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Ms. Dynamite’s ‘A Little Deeper’ Celebrated In ‘Black Story’ Video Series

The latest in the series pays tribute to the artist’s game-changing, Mercury Prize-winning debut album from 2002.

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Ms. Dynamite - Photo: Lex van Rossen/MAI/Redferns

Ms. Dynamite is the latest performer to be celebrated in Universal Music Recordings’ (UMR) ‘Black Story’ series, which seeks to pay tribute to pioneering Black UK artists as part of this year’s Black History Month – celebrated in October in the UK. The new video, which you can watch below, celebrates the impact of Ms. Dynamite’s Mercury Prize-winning 2002 debut, A Little Deeper, her explosive and hard-to-pigeonhole debut album, which transformed her from someone who was on benefits and living in a hostel into a feted international star.

Born Niomi Arleen Daley to a Jamaican father and Scottish mother, the 21-year-old Ms. Dynamite seemingly came from nowhere in 2002 to grab three MOBO awards (for Best Single, Best Newcomer, and UK Act Of The Year) and also pick up a not-to-be-sniffed-at £20,000 (which she donated to charity) for winning the prestigious Mercury Music Prize. And if that wasn’t enough, in 2003, Ms. Dynamite nabbed two BRIT Awards, for Best Female Solo Artist and British Urban Act.

Her widely-acclaimed debut, A Little Deeper, was at the heart of the transformation. Sonically, it was a unique record that brought together an array of different Black music styles – from Jamaican reggae and dancehall to hip-hop, jazz, R&B, and London garage grooves – to create an unclassifiable but highly accessible musical tapestry.

Black Story - Ms Dynamite

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In sessions that took place in Stockholm, New York, and Florida, Dynamite came up with fifteen varied tracks, all but one co-written by her. They revealed the singer as a natural-born storyteller; one with a social conscience who could be both sassy and sensitive, bad-ass and vulnerable. Her songs ranged from a biting critique of Black-on-Black gun violence (“Watch Over Them”) to expressions of youthful infatuation (“Krazy Krush”), poignant declarations of family fealty (“Brother”) and sobering meditations on mortality (“Afraid 2 Fly”).

A Little Deeper yielded three hit singles. The first, “It Takes More” – a withering put-down of macho posturing sung over a sampladelic hip-hop beat – rose to No. 7 in the UK charts. The second, “Dy-Na-Mi-Tee,” defined by an infectious chorus, was a Top 5 hit, while “Put Him Out,” issued as the set’s third single, snuck into the Top 20. There were also cameos from Bob Marley’s son Kymani (on the duet “Seed Will Grow”) and Jamaican reggae legend Barrington Levy, who joined Dynamite on a hip-hop remake of his classic track “Too Experienced.”

UMR says of their new ‘Black Story series: “‘Black Story’ tells the history of our unsung UK Black musical icons. It is undeniable that Black artists and musicians have shaped the landscape of culture worldwide. UMR wants to celebrate not only the culture; but the scenes, the sounds, and the artists which shaped UK Music, giving flowers to the incredible Black artists in our archives.

“We seek to deliver these influential (and sometimes little-known) Black artists from our repertoire to an audience who may never have experienced them before, to elevate their music, share stories and, in turn, gain new fans to preserve the legacy of Black music.”

Read more about unsung UK Black musical icons on the Black Story hub.

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