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Roll Deep ft. Alesha Dixon - 'Take Control'

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Fraser McAlpine | 14:10 UK time, Friday, 29 October 2010

Roll Deep

Look at this picture. eleven men, one Roll Deep. Do you know what that says to me? It says here are eleven fellas who probably spend quite a lot of time queuing in order to do their job, or waiting to have another go, once theirs has finished. They might cover it up with an arm in the air or two, a walk from one side of the stage to the other, a moody stare into the crowd, some bouncy high-fives, and a certain amount of joining in at the end of each line, but when you get right down to it, it's all just queueing.

And to make matters worse, sometimes the queue is barged by a singer. Someone who isn't actually even IN Roll Deep. They've be brought in on chorus duties, taking precious rhyme time away from people who've been in the queue for ages, actually. It's not fair, just because they can provide some melodic light relief from all of that truth-spitting, that they get to stroll right to the front. That's basically added an extra thirty seconds of arm waving and an agreeable "yeah yeah" or two, right there.

So don't be surprised if you notice that some of the more backgroundy Deepers are subtly shooting daggers at Alesha during her bits. They're only worried that they won't get a go on the mic.

(Here's the video. Woo! Party in a car park!)

And how do they decide what to make a song about? With that many people, all of whom bringing their own idea of what makes a great song to the mix, do you suppose Roll Deep have to agree to work to very broad subject headings. I'm picturing a meeting, a brainstorm, and a final list which reads:

"Things We Like: Parties, Girls, Clubs, Money.
Things We Do Not Like: No Parties, Being Knocked Back, Closing Time, No Money, Queuing."

And on a separate page, there's a signed agreement that every other topic is off limits, pending a formal agreement from everyone that they've got something new and worthwhile to bring to the table.

Then all they need is some enormous swooping bass squits together, a breakbeat here, a face-punch bass drum, a robotic breakdown, and boom! Another song done, providing it doesn't get TAKEN OVER by some pushy celebrity singing guest and their pretty voice, natch.

Four starsDownload: Out now

BBC Music page

(Fraser McAlpine)

Mind Of Grime says: "I expect a chart hit but I'd rather they got grimey again."


  • Comment number 1.

    I really like this song because the bit with Alesha Dixon is good and is much better than Green Light. Rapping is good, apart from glasses guy at the end. (If you listen, you know what I mean.)
    Its a nice song, but even better...
    The car pack looks amazing!! :)
    4 Stars

  • Comment number 2.

    INTERESTING FACT . Roll Deep are the only Uk act to have two number ones in this country in 2010 . Interesting .

  • Comment number 3.

    Did you get that from Wikipedia or something?

    Tinie Tempah anyone?

  • Comment number 4.

    Tinie's sick.
    Hes british
    Hes had 2 number ones.
    Never believe Wiki.

  • Comment number 5.

    Yeah sorry this fact was true before Tinie did it with Written In The Stars . Thank you . There are two Uk acts who have done it . You are absolutely correct ..

  • Comment number 6.

    Doesn't matter how many no.1s they've got, it still doesn't get rid of the fact that they're not very good. 2 Stars for this song.

  • Comment number 7.

    And Dizzee Rascal if you count the Shout For England song

  • Comment number 8.

    Ah, thanks kutox! I was thinking Dizzee Rascal but I couldn't remember the other #1 he had, only that I thought it was awful. And now writing this, it has come to me: 'Dirtee Disco'.

    But then again, there's not been many 100,000+ selling #1's this year (first week sales), except for Helping Haiti's 'Everybody Hurts', Tinie's 'Pass Out' and now Cheryl's 'Promise This', I can't think of any others.

    Anyone know the actual figures? I'm sure Buzz Jack would but their forums are worse than Digital Spy's (sorry, kutox :L).

  • Comment number 9.

    Buzzjack is quite good for sales stats and such - it's just that so many of their members are totally obsessed with Alexandra Burke, The Saturdays, Cheryl Cole etc. and they get all excited when they do well in the charts. I visit there quite a lot but don't do a lot of posting.

