Chipmunk happy to be a role model

MC Chipmunk admits it s tough being a role model at the tender age of 18, but this confident and intuitive teenager is more than equipped to handle the challenge. It s frightening to think what this young rapper may achieve in the next 10 years, such is h

MC Chipmunk admits it's tough being a role model at the tender age of 18, but this confident and intuitive teenager is more than equipped to handle the challenge.

It's frightening to think what this young rapper may achieve in the next 10 years, such is his raw talent.

Last year Chipmunk - real name Jahmaal Noel Fyffe - scooped the 2008 MOBO Best Newcomer award. He has a support slot to American megastar Lil Wayne already on his CV, and more than a million You Tube hits for his freestyle session on Tim Westwood's 1Xtra show.

He's even been nominated for a Global Peace Award for his community work.


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And you can see him in action when Chipmunk lines up at the Ghana 52nd Independence Celebration Dance at The Stratford Rex on Saturday, March 7, alongside Sway and Tinchy Stryder, plus DJs Masterstepz, Jigz, Radical D and Elliot Ness. To see how you could win tickets, see p3.

Right now, this rising star has everything in his locker - the tight rhymes, the clever lyrics and the gushing plaudits.

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He also has a thing or two to say about politics and the perennial problem of the so-called "youth of today".

He told me: "People have put me up as a role model, and that's fine.

"It's not easy, but I've been through things in my life that have made me stronger. I'm from the streets and I believe it's about learning from mistakes. Sure, there are going to be certain kids out there who will listen to their favourite MC more than a politician. And because of that I do feel I'm in a privileged position."

Chipmunk grew up in Tottenham, to Jamaican parents.

He first picked up the mic at a youth club, with some impromptu rapping over grime beats.

By the age of 16, he was already well known on the grime scene with a posse of girls in tow, having released three critically-acclaimed mixtapes...while impressively still managing to score 10 A-C grades at GCSE.

These days he's a fully-fledged student of the rap game, and explains: "The sound of grime is ever evolving, and the British rap scene is getting there slowly. Everyone tries to compare the UK with America, but that's impossible. It's probably fairer to do England vs New York really."

An album is on its way, with major labels circling. For now he'll stay with the independent Alwayz Records label which has nurtured his talent.

He says: "I've got the album down to about 15 or 16 tracks and will make sure there are tracks for the radio, the car and at home - make sure the target audience are sorted."

Wise words indeed, but Chipmunk has some great tutors. Stratford grime don Dizzee Rascal is a fan, and Chipmunk adds: "Whenever I see Dizzee, he's always got some nice words and good bits of advice for me, which is great. He had that No 1 single last year and that showed how far our music has come."

In the meantime, you can catch him at The Rex, High Street, Stratford on Saturday, March 7, along with rapper Sway and Tinchy Stryder, and DJs Masterstepz, Jigz, Radical D and Elliot Ness.

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