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Check out the TV listings below and keep up-to-date with the progress of the Chancers as they take on the might of the East Coast urban music scene.


Episode 1:
Monday 16 May, 9.30am

Based in an office in London, scout Jade Richardson has the task of finding 20 talented, unsigned UK urban acts from which Fatman Scoop can choose the six-strong Chancers Collective which he will launch on to the New York scene. With his reputation on the line, and with a three-week deadline, Jade enlists the help of Scoop's UK manager Sonya Skinner and together they blitz shops and radio stations, inviting applicants. Sifting first through hundreds of submitted tapes, sending the best to Scoop in New York for review, the girls take to the road to check out promising leads and to see the acts in their own environment. In cities and in the country, in rehearsal studios and in the streets, open mic contests and battles, the list is gradually agreed. Another sift reduces the number to 15, and the stage is set for the first test: preparing a showreel that will really show that given the resources they can raise their performance to the next level.

Episode 2:
Tuesday 17 May, 9.30am

Over in New York, Scoop needs visuals as the next stage of choosing his six Chancers finalists. Using just the resources they have, he reckons he will be able to judge style, stories, attitudes and determination of the 15 on the shortlist. Before he comes to London, he wants to eliminate three more, leaving 12 to face him and his panel. The showreels come in, and Scoop checks his own professional opinion against the view on the street – especially his barber! From the vocalists he chooses a cross-section of style, from classical pianist Amy Stead to 17-year-old Angel J, for her marketable looks and vocal range. The third is the experienced and confident performer, Duchess.

Moving to MCs, Scoop was always impressed by Phobea's individuality and getting his showreel in first ensures his place. Next up is Ian Foden who Scoop believes could be a northern answer to Eminem. Ragga rapper Deadly Hunter and Bronz from the streets win out over Lay Z. For the girls, Scoop believes Tempa's Nottingham accent marks her out and adds a unique selling point, and Tor has a good sound. Of the two under 18s, Lady Fury and Lady Kaos, both big on the battle scene, he picks Lady Fury as slightly more ready to move to the next level. Producers need to have original beats and make them quickly. Scoop thinks Edot is a little too young, picking Damn Trouble and Wonder to go forward to meet the challenge of coping with the ego of five other people when they reach New York. Scoop is now ready to bring in the panel. But will they agree with him?

Episode 3:
Wednesday 18 May, 9.30am

Time is short. Scoop has a 24-hour window in his schedule and in that time he has to fly into London, meet his expert panel, and then choose and brief the six Chancers finalists. The panel brings different perspectives: TrevorÊNelson can pick hits; with 10 million records sold, Shaznay Lewis can claim to know what makes a successful vocalist; Ras Kwame has his finger on the pulse of UK talent; and Raghav introduces a wider influence. Of the four male MCs they choose Bronz and Phobea, Tempa wins the female MC slot, Duchess and Angle J are the two female vocalists and Damn Trouble the producer. While individual talent is important, Scoop is mindful that the six must complement each others' style and translate into the US scene.

Immediately summoned to London, the six meet for the first time. Initial speculation turns to jaw dropping as they meet Scoop and the task is explained. But admiration is quickly replaced by anxiety as Scoop pulls no punches. With little time for congratulation he lays down his rules. The choice is stark – respect him and work hard or it's on the plane home. Just 24 hours later the six are in New York, disorientated and short on sleep, and the pace has not slowed. Their task is to make a record from scratchÊin just three weeks. After being introduced to Scoop's uncompromising team, it is plain that the Chancers are worried that their style will be swamped and their identity lost. Will they be able to assert themselves and toe Scoop's line?

Episode 4:
Thursday 19 May, 9.30am

Waking up to their first day in New York, the Chancers waste no time in exploring their new surroundings. They all find that the city they have seen in a multitude of films and TV series is exactly as they expected. Out on the streets, the urban scene is not just about selling records but an aspirational lifestyle. They all head for the shops, the boys to buy a stereo and the girls to look for bargains. More relaxed and ready to get started, they meet Scoop at the studio. Their task is to make a record, but although keen for the Chancers to bring their own experiences and individuality to the track, he warns them that they must break the rhymes down to a level that the audience will understand, or it simply will not sell. As a start, however, he sets them the task of writing the night's 40-second promo jingle for his Hot 97 show. This is a regular feature which showcases new rappers for Scoop's critical listeners to judge and comment on.

Divided into two teams competing for the slot – Damn Trouble, Angle and Bronz against Duchess, Tempa and Phobea – they focus on getting all the required elements down on tape and down to the radio station by 2am. Back at the hotel, they wait to hear which jingle has been picked, excited by their fledgling celebrity status already boosted by a visit from Wyclef. Duchess, Tempa and Phobea are the chosen team, and even more gratifying for Scoop's faith in their talent, the audience feedback is encouraging. For Phobea there is an added bonus – to loosen up his nerves he is to take part with Scoop in an MTV festival in Germany. The first hurdle is over, and bonds of friendship are starting to be formed. But will these hold up as the going gets harder?

