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Dec 21 / Prinza

Tinchy Stryder; Magnetic Man – review

Tinchy Stryder at Shepherd’s Bush Empire: ‘You never get the feeling that he’s about to turn the language inside out.’ Photograph: Tom Watkins/ Rex Features

Is there no genre so forbidding that it cannot be made into pop? The story of home-grown urban music begs the question. Over the past couple of years, previously grim no-go areas of sound have been turned into lush playgrounds open to all. Grime and dubstep have undergone radical and lucrative makeovers, prettified into a blooming strain of chart-pop.

Where once there were wastelands full of knives and upturned shopping trolleys, children now play. Literally – Tinchy Stryder‘s west London gig is full of 12-year-olds having a whale of a time pretending to be in a hip-hop video, eyed up warily by Stryder’s older fans.

Often, all it seems to have required is a little creative redistribution – the theft of beats from dance music, or the application of a nice girl singer on the chorus – to smuggle previously unthinkable sounds into the charts. Both tactics are out in full effect this week, as Stryder and dubstep super-group Magnetic Man play out their latest successes.

Suddenly, a revitalised Ms Dynamite appears onstage as though shot out of a rocket for a charged version of “Fire”. But the working key to Magnetic Man’s mainstream appeal comes in the form of dulcet-voiced Katy B, still loyally wearing her Rinse FM T-shirt even though the former pirate radio station’s 16th birthday bash took place two months ago.

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