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Dagenham rapper is one to watch

PUBLISHED: 13:44 29 July 2010 | UPDATED: 13:06 11 August 2010

GROWING up where unemployment and crime rates are high can be tough – but it is not stopping our youngsters developing careers in the music business. Up-and-coming rapper James Devlin is joining X Factor finalist Stacey Solomon and soul singing sensation

GROWING up where unemployment and crime rates are high can be tough - but it is not stopping our youngsters developing careers in the music business.

Up-and-coming rapper James Devlin is joining X Factor finalist Stacey Solomon and soul singing sensation McLean on the borough's growing roster of young talent.

The 21-year-old from Dagenham is taking the grime scene by storm and has been tipped as "one to watch" by the BBC Sound of 2010 List, alongside artists such as Ellie Goulding, The Drums and rapper Giggs.

His new single, Brainwashed, has had airplay on several radio stations, with forthcoming debut album - Bud, Sweat and Beers - due for release in January.

"It's all gone a bit crazy in the last few months," Devlin admitted.

"I'm all over the place at the moment with promoting."

The former pupil of Brittons School, Hornchurch, started rapping at the age of 13 on pirate radio stations Rinse FM and Temptation.

His talents were picked up by OT Crew member Dogzilla and he featured on their 2006 mixtape, The London Borough of Barking and Dogenham.

He later produced a solo release of his own - Tales from the Crypt - and was catapulted to fame after a regular slot on Flava FM.

Devlin said: "I've been focusing on my music for the past six years and I owe a lot to the area, especially since I started doing radio here from a young age.

"A lot of the inspiration I get for my songs is from my life in Dagenham, as well as what other artists are doing or even from hearing a new word or sentence that I like."

He has been compared to the likes of Mike Skinner of The Streets and is well renowned for having the "biggest vocabulary in grime".

He sites Nas, Bruce Springsteen and Plan B as some of his influences.

Having released a collaborative single, Shot Music, with Giggs in April and touring with Drum and Bass duo Chase and Status, what's next for Devlin?

"I'm going to be pushing the single to the max within the next two weeks and then I'm on tour with Example in the autumn," he says, "I'm really hoping my music takes off.

"For any talented kids in the borough, I encourage you not to give up on your dream and never be disheartened by anyone."

Brainwashed is out on August 8.


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