Think of Tinie Tempah and you probably picture him on stage, playing hits like Pass Out or Written In The Stars.
But the charming London-born rapper, singer and entrepreneur – real name Patrick Chukwuemeka Okogwu – is also into architecture and design, and has a “really cool” property portfolio.
“I’m very proud of it, but it’s not something you really talk about in your raps,” quips the 32-year-old star.
Now, as the host of an exciting new Channel 4 series called Extraordinary Extensions, it’s a passion he can share with his fans.
Why did you want to get involved with Extraordinary Extensions?
“Growing up in a very working-class family, property was a way that we were able to move up the socio-economic ladder. I came out of a council estate environment and, at 12, my parents bought our first property in Plumstead Fast forward a couple of years, and they’ve got more than a handful. I grew up seeing my mum do loads of extensions.
“At the start of the pandemic, the music industry got hit really, really hard. Obviously, there were no gigs. I was in the studio at home, scratching my head. I got this phone call, ‘We’re doing this property show, and we would love you to do it’. At first, I was like, ‘I don’t know…’ But I’m at the age now where I want to communicate other sides of myself.
“I’ve been making music since I was 16-years-old. I’ve achieved a lot. But I feel like this is a new challenge. When you make records, you’re very much at the mercy of people every single time. When I’m buying a property or I’m flipping it and trying to sell it, I’m at nobody’s mercy.”
What do you like when it comes to house design?
“I’ve never understood why some people live in those cul-de-sacs and every single house is the same. All the houses are beautiful, but I’d always want something quite unique.
“If you Google ‘Tinie and houses’, you’ll see I’ve got giraffes in my houses – not real giraffes! I’ve got mad glass skylights in the middle of the house – on the first floor, where you can look down, and you can see what everyone’s doing on the ground floor. I go crazy with it.”
What’s your dream extension?
“One day, I want to build a house in the countryside that’s all cement, from as far as you can see, so it looks like a fortress. And then around the back, where you’re not going to be able to see it, I want to have a glass walkway that is really thin and low, and then, when you get to the end of the walkway, I want you to walk into this massive sports hall, which is what I see as the extension. In that sports hall, we will have a basketball court, which could also be changed to a five-a-side court, it could be changed into a nightclub. It would probably have a pool in there.”
Why do you find property such an interesting topic?
“I love seeing what levels of creativity people have when it comes to their properties, because there are almost 100 different ways to flip your house and switch it up and create more space. I’m really into that stuff; I watch it on YouTube I watch all the shows on TV now. So, to have one of my own, I’m excited to see what people think about it.
“I know it’s getting harder and harder for this new generation to afford a property, it’s actually a nightmare. It’s something that needs to be sorted out, because it’s not right – everyone should have the right to own their own home, and everyone should have the right to get creative with that.”
What can be done to help young people get on the property ladder?
“I know there are always incentives. I’m not Boris Johnson – I don’t have all the answers. Speaking as someone who has come from very, very humble beginnings, the amount of peace and pride I felt when I got my first property… I could walk out into the garden, and I could just sit there. Everyone deserves that feeling.”
Extraordinary Extensions starts on Channel 4 on Wednesday, October 20.