One of several grime artists to benefit from the mainstream breakthrough of Dizzee, Tinie, and Tinchy, South London MC Dot Rotten spent years building up a name for himself on the underground scene before working with everyone from X-Factor finalists to Brit Award-winning singer/songwriters.
Born Joseph Ellis in Stockwell, he first started rapping and making his own music on an Atari system at age seven, and inspired by artists as eclectic as Bob Marley, Timbaland, and Sting, went on to release his first mixtape, entitled This Is the Beginning, in 2007. A year later, he changed his moniker to Dot Rotten, an acronym for "Dirty on Tracks, Righteous Opinions Told to Educate Nubians" (rather than having anything to do with the iconic similarly named Eastenders character), culminating in the follow-up, R.I.P. Young Dot. Stints in the OGZ Crew and the Essentials helped increase his profile, and after receiving exposure on the likes of Rinse FM and SB:TV, he was asked to collaborate on Early B's single "A Star," P-Money's album, P-Money Is Power ("Sounds & Gimmicks"), and Mz. Bratt's Elements mixtape ("Speeding By"), as well as guest on mainstream releases such as Cher Lloyd's Sticks & Stones ("Dub on the Track") and Ed Sheeran's 5 Collaborations Project ("Goodbye to You"). After signing with Mercury Records in 2011, he appeared alongside Labrinth, Chipmunk, and Wretch 32 on the official Children in Need charity cover version of Massive Attack's "Teardrop," supported Chase & Status, Dappy, and J.Cole on their U.K. tours, and released several diss tracks ("Pop Artist," "It's Over") in a bitter dispute with the "King of Grime," Wiley. After releasing his debut single, "Keep It on a Low," he was shortlisted for the prestigious BBC Sound of 2012 poll and is expected to release his debut studio album later in the year. ~ Jon O'Brien, Rovi