For anyone who hasn’t kept up with urban sensation Craig David’s life since he disappeared completely from the public eye, here’s a potted summary: an exile to the U.S., a strange period of hitting the gym to get hench, freestyling on current events and imparting strangely insightful advice about the importance of self love.
Indeed, made mentally and physically stronger through all those gym sessions and spiritual teachings (and probably with a thirst for vengeance), Craig teased his intention to come back and make his mark on the contemporary scene. Craig was a UK garage pioneer back in the day, bringing it into the mainstream for everyone to enjoy; with everyone now dusting off their Iceberg and 110s, the stage looks set for his return.
As the radio session demonstrates, you don’t have a career like Craig and not pick up a few fan boys, perhaps one of the most prominent being grime’s very own Big Narstie (remember when he collabed with N-Dubz? What fun). They got on so well their relationship blossomed into what you can only describe as a bromance. That bromance led to When The Bassline Drops, a track that blends Narstie's incomparable flow with Craig's sweet, soothing tones over an instrumental that aims to please both garage and grime fans.
Though listening back over the rest of Craig's catalogue, you remember just why his public image was so ripe for mockery by latex-faced Channel 4 comedians; the idea of that guy in a vest and beanie, desperately trying to two-step in time and catch the attention of the girl at the bar who he’s been staring at for just too long.
But anyway, enough nostalgia, Craig has regained a degree of mainstream attention and you think he'd want to go onwards and upwards. Create throwback bangers to remind people in their early 20s he was the one to teach them the days of the week, maybe pop up at Culture Clash to throw shade at the international crew who don't know what dubplates are, send a war dub for Avid Merrion now that he's Keith fucking Lemon.
However, Craig's gone and done something so embarrassing it should banish him back to his Miami yacht. Even with the amazing things that have happened and could happen with his return, it's such an upsetting move it can’t be left to lie.
He’s covered that wimpy whiny manchild Justin Bieber.
Craig, why? Did you feel the need to appeal to a younger female audience? Or the new hypebeast crew who suddenly jumped on the Bieberwagon because he’s apparently producing 'bangers'? It perhaps hints at an uncertainty as to what Craig wants and what people will accept; does he want to be the most relevant pop star again, a scene veteran who dabbles in modern music, an infamous outsider who pops up to cause a stir like Dean Blunt?
The idea might be bad but, to be honest, I’m undecided on the quality of cover. Part of me wants to hate it and part of me isn’t sure if I should hate it just because it’s a Justin Bieber cover. It does have that signature Craig David garage-y sound that you can’t not love, but as great as Craig’s voice is, nothing can disguise those dogshite lyrics. With all this in mind, Craig David is possibly one of the very few artists who could get away with a Justin Bieber cover and not have everyone hate it - and him - as a result. So I guess credit where credit is due, well done Craig, you wonderful man.
The good news for anyone still wanting more is that he’s been in the studio making music, plus he’s got a live performace at Koko London in March. So get yourself down and vibe to all the tunes you played to death when you were young- and maybe this time you can two-step in time and not stare at the girl by the bar for as long this time.
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