With his distinctive woolly chullos, scallywag persona, and "na na nai" catch phrase, North London MC/vocalist Dappy was instrumental in the commercial breakthrough of his urban-pop trio N-Dubz, but has since become more renowned for his questionable off-the-field activities than for the band's series of multi-platinum albums. Born Costadinos Contostavlos in 1987, he grew up in Camden Town, where he attended a number of schools before being expelled for truancy and eventually dropping out of education altogether by the age of 15. Encouraged to change his ways by father Byron, who had previously been in '70s folk-rock outfit Mungo Jerry, he later returned to study at college while simultaneously pursuing a music career with cousin Tulisa and childhood friend Richard Rawson (Fazer). Originally called Lickle Rinsers Crew, the trio changed its name to N-Dubz. After several years of plugging away on the pirate radio scene, they signed to Polydor Records in 2007, where they went on to score a number one single alongside Tinchy Stryder ("Number 1"), several MOBO Awards, and three Top 20 albums: Uncle B (named after his late father), Against All Odds, and Love.Live.Life.
During this period, Dappy became a constant presence in the tabloids for all the wrong reasons. In consecutive years, he was accused of glamorizing criminality in a controversial video for Baker Trouble's "Love for My Slums," received a four-month suspended sentence after pleading guilty to two accounts of assault, and was thrown off a BA flight with bandmate Fazer for acting disorderly. But it was his antics on Chris Moyles' Radio 1 breakfast show that caused the biggest controversy, after he texted death threats to a listener who had called him a "little boy with a silly little hat." Dappy later apologized for his behavior, but the band was soon dropped from the government's anti-bullying R U Cyber Safe campaign, and there were several calls for the station to boycott his records. A year later, Dappy began working on his solo album with the likes of U.S. rapper Mann, appeared on Top 40 hits by Loick Essien ("Stuttering") and Tinchy Stryder ("Spaceship"), and released his debut single, "No Regrets." His debut solo album, Bad Intentions, was released in late 2012. ~ Jon O'Brien