tenny, “and I hate the road they might go down. I want to show these kids that a little Wolverhampton boy from the Midlands is now going on tour with these big names – we can do this, keep that belief, that solid grind and that work ethic. And I think they’re hearing me – they’ll come back to me and tell me they want to be a dancer or something now, and I tell them to stick at it.”
Tenny Ten’s album is set to drop on 10/10/2010 – a memorable date for a memorable artist.