Cutting his skills as a 14-year-old grime MC on East London pirate stations, Tinchy learned from the likes of Wiley and Dizzee Rascal before causing a stir in freestyle rap battles on Tim Westwood's 1Extra radio shows. Self-produced mixtapes and a starring role on Ruff Sqwad's album Guns & Roses, Vol 2 further enhanced his reputation before his debut solo album Star In The Hood was released in 2007. Collaborations with Craig David and Gang, Gang Dance nudged him closer to the mainstream, but it was the single Take Me Back featuring Taio Cruz that provided his big breakthrough, reaching No 3 in the UK chart. With help from special guests N-Dubz, the swaggering funk and bare-faced cheek of Number 1 gave Tinchy his first chart topping single in April, 2009, and Never Leave You, featuring Amelle from Sugababes, repeated the feat. Second album Catch 22 confirmed his arrival as a home-grown hip hop hero with urban credibility and pop star hooks.