Mention the words ‘Craig David’ to people, and chances are, if you’re speaking to a particularly loathsome creature, they will reply by elongating his name while putting on a silly voice.
It’s one of the greatest crimes of the 21st century that the name Craig David has been tarnished to such an extent. That might sound like a little bit of hyperbole, but it’s my firm belief that Craig David has been the victim of a conspiracy for the majority of his musical career. Between 2001 and 2006, David was nominated for 12 Brit Awards in total. How many did he win? 0.
It’s 2001 that was the year when David should have dominated the Brits. He was nominated for six awards, yet walked away empty handed. Let’s have a look at who he lost out to:
Best Album: Lost out to Coldplay with Parachutes
Best British Single: Lost out to Robbie Williams with Rock DJ
Best British Video – Lost out to Robbie Williams with Rock DJ
Best British Male – Lost out to Robbie Williams
Best British Breakthrough Act – Lost out to A1
Best British Dance Act – Lost out to Fatboy Slim
Some of those names send a shudder down the spine don’t they? In what sort of sick world does Robbie Williams win three awards, all at the expense of Craig David? Robbie Williams isn’t even the best Robbie Williams – the Plymouth Argyle full-back of the same name is arguably a better man, and despite the fact I’ve never heard him sing, I bet he’s got a better voice.
Coldplay – well, what can you say about the global juggernaut that is that band? We can give as much effort as the band in regards to being likable– that is to say little.
Fatboy Slim – sure he’s a dance music legend, but be honest with me, what would you rather dance to, Praise You, or Rewind?
As for A1, well, they actually released one of the most underrated records of all time in Caught In The Middle, which is a definite contender for a ASASYMHF in the future.
The song I’ve chosen for today’s entry though, is Fill Me In, David’s debut single which was released in April 2000. It reached number one in the UK charts, and came off the seminal album Born To Do It. I appreciate that a lot of this article might come across as me trying to be a clown – one of those tiresome drones who pretend to love something rubbish, but to me, Fill Me In is a bonafide classic.
One of the strengths of Craig David, especially in his early career, was that he was able to mix musical styles, while giving his music a very specific Craig David style. If you listen back to Born To Do It, you find ballads, UK garage, dance tunes, and songs that mixed all three.
My favourite version of the song, is not the single release, or even the excellent Artful Dodger remix, but one from an appearance on MTV Total Request Live in 2001. It’s a phenomenal performance from an artist at the peak of his powers. It’s a touch cringey in parts watching some of the audience members try and sing along (obviously having heard the song for the first time moments before) but as a live performance, it’s ferocious, creative, and downright entertaining. It’s odd watching it knowing Craig didn’t go on to become one of the biggest superstars of the 2000s, because that’s exactly how he looks and acts in this video.
It’s a real shame knowing the talent he has not just in singing but in rapping and music making, that he’s not making mainstream gains at the moment. Instead he’s chosen to become a bodybuilder in Miami. Looking around the popular music scene at the moment, especially in the hip hop/RnB genres, I don’t see much creativity or inspiration around. I see simpletons like Chris Brown, whose enduring popularity completely baffles me, not just for his disgusting domestic abuse past, but also his horrendous music. Then you have people like Flo-Rida, who seems to be half gym membership, half shoddy rapper, and you have wonder how someone who wrote tracks like 7 Days, Walking Away, Don’t Love You No More, and many more great songs can’t catch a break.
Maybe that’s just the way music has changed now, instead of albums people sit down and listen to, it’s disposable garbage that sounds like everything else. Listen – I love disposable garbage in music, I’ve listened to Call Me Maybe about 50 times over the last week, but to me, it seems that’s all that is there. I’d love to be proved wrong – if anyone can name some contemporary, mainstream songs that have been hits over the last year that have some semblance of substance contained in the beats and bars, please do share, as I would really love to hear them.
But alas, the world may never see another Craig David, a superstar whose career was blown apart by shitty comedy, and bad luck. In 2008, David, when asked about the Brit Awards that had treated him so poorly, was quoted regarding the awards as saying:
“It’s great for artists who pick up awards, but in terms of representing what’s really going on, I think they’ve missed the eight-ball. The year that I was nominated for six, I couldn’t have sold any more records or had any more number ones, “To still not pick up one proved to me that however the voting system is and whatever the excuses were made, it just didn’t really represent what was going on.”
To me, that seems to be a major problem with the music business as a whole now. Churn up generic tune, one after the other, and the docile public will lap it up. Does anyone else really want to hear Rihanna guesting on another by the numbers rap tune? Does anyone want to hear another Jay-Z song ever again? All we seem to get at the moment is a brand of outlandishly dressed idiots to out-weird each other, while yet another sampled RnB tune hits the top of the charts.
Together, we can make it better. And we can start it with the summer of Craig David. Can I get a retweet?