Hip Hop record label Death Row were shocked at the news that the debut album from modest, grammar school educated London rapper Com P Tenz had failed to ignite the charts. The high-profile new release ‘38MPG’ – named for the fuel efficiency of his Ford Focus Estate, the virtues of which are extolled on the track ‘From tha A to tha B’ – had been expected to provide a refreshing alternative to the relentless extremes of urban grime and hip-hop bling in modern rap, and ‘give a voice to unheard black middle class youth who otherwise would have turned to Leona Lewis’.
The sales flop comes despite positive reviews in the music press where the unassuming rapper’s qualified claims regarding his success in his chosen profession, and evident pride in completing a degree in business studies in case he needs something to fall back on were described as ‘sensible’. Meanwhile Com P Tenz’s handling of hip hop sexual politics also garnered plaudits thanks to the song ‘Settled’ where the artist boasts about his long term relationship with his girlfriend, the success of which is attributed to the fact he ‘loves her so much, never calls her a ho, and puts the loo seat back down every time that I go’, while his brag about his sexual prowess on a re-working of the So Solid Crew classic, ‘21 Seconds to Go’ was dubbed ‘brave and honest’.
However, despite a poor first week, label executives are confident sales will ignite following comments from rival for the suburban rap crown Emaness that risk sparking a high-profile rap war. The outspoken emcee from Hampstead’s notorious West side has questioned Com P Tenz’s credentials and claimed he is actually ‘a dreadfully common petty criminal from a sink estate, with a string of convictions for sexual assault and gun crime’. In response Com P Tenz has tetchily threatened to ‘pop a stiffly worded letter to the Daily Mail in his ass’ although he also conceded everyone is entitled to their opinion and that ‘live and let live’ has long been his motto.