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N-Dubz ft. Mr Hudson - 'Playing With Fire'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:33 UK time, Thursday, 14 January 2010

N-Dubz ft. Mr Hudson

Poor Mr Hudson. In many ways this is his time to shine. He's become the go-to guy for rappers who want some Sting-ish singing in their hip hop songs, which means he has the public attention properly for the first time, and who knows where that could lead? Somewhere pretty good, I'll bet.

But these kind of mutual sponsorship deals only tend to work when both sides know they're getting something out of it. Apart from the musical considerations, Mr Hudson and Jay Z works because it's a massive step up the ladder for Huddy, and a generous open door for new talent for Mr Z.

(Here's the video. Is it just me or are certain pop stars pretending to be able to pull WAY out of their league?)

With the N-Dubz hookup, much as I love 'em, it's harder to see quite what Mr Hudson is getting from the deal. Dappy and co get to say they've worked with someone who has worked with Kanye and Jay Z. Mr Hudson gets to stand in a video looking awkward (and let's be blunt, ten million years old, compared to his compadres), and then howl wordlessly at the sky for a bit.

Musically, it works fine, although it's not as if N-Dubz were ever short of voices to fill up the gaps where no-one is singing - the amount of "HA-ha" and "nana...nai!" business going on here would be ridiculous by anyone else's standards. As it's the mighty Dubz, it's just slightly over-egged.

And that's another thing. You realise quite how much of N-Dubz's charm rests on them being young scamps. When they write songs about boys cheating on girls, or crossed-wires in nightclubs, it works partly because you believe that's the live they lead. They're clearly not bookish people. As soon as dapper Mr H starts to join in - a man whose previous band was called the Library, let's not forget - there's suddenly a definite whiff of inappropriately randy uncle in the room.

Normally, the crazy, topsy-downsy world of N-Dubz should be able to incorporate such awkwardness with no problem - they got over Dappy's hat fairly quickly, after all - but this is a bad chemical reaction. It's like mixing gravy with drinking yoghurt.

Or, to put it into Dubzpeak: Na-na....no.

Three starsDownload: Out now
CD Released: January 18th
BBC Music page

(Fraser McAlpine)


  • Comment number 1.

    Certain pop stars ARE pulling way out of their league there. I agree.

    The song's alright. It's not great and if we're comparing it to Young Forever, Hudson and Z, it's no where near as good.

    Personally I don't know why Mr Hudson has collaborated with N-Dubz. Maybe he's just doing it for exposure. Maybe he's just confused about how good N-Dubz are and thinks that maybe people will like him more for it. Personally, I don't.

    On that note, I don't like Mr Hudson's future release 'Anyone but him'. The lyrics are a little confusing to me and the Kanye West bromance seems unnecessary.

    Agreed, 3 stars.

  • Comment number 2.

    Gotta love the cheap pyrotechnics at 1:04 in the video, N-Dubz seem to be becoming a parody of themselves at the moment; the cheesy guitar solos, that annoying thing they do when they pretend their conducting an orchestra, the fact that all their videos start with a massive N-Dubz logo appearing on the screen. Can't see them having much longer in the business (even if I think Dappy is amazing).

    p.s Everything is Broken should be the new Mr Hudson single in my opinion.

  • Comment number 3.

    I don't think its a particuarly good collaberation and doesnt work musically.

    I would argue that sometimes artists that don't necessarily gain anything by working together, sales/status wise, will do just because they want to or will enjoy the collaberation. I guess Jay Z and Linkin Park is probably a good example of this. Born out of pure musical love .. or something.

    N Dubz have sold a lot more records than Mr. Hudson. They also touch a younger audiance than Mr. Hudson, I guess. This combines to boost Mr. Hudson's status.

  • Comment number 4.

    Yeah, Mr. Hudson's part on this song is completely unnecessary. He's barely noticeable at all apart from wailing agonizingly at the moon. Why? Because he's such a good liar.

    That said, I do prefer this to their generic previous single, I Need You. 3 stars for this is justified I think.

  • Comment number 5.

    Hilariously, Dappy and Fazer were on This Week tonight with Andrew Neill, Michael Portillo and Diane Abbot, talking about the importance of family. Andrew Neill introduced them as Dappy and Fraser, and it just got more awkward and hilarious from there. Talk about dumbing down.

    At the end, Neill asked Portillo what his favourite mix of I Need You was. Just awesome.

  • Comment number 6.

    I really like Playing with Fire .

    I felt I Need You was an incredibly weak lead single for a band of this stature and at the peak of their powers . I heard it loads of times , but the only hook that has stayed with me , was the Facebook reference.
    Oh , I can also remember a helicopter in the video , so Dappy's chopper stood out !

