Their cheeky charm and schoolboy antics have become even just a little endearing to most and to others they are a guilty pleasure. Cheryl and Ashley Cole were ousted as secret fans and Mr Hudson can’t sing their praises enough. Like them or loathe them, you have to respect them. As the first British hip-hop group from the UK grime scene to reach such mainstream success – and producers and writers of all their own music – you have to give credit where credit is due.
On July 23, N-Dubz are due to headline Live Fest at the O2… But the question has been asked: will this be the last show before the group goes on a ‘break’? There have been a lot of rumours written about N-Dubz, plus a lot of things people don’t know about them. Flavour gives a brief A to Z, from the bizarre to the sublime, charting the reasons, mostly, why you have to love N-Dubz…
A is for CHANNEL AKA
Or Channel U as it was called then, and one of the group’s very first media platforms. Earlier releases like ‘I Swear’ and ‘You Better Not Waste My Time’ dominated the playlist. As a result, their fan base grew and record company execs began to sit up and pay attention.
B is for BANNED
Dappy and Fazer are slightly prone to getting themselves into trouble… unfortunately, getting banned, barred and banished from all kinds of places has become somewhat the norm. For example, Fazer was banned from driving after getting caught driving his BMW without insurance; Dappy was asked to leave Alton Towers after a report of a ‘funny smell’ coming from his hotel room, which he claims was a cigarette; and the pair were also denied a US visa for quite some time… something about them both having previous convictions.
C is for CAMDEN
All three group members were born in Camden, famous for its eclectic markets, bars and clubs. However, there is a very different side to the North London borough, which isn’t mentioned in the tourist guidebooks. There is said to be a very high level of the selling and using of illegal drugs and it has a reputation of being home to some of London’s roughest council estates.
D is for DAD
Proud father Dappy has two sons, Gino and Milo, with on-off girlfriend Kaye Vassell.
E is for EXPELLED
At 15, Dappy was expelled from Haverstock Secondary School in Camden for multiple truancies and fighting. Never defeated, he returned to college to sit his GCSEs, where he achieved an A* for English.
F is for FANS
Affectionately branded ‘N-Dublets’ by the group and branded ‘obsessed’ by Dappy, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more loyal set of people. Some are rumoured to have the group’s names and faces tattooed on their bodies.
G is for GREECE
Tulisa and Dappy are both Greek in origin. Dappy has been quoted as saying he does not consider himself to be English ‘in any way’ and speaks fluent Greek when at home.
H is for HAT
Or the ‘Dappy hat’ as it has affectionately come to be known. Dappy isn’t often seen without it and insists it’s part of his style.
I is for INSPIRATIONAL
Irrespective of their portrayal by some of the media and the odd ill thought-out act amplified 1,000 times by the press, N-Dubz have achieved a heck of a lot in terms of their childhoods and the odds originally stacked against them.
J is for JONATHAN SHALIT
The group’s long-suffering manager and the man behind N-Dubz’ current quest to conquer America.
K is for KAYE VASSELL
Dappy’s on-off girlfriend and mother of his two children. Their stormy relationship is frequently reported in the tabloid press, and Kaye is rumoured to have broken Dappy’s nose in a punch-up last year.
L is for LIKKLE RINCERS
The original name for the group. Under The Likkle Rincers Crew, N-Dubz released the singles ‘Bad Man Riddim’ and ‘Life Is Getting Sicker by the Day’.
M is for MOBO
Four to be precise – and we are sure there will be many more to come.
N is for NA NA NAI
What does it mean? No one knows… However, you feel a bit cheated if you don’t hear it on an N-Dubz track.
O is for OUTSPOKEN
Tulisa and Elly Jackson beef, Dappy and Flo Rida beef, N-Dubz and Lethal Bizzle beef, N-Dubz and JLS beef, N-Dubz and Alexandra Burke beef, the list goes on and on…
P is for PHONE
It was a random phone call from Tulisa to Ny, regarding dog injections, that cemented the two as BFFs. Meanwhile, Dappy appeared on the Chris Moyles radio show, when a listener called Chloe Moody texted in, saying Dappy was a ‘little boy with a silly hat’ and ‘vile’. Dappy allegedly took the number down and sent a string of abusive messages to her, demanding she apologise.
Q is for QUADRUPLE
Going triple platinum isn’t enough for this band. Frontman Dappy was quoted in a recent interview as saying, ‘I’d like to go quadruple… it’s about exceeding what you have achieved.’ Here, here.
R is for RUMOUR
There is currently a rumour circulating that the group will be splitting to record solo material. It’s not the first rumour of this kind, so we’ll have to just wait and see.
S is for SCHIZOAFFECTIVE DISORDER
Tulisa’s mother Ann Byrne is diagnosed as having schizoaffective disorder, which meant that Tulisa had to become her mother’s full-time carer at an early age.
T is for TULISA
Or as her birth certificate states, Tula Contostavlos. She made it out of a place where she twice tried to commit suicide to becoming a huge celebrity across the world and an inspiration – plus dealing with Dappy and Fazer on a regular basis – she deserves a medal. As we don’t have one, she gets her very own letter instead.
U is for is for UNCLE B
Byron Contostavlos was Dappy’s father and Tulisa’s uncle. Also from a musical background and in the group Mungo Jerry, he is said to be the inspiration behind the band, while the song ‘Papa Can You Hear Me’ was written in homage to him.
V is for VICTORY
N-Dubz are on the brink of cracking America… and when everyone said the Americans wouldn’t get them.
W is for WAX
Having your minky waxed is traumatic enough, let alone having it done on national TV. The Being… N-Dubz reality show captured Tulisa’s first ever bikini wax, which we must say was handled quite well. We salute you.
X is for X-FACTOR
Tulisa has been named as one of the new X Factor judges. Among other dimensions, she’s sure to bring some honesty to the show.
Y is for YOUNG
All the band members are under 25.
Z is for ZIPPED
As the band members get older, they are also learning to control their tempers and act in a much more mature way. Recently, when Tulisa was asked about being compared to Cher Lloyd, she said, ‘It’s great to know we’re inspiring people to get up there and do something different.’
Words by Trina John-Charles