The Business of Being Tinie Tempah

As the Disturbing London founder comes to Dubai, we look at how the award-winning grime star is building his brand beyond beats

Since he exploded onto the UK music scene back in 2010, 29-year-old Londoner, Tinie Tempah has lead the way in UK grime and hip hop, alongside the likes of Dizzee Rascal and Tinchy Stryder.
Performing at Dubai night club WHITE Dubai on Friday March 16, as part of our legendary Disturbing Dubai nights, is a return ‘home’ of sorts for the rapper who launched his record and fashion label, Disturbing London in 2007.
But not content with sticking with the music side of things, and inspired by the Stateside success of rap stars and entrepreneurs such as Jay Z, Tinie has spent the past few years diversifying, and last year launched his own car in collaboration with Smart and Mercedes.
“Disturbing London is a lifestyle,” explains Dumi Oburota, Disturbing’s co-founder and managing director. “It’s a cultural supplier. Be it on a sonic level, be it visually, creatively – we just supply culture.”
But before the car, there came the style, and the Pass Out star admits that he’s just as likely to find inspiration on the runway as he is on the street.
“I’m also lucky because I get to travel, so I see so much cool stuff. Like the way they dress in Stockholm or Copenhagen with the double denims and the rollups and the Clarks,” he says. “Sometimes you get the most inspiration from just a normal guy walking past you in the street.”
But while there’s no denying that this man is a brand with a capital B, music remains his first love, and while he might tear up the stage at Dubai’s best rooftop bar WHITE Dubai, there’s no doubt that he gets as much joy from using his platform to support other stars as he does performing live.
“The platforms have changed now. Artists have power in their own hands - they can set up their own labels and then go to Ditto, they can go to Kobalt. It’s like a brand new day,” he says. “I just want to have a hand in helping them become global artists.”


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