    Mr Hudson adds some sophistication and substance to this little pop gem , that has hooks running through the whole spark of a track .

    Mr H's barking at the moon , is a very strong and memorable hook in the song .

    What has Mr H got to gain from this meeting ?

    One look at how his album Straight no Chaser has underpermormed at retail , and disappeared from the top 75 after a few weeks answers this question.

    N- Dubz and their connections , will open up a whole load of fans to the blonde bombshell .

    He needed to raise his profile , and four high - profile collaborations have done the trick.

    Dubz , J , Cotton and Kid Cudi on Everything Is Broken , which was scheduled by his label to be a single this month , but due to the top 20 success of Fire and Forever Young , his next solo single will be Anyone but him , in March.

    Nice to see Tower Bridge having a cameo role in this video.

    He obviously picks his film roles carefully.

  • Comment number 7.

    On a darker note , there is a news story , that is set to run in the tabloids .

    Apparently , Dappy was on a Radio 1 show recently , when a member of the public texted in and called N-DUBZ " losers " and offered other uncomplimentary comments.

    Unknown to the DJ'S production team , Dappy took the number of this person from the D.JS studio, and has been trying to contact the person who texted in , demanding answers for their actions .

    Things got a little heated and Dappy has since apologised to the young Mum concerned , for the messages he left her.

    Can anyone shed anymore light on this story ?

    The thing , that really hits me about this is :
    Pop stars are as sensitive as anyone else, and in this world of texting , e-mail and internet , it is so easy to write hurtful things from the safety of our homes, about people we think we will never meet .
    The truth is , people do read things and can sometimes become upset as they are human beings with emotions , and the typed word can be as damaging as a spoken word . Yes , maybe , they all receive training to deal with critisism and personal attacks but some will still take things personally and over -react . Hope that matter got sorted out amicably , anyway .

  • Comment number 8.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 9.

    i am surprised this only got 3 stars, surely dappy is going to kill anyone who criticizes him?


    i like n-dubz, but in the same way i like lonely island, its a joke.

    anyone who uses the 'well pop is just catchy music' needs to think for a second. they actually think they are hardcore.

  • Comment number 10.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 11.

    This song isn't so bad. I do find that N'dubz have kind of gone beyond a bit of the joke though. When they first came around it was fairly funny, I remember when one of them was on Buzzcocks and I liked the performance.

    However I think that bands/groups have to mature eventually and the amount of amusement that N'Dubz generate has totally dropped off. They just come across as a bit like they don't really know whats happening. I can't help thinking that in five years time we will look back on them in the way we view steps now.

  • Comment number 12.

    okay ill try rephrasing the deleted comment. i was arguing against your point, spirit, that we should be sensitive to the criticisms we make on pop stars. my argument being that a man threatening to murder a girl because of her criticisms is unbelievably ridiculous. and cannot be defended in anyway.

  • Comment number 13.

    I wonder if Dappy referred your comment

  • Comment number 14.

    I said just about what you said, Flatknees and mine got removed too.

    I agree with Mike.

    Dappy, I'm watching you!

  • Comment number 15.

    I have now gained more information from a colleague , and it DOES appear , that things spectacularly spiralled out of control , and out of the realms of friendly decency , and into an area , that if correct , is pretty difficult to defend .

    I have been told that Dappy is absolutely mortified by his actions ,has issued many apologies , public and private , and is offering to donate a sizeable amount of money to the charity of the young girl's choice .

  • Comment number 16.

    I don't understand how you can be mortified by your own actions?

    I can be mortified by somebody else's actions but I'm responsible for my own. He knew what he was doing. He's a grown man.

    What a disgrace

  • Comment number 17.

    Apparently , the girl's texts to RADIO 1 , included called Dappy a "loser " , " vile " and " a little boy in a silly hat ! "

    He was on the Chris Moyles Show and reportedly "borrowed " the phone number from the production crew , without them knowing , and returned calls and texts in an unfriendly way towards the young girl .

    Obviously , a lot of ill feeling ensued . . . .

  • Comment number 18.

    I totally agree Daniel. It seems to be that Dappy is only apologising to this girl because he got caught out.

    The problem is that it now looks like he is just trying to get out of the situation. Wasn't it dappy that was arrested for spitting in some girls face last year?

    I don't really get the donating to charity that all celebrities seem to do. It makes sense if they have insulted something charity related. It seems like he is fining himself, but seeing as he has lots of money its not really penalising him.

  • Comment number 19.

    I seriously hope he learns an important lesson from all this , because I have just read an article that said in December 2008 ,Dappy got a four week suspended jail term for spitting in a girl fan's face .