    There's actually been a fair amount of 100k+ no.1's so far this year (Pass Out actually wasn't one of them - it got 92,000). I'll do a list. Not sure if I'm allowed to post actual figures here, but what the heck, I'll try it out anyway:

    Iyaz - Replay 106,237 (yes, really!)
    Helping Haiti 453,426 (102,769 2nd week)
    Shout For England 113,258
    Katy Perry - California Gurls 123,607
    Taio Cruz - Dynamite 108,397
    Tinie Tempah - Written In The Stars 115,073
    Cee-Lo Green - Forget You 106,962
    Bruno Mars - Just The Way You Are 116,684 (2nd week at no.1, largely thanks to X Factor)

  • Comment number 10.

    Oh wow, I had no idea Bruno had sold over 100,000, and in his third week on the chart as well! I guess that's the force of The X Factor for you.

    'California Gurls' and 'Dynamite' don't surprise me, neither does 'Shout' or 'Forget You', but like you've stated, 'Replay' is quite a shock!

    Thanks again kutox. :)

  • Comment number 11.

    No problem :) As I say, I'm not sure if I'm allowed to post actual figures here, but I guess we'll soon see if it gets flagged. At least you've seen them now anyway.

    On Bruno Mars' first week at no.1 he sold 82,000, then trailed off over the next few weeks. So yeah, the combination of the song being performed by someone on X Factor, and the fact the song was still high in the charts and getting heavy airplay at the time that happened (and still now), and the wide appeal of the song in general, all added up to give it those huge sales last week.

    I remember most of us on Buzzjack being astonished when Replay's first week sales came in. What's more, the song it beat to no.1 - Sidney Samson's 'Riverside' - sold 97,000 the same week, which would of easily got it to no.1 on most other weeks. Goes to show how high singles sales have got to in the last few years.

    Having seen the midweeks for this week, (I can't say the positions, but you can probably guess) both Cheryl Cole and Rihanna look set to comfortably achieve first week sales of over 100,000 this week. Would be the first time this year a song has sold over 100k and not reached no.1 the same week. I'm sure there will be more 100k-in-a-week sellers between now and the end of the year, what with X Factor guests and all that.

  • Comment number 12.

    I'm guessing the whole 'death of the music industry' idea was completely manafactured by record companies then, obviously they'll do literally anything to sell records.

  • Comment number 13.

    Singles sales may be at their highest level for a good few years, but the all-important album sales are at a shocking low - even in the last 2 years the albums market has plummeted at a terrifying rate. That's what the panic is about.

  • Comment number 14.

    I always thought that the low album sales were due to the oppertunity site like Itunes gives to pick and choose tracks you like, therefore it's not something record companies can reverse only adapt to. I'm most likely wrong about this but bands that are generally more album orientated probably don't suffer as much as singles bands with album sales.

    Also I just noticed something, none of the singles so far that have sold over 100k were made by X Factor e.g: Alexandra Burke, JLS etc. Just goes to show that X Factor isn't quite as good as they appear at making 'superstars'.

  • Comment number 15.

    Yeah , but Kutox do tell everyone how many ALBUMS JLS sold in their first week .

    And do share how many copies of SPIRIT that Leona Lewis has sold .

  • Comment number 16.

    Think about 'Come Around Sundown'
    Thats doing great in the chart

  • Comment number 17.

    And Only By The Night has gone 5 times platinum !

    Anyone wanna tell me how many albums that Susan Boyle has sold ?

  • Comment number 18.

    And how many albums did Amy sell of Back to Black ?

    And what about Duffy ?

    Florence - Lungs ?

  • Comment number 19.

    And the two previous Take That albums ?

  • Comment number 20.

    Lady Gaga's Fame is on the verge of going 5 times platinum !

  • Comment number 21.

    You think I didn't know all this? Individual albums selling lots is almost nothing to do with my point.

    Oh I just know this is going to turn into a big debate where I waste hours trying to type what I want to say...

    So I will get back to you on this tomorrow

  • Comment number 22.

    OK OK ! LOL

    Michael Buble's Crazy Love has just gone 5 times platinum .

    Oooops sorry !

  • Comment number 23.

    5 Times? You've gotta be joking..?
    I think Lungs will soon ( I'm pretty much behind it because I love her songs :) )
    Whats Duffy's album again.. I forgot

  • Comment number 24.

