Ms Dynamite's younger brother explodes on to Mobo awards shortlist

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The Independent Culture

His big sister has already scooped a clutch of Mobo awards, and now Akala is set to follow in Ms Dynamite's footsteps with a bid for his own honour at this year's Mobo (Music of Black Origin) awards.

The 22-year-old north London rapper, real name Kingslee McLean Daley, is nominated for best hip-hop act. He is up against the American star Kanye West, and last year's Mobo winners Sway and Kano, the east London rapper who is this year nominated for three awards.

Although the competition is stiff, Akala, whose subjects range from the congestion charge to his troubled childhood, is already being dubbed "the UK's great hip-hop hope" by critics.

Lemar, last year's big winner, is in the running again this year as best UK male, a category which includes another relative newcomer, Nate James. Damian Marley, son of Bob, is tipped for victory in the best reggae act category.

The American R&B star Beyoncé Knowles heads the female talent, with nominations in four categories including best song and best international female act. But the home-grown singer Corinne Bailey Rae is not far behind, nominated for three awards. A former choirgirl from Leeds, she is one of the few British acts to have broken the American market, where she debuted at number 12 in the US Billboard charts.

Bailey Rae is in contention for best UK newcomer against the opinionated council estate rapper Lady Sovereign, the hotly tipped new groups Fundamental 03 and Soundbwoy, and the London rapper Plan B. She also faces fierce competition in the newly created category of best UK female act, where she will battle it out against Alesha Dixon, the British soul queen Beverley Knight, Jamelia and Keisha White.

Kanya King, who founded the awards, said: "Corinne Bailey Rae is only 26 and she achieved this amazing feat of going straight into the charts at number one. She's the first British female artist to do so with a debut album, it's a major achievement.

"She's not only doing well in this country, but abroad as well when, to be honest, the UK urban music scene hasn't been thriving as much as the American scene."

Ms King said there was a "remarkable lot of new music at a grassroots level" among this year's nominations.

"Tools such as MySpace have enabled real artists without financial backing to be creative and get their music heard. Some of these artists are not able to get major recording deals, but they're making and marketing their own music," she said.

Ms King added that the appearance of emerging talent alongside established names in the nominations was due in part to the newly organised Mobo academy, which now includes 500 members of the public alongside music industry executives, DJs and retailers.

This year's Mobo awards ceremony and show will be broadcast on 20 September, live from the Royal Albert Hall in London for the first time, on BBC3, with an edited version two days later on BBC1. Asher D and Roots Manuva are among those already confirmed as guest presenters, and Beyoncé Knowles is in negotiations to perform on stage.

Some of this year's nominees

Best Group

Black Eyed Peas

Gnarls Barkley


Pussycat Dolls

The Streets

Best Song

Beyoncé, feat Jay Z - Deja Vu

Corinne Bailey Rae - Put Your Records On

Gnarls Barkley - Crazy

Mary J Blige - Be Without You

Ne-Yo - So Sick

Best International Female

Alicia Keys


Janet Jackson

Mary J Blige

Nelly Furtado

Best UK Female

Alesha Dixon

Beverley Knight

Corinne Bailey Rae


Keisha White

Best International Male

Chris Brown

Jay Z

Kanye West



Best UK Male



Nate James

Plan B


Best Hip-Hop Act


Busta Rhymes


Kanye West


Best UK Newcomer

Corinne Bailey Rae

Fundamental 03

Lady Sovereign

Plan B