    I hope he receives excellent guidance , this time .

  • Comment number 20.

    I hope he receives more than guidance.

  • Comment number 21.

    The latest is the girl feels "let down by Radio 1 " and said re. Dappy :

    "His behaviour is unprofessional . It's terrifying when anybody sends you a death threat . I am considering going to the police . "

    Obviously , there are many sides to this story , and it flags up some very important issues .

  • Comment number 22.

    I felt my post at 7 , was extremely objective , and I am at a loss to understand WHY it was removed ?

  • Comment number 23.

    It's Dappy on a rampage, Spirit!

  • Comment number 24.

    Typical chav tool. No taste, no class, no brain.

    Apparently he's a celebrity face of a government initiative tackling cyber-bullying. Yes, you read that right. Cyber-bullying. I'd love to point out the irony to him, but I doubt he'd get it.

  • Comment number 25.

    You'd "get it " for pointing it out to him !

  • Comment number 26.

    At 23 . Dan , in my first post , I was trying to see it from his side , and I understand the provocation he felt , but he should have shown more class and understanding of his position.

    He is a "role model " for a lot of people , and needs to act in a way befitting of this .

    He has got a lot of work to do .....

  • Comment number 27.

    The picture of N DUBZ and Mr Hudson , at the top of this page in the light of recent events, with Dappy's pose and pointing finger ,now looks somewhat ironic .

    Don't you think ?

  • Comment number 28.

    Just so you know: The Example review that was up for a bit this afternoon was published in error. It'll be back soon.

  • Comment number 29.

    FRASER! We thought you weren't talking to us anymore. Liam and I in particular were inconsolable. Spirit, however, was cock-a-hoop.

  • Comment number 30.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 31.

    Oh look !!

    Fraser appears and at 29 , it leads a fully grown man to go absolutely Lady Gaga and explode into CAPSLOCK CLIMAX !

    It's like THE BIG F turns a light on , and 10,000 bugs emerge from Curtain's Fireflies !

    All we need now is for Liam to come on , and you can both act like underage girls at a Jonas Brothers concert !


  • Comment number 32.

    Spirit, as much as I like you. Sometimes I just don't understand your posts.

    Thanks for clearing that up, Fraser. I thought my internets was playing up!

  • Comment number 33.

    Sorry Dan , it's a private joke between , me Curtains and Liam , which obviously doesn't translate well here . Point taken .

    I like you lots too . :)

  • Comment number 34.

    Yeah Dappy needs to calm down. I understand that celebrities are people but they can't seem to take any kind of criticism and whine and throw death threats about the place and use the "Well look at me and look at you" card!

  • Comment number 35.

    Why was my comment moderated? So stupid Chart Blog, I didn't break any House Rules! >:(

  • Comment number 36.

    I think the Mods are just doing it to annoy everyone.

    This will probably get removed now.

  • Comment number 37.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 38.

    My comment broke no rules either. I was very careful and even used the phrase "toerag" and nothing offensive.

    The mods are really starting to take the mick.

  • Comment number 39.

    They're only being 'referred to the moderators', guys. Not removed.

    It's kinda like the 'Funhouse - Pink' thread a while ago where somebody is referring them because the don't agree with you.

    It's probably Dappy.

  • Comment number 40.

    Well he is an absolute muppet who makes awful music. Im expecting threats.

  • Comment number 41.

    I'm going to test your theory with my next post, Dan.

  • Comment number 42.

    Everything that N-Dubz have ever done has been a tacky atrocity. They are the worst recording artists of all time, and I would happily endure Joe McElderry at at number one for a year if they promised to go away forever.

    Ultimately, they're a modern-day East 17, without a Tony Mortimer-figure to write half-way decent songs for them.

  • Comment number 43.

    Their only saving grace is that they write and produce all their music themselves. Which is probably why it is terrible.

  • Comment number 44.

    Saving Grace? Probable cause...

  • Comment number 45.

    Omg mr hudson is just soo amazing :D

  • Comment number 46.

    Not in this though, lets be honest.

  • Comment number 47.

  • Comment number 48.

    Off there?

    I'm going to Glasto this year. Enough stages to be able to dodge these muppets if they show up.

    I'm pretty annoyed at Radio1 to be honest. Dappy completely abused his position as an artist on a show and yet they still play this record every show. Seriously?? If I was Radio1 controller all their songs would have been pulled and they wouldn't be allowed back. Perhaps aftermuch grovelling and public appologies they could come back. After a 6 month break maybe.

    But no. We get this song ALL THE TIME. Every time I hear it I dislike it more. It's so catchy though!


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