Episode 5:
Friday 20 May, 9.30am

Confidence is high as Scoop leaves for Germany having set the group a tough task – they must have a record ready on his return in four days. He doesn't expect the next party anthem, just something he can 'get on'. As time is obviously tight for producer Damn Trouble, who must first come up with the beats, the group settles on one of his existing tracks and get to work. Scoop has put his network of contacts at their disposal and they can test their ideas on some of the biggest names on the New York scene. Angel meets top producer Punch, while Bronz and Tempa try to find out from Mobb Deep how they can get noticed and break the US scene.

The problem for all of them, to differing degrees, is walking the fine line between having something different to offer and making it accessible enough to strike a chord with the US audience. For Duchess this becomes particularly personal when she is told to change her hairstyle for the promotional photos. But a sense of the immense opportunities and financial potential is beginning to become real to the Chancers; particularly to Phobea who has returned from Germany with the buzz of recognition and a taste of the star treatment. More compromises are needed in the studio to accommodate Angel's and Duchess's vocal styles on to the rapper beat, before the track gets the thumbs up from Ashanti and producer Mark Ronson, who helps with the final mix. DT goes to bed happy while Bronz and Tempa are reminded just how competitive the US scene is, taking part in a street corner battle. But will Scoop like the record, and as importantly, can the group hold together to represent their range of styles and personalities?

Episode 6:
Monday 23 May, 9.35am

Scoop returns from Germany. If he likes the Chancers' record he will put his vocal on; if not they will have to start again from scratch. There is good and bad news. Scoop thinks it's hot, but he has heard the track before on Damn Trouble's Chancers showreel. He sends the group back to come up with something new. Working through the night, the two camps must again resolve issues of style – club banger or love song – and beats, combining hip hop and R&B. Scoop wants Angel's voice to come through and she stands her ground, but against all the odds, Damn Trouble is able to reconcile the differences. Next morning, he checks out industry opinion and gets more advice from Damon Dash. But no matter how good the track, the Chancers must now get it out on the streets, where everything starts.

The mission is to get the track on to mixtapes; to get that all-important underground radio station play – a task allocated to Bronz and Tempa. They make an impression at Cornerstone but disappointingly Rene McLean at RPM is non-committal at including them in the influential Mixshow event. Meanwhile, a second group must come up with a design for the 'rap van', the moving billboard vehicle, which will create the vital first impression. This image will also form the basics of the posters and record sleeve. With Cornerstone stressing the importance of making a connection, tensions remain over how best to get their individuality across. Their strong 'British are coming' message is rejected as too corny, and after Scoop buys them some more time, it is left to graphic artist Phobea to adapt the design to meet the deadline. But the 24/7 pace is catching up with the Chancers and, trying to pull in a party as well, deadlines are starting to be missed.

Episode 7:
Tuesday 24 May, 9.30am

With a week to go, the Chancers have finished the two tracks that will be released. However, the tight schedule of four days means that not everyone is happy with the result. Phobea, particularly, feels that he has not been able to express himself and stay true to his style. And trying to fit with what he thinks is wanted costs him dearly, when he is left off the track. The message is definitely that the Chancers should not change. This sentiment is reinforced for Tempa when she goes to Miami to meet Ms Dynamite, another single parent who thinks that female artists should stamp a stronger image on the urban scene. Phobea's late-night efforts proved to have paid off when the promotion van is delivered with exactly the message the collective wants to project, and they set off around the shops with just one copy of the record to get them to agree to stock it.

Response is good, and with things going well for the group the next task is the mixtapes that will showcase their individual skills. Before the Chancers move into the studio to record 18 tracks, which this time with be laid down over popular beats, Bronz gets some advice from Lloyd Banks and Young Buck from G-Unit in Atlanta, both of whom launched on mixtapes. As the last round in their New York education, vocalists Angel and Duchess appear in an open mic night at the Soul Café. Duchess' experience shows, as she opens the evening in style, but Angel feels she messes up with her newly learnt mixtape track, before regaining confidence with a second song. For all the Chancers, whatever the success of their final days, the lessons and insights they have gained have been immeasurable.

Episode 8:
Wednesday 25 May, 9.30am

The Chancers are into the last make or break days of their trip. They are hoping to make a mark with their single, and gather in a diner at 3am as Scoop gives it its first airplay on his Hot 97 show. Opening the phone lines, the response is good. Next morning Scoop gives the Chancers their final challenge – to organise and perform in a showcase at top venue Babalu. The record will not be enough to draw an audience and they hit the street again with fliers, impromptu singing previews and sheer hard sell. Bronz wins fans after being challenged to a battle on 42nd street and the 500 capacity seems within reach. Interest is growing in the industry too, and A&R from Interscope takes Tempa's phone number.

But when two Chancers are late for the rehearsals that Scoop has set up with Master Ace, there is another lecture on wasting opportunities. Just hours before the gig, the heaviest rain of the summer threatens to derail the attendance, but the show does go on – the Chancers on stage with Scoop as the finale of the experience. The consensus is that they have pulled it off, and buoyed up by positive comments the Chancers pack for home. Real opportunities beckon back at home and their hunger for the business means that when that break comes they will certainly be ready.


 
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