    I know pretty much the exact sales of all those albums mentioned above. No point trying to use against my point what I already know.

  • Comment number 25.


  • Comment number 26.

    DUFFY - Rockferry- 6 times platinum , last time I looked .

    Yep Crazy Love - 5 times platinum .

  • Comment number 27.

    So X Factor doesn't appear to make superstars ?

    Kutie , give us the sales of Spirit by Leona , please.....

  • Comment number 28.

    You're doing it again, spirit. I don't know where you think I ever said 'X Factor doesn't make superstars', if you're talking about selling records and becoming household names. It just makes plastic manufactured popstars who Simon Cowell can sell to the masses using his influence over the industry, and over all the sheeple who believe everything he says. It's a promotional tool in itself for it's own products.

    When you consider how much Leona was pushed by the record label worldwide, she always had a massive advantage over everyone else. Sure she has a great voice - but that's all she is - a voice. Nothing else there. No personality or performance, or any other musical qualities, however harsh that sounds. But Simon Cowell was telling everyone she's 'The next Whitney/Mariah' etc and using her voice as the sole selling point, and we all know there are loads of people who will believe every word he says, and they buy into it.

    But for arguments sake, Spirit sold 7 million worldwide (including the obligatory cash-in re-release), which was pretty impressive. But now why don't you tell me how much Echo sold worldwide (considering she had not one but TWO X Factor performances here in the uk near Christmas to flog it)? Yep, nowhere near as much. It performed badly, considering it arrived only a year after the re-release of Spirit and she was fresh in everyone's minds. And you can't put it down to lack of promotion either. I guess it just shows not many of those 7 million who bought Spirit liked it enough to want to hear more from Leona.

  • Comment number 29.

    It was actually me that made the comment about X Factor not making 'superstars' and Kutox basically said everything I was going to say. Despite her massive success to begin with, and to be honest Leona was a suprise for everyone in the X Factor camp, what are the chances of her still having the same success when she's on her 4th or 5th album? I doubt they're very high.

    A global superstar isn't just someone who sells a lot of records with their first album, they're someone who becomes part of the cultural landscape; when you thing of people like Rihanna, Kanye West, Beyonce, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Oasis so don't just think of a person who gets given songs to sing you think of a whole image and style, in both their music and their fashion. People wait years for their albums, even when there's nothing being released people still talk about these artists and for good reason too. People only care about Leona, and any X Factor contestant, when they're in the middle of a huge advertising campaign, otherwise people couldn't care less unless they're some sort of Leona Lewis megafan.

    Without the hype, X Factor performances and ridiculous levels of promotion would a new single by her be noticed? I Got You didn't seem to get even half the promotion Happy did and it only managed to rise to 14 in the charts, a repectable position but nothing 'superstar' worthy, this is because Leona relies heavily on hype, she needs the public to be told how good she is cause otherwise they wouldn't notice, and without it she's nothing more than a girl with a good voice and some songs to sing.

  • Comment number 30.

    Yeah , cheers Harry .
    Of course , I understand your points .

    We could all scrutnise the pros and cons of what makes a superstar until we are blue in the face .

    My favourite artists all write their own songa , but ironically the two most successful solo singers of all time , in terms of chart success in the UK , had all their hits written by other people .


    2 immense superstars .

    There are countless "superstars" who have had hits written by OTHER people . I could be here all Halloween , listing them .
    And just to make the point a little sharper .
    A little inside knowledge .
    Britney Spears's people turned down the chance for Britney to record a song, that would later go on to be a global hit and be one of the most successful singles of the 21st Century ,when sang by another female singer, which effectively provided an immense catalyst to the latter singers global career .

    The name of the singer was Rihanna .

    The name of the song was Umbrella.

    Yes , Britney's people turned it down !

    Talking of the UK and Leona , it is ironic to your point , that at the current time , her Echo album has outsold :

    Rihanna - Rated R
    Kanye West - 808's and Heartbreak

    It has probably outsold Stadium Arcadium and Dig Out Your Soul too .

    Just saying .

  • Comment number 31.

