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Having worked with the likes of film director Noel Clarke, genre-hopping musician Damon Albarn, and even former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, British MC Bashy certainly transcended the underground grime genre from which he originated. Born Ashley Thomas in Chiswick, West London in 1985, he first developed a love of music when he was sent to live with his grandmother in Dominica after being expelled from school. Inspired by the dancehall/soca sounds of the streets, he returned to the U.K. and, adopting his childhood nickname, recorded various demos under the guise of Bashy with his cousin DJ Kid and the Live Link Crew. After becoming a regular fixture on pirate radio station De Ja Vu, he attended the prestigious Brits School alongside Amy Winehouse, Leona Lewis, and Kate Nash, where he studied for a BTEC in performing arts. He released two mixtapes, Your Mum, famous for its confrontational dissing of fellow rapper Wiley, and Chupa Chups Assorted Flavours, which came attached with a free lollipop, while at the same time holding down various jobs including postman, bus driver, and sales assistant. In 2007 he scored a huge underground hit with "Black Boys," a track that highlighted the positive role models in the black community and resulted in him becoming the ambassador for the Stop the Knife campaign, where he worked on a project at 10 Downing Street. In 2009 he released his debut album, Catch Me If You Can, was nominated for two MOBO Awards, and was asked to be the assistant music supervisor on British box-office number one Adulthood, a sequel whose predecessor Bashy had previously illegally sampled from. Switching his attention to acting, he appeared in British films Shank, 4321, and The Veteran, before guesting on Gorillaz's Plastic Beach and recording his own follow-up, Bish Bash Bosh, due out in 2011. ~ Jon O'Brien

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