    Just to clear things up:

    Echo sold 2 million worldwide (about 40% of that was from the UK, thanks to her XF performances). Rated R sold just under 3 million worldwide, which was expected because of the change in style from the 7 million-selling Good Girl Gone Bad. 808's and Heartbreak sold about the same as Echo, which was respectable for a rap album with singing in auto-tune. Stadium Arcadium sold 7 million worldwide, and Dig Out Your Soul sold 4.5 million.

    Just saying.

    And although Echo might of outsold most of those albums in the UK, perhaps if all those other artists released said albums to coincide with the Christmas market, and had the luxury of TWO X Factor performances to flog it, as well as Simon Cowell's nauseatingly fake 'that was... AMAZING' praise, then maybe they might of sold more, who knows. Leona has had it so easy - she's had it all handed to her on a plate. Whether they write the songs or not is largely irrelevant.

    Now, which one of those albums mentioned was considered a disappointment in terms of sales? That's right, the one who is driven to sell to the masses by Simon Cowell and has had all the hype she could ever dream of enjoying. Ok, Rihanna's sales of Rated R were probably considered disappointing at the time, but as I said before - she took a brave direction which was never going to have the mass appeal her previous 2 albums had. And anyway, she scored a memorable worldwide hit, and one of her biggest hits to date, in Rude Boy. Can't say the same about any of Leona's 2nd album singles. And I doubt Kanye was bothered about the sales of the 808's album either. He's not someone who is driven to sell - the impact he has made is down to his skills as an artist, and he's also had a massive impact on hip hop - you can't put a price on that. He's not someone who has been expected to sell huge amounts of albums to justify his impact.

    And anyway, what has sales got to do with quality? I can't believe I'm even having to say this. Echo might of sold 2 million, but what lasting impact has it made? That's even if anyone remembers it. Leona gained instant fame and fortune by winning a (and I use the term very loosely) 'talent' show watched by 10 million people each week. Of course she was going to sell lots of records when she was being marketed by Cowell as 'the next Whitney or Mariah', and considering all the promotion she had worldwide because of this. She would be nothing without X Factor - she would never of sold as many records she did without the unstoppable campaign she had, especially with her first album. The lasting impact all those other artists have made on music is light-years ahead of the impact Leona the generic diva will ever make. I know you'll probably give me the classic 'but what about Leon Jackson and Steve Brookstein' etc, even though we've had this debate countless times before and I've explained it every time. But anyway, Leona was just simply more marketable.

  • Comment number 32.

    And she had a better voice and better songs , and that vulnerable likeability , which has subtle charm.

    Bleeding Love is an absolute masterclass in songwriting and delivery .

    And yes I know it's a Snow Patrol song , but Leona's take on RUN is truly wonderful .

    In fact having heard Spirit countless times , the quality of the songs , in the world of pop is extremely high .
    THE QUALITY of songs on Echo is not in the same league , in terms of appeal , that's why it's sales were inferior to her debut .

    I know you seem to stress the "marketable" factor but it is songs with appeal that wins fans , and translates into sales most of the time .

    To stress this point , Susan Boyle , on paper ,would not seem "marketable" , but one listen to her haunting version of "Wild Horses" by the Rolling Stones , prompted many people to buy her album and turn it into a 7 times platinum album .
    There are a lot of covers of classic songs on her debut album .

    Lasting success in pop music is nearly always about the appeal of your songs .

    If people no longer like and want to buy your songs , you will obviously have decreased sales , no matter how MARKETABLE you are .

    See Christina .

    Not Myself Tonight is a weaker song with less appeal than Dirrrty , hence it's limited success .

    Britney is marketable .

    Compare Toxic to Radar , why did one get to number 1 and one fail to chart ?

    One is a far superior song with far more appeal than the other .

    It's nearly all about appeal of songs .

  • Comment number 33.

    roll deep 2 number 1's later and i still dont see how or why the rapping is awful the music is generic and this song is just the same i really wish they'd release something decent or jog on im sorry music this here save for a few acts has not been up to scratch and roll deep are the poster group for it.

  • Comment number 34.

    oh and on the subject of marketability spirit im with you on that fact but having also listened to spirit it wasnt a good album except maybe a few songs and her and all of the x factor people are aimd at a demographic of society who really don't take music all that seriously for instance kate bush or david bowie and they'd be like thats rubbish thats the point of which i think your making :/


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