Zeph Ellis

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Zeph Ellis
Dot Rotten BML 2011.jpg
Background information
Birth nameJoseph Ellis-Stephenson
Also known asDot Rotten
Young Dot
Mr. Three-Six
Big Dotti
Biological Father of Grime
Terror Child
Born (1988-10-19) 19 October 1988 (age 30)
London, England[1]
Years active2004-present
LabelsRotten Riddims, Minarmy, Mercury (past)
Associated actsEd Sheeran

Steel Banglez Wiley

Ghetts MoStack

Joseph Ellis-Stephenson (born 19 October 1988), better known by his stage name Zeph Ellis (formerly Dot Rotten), is an English rapper, grime MC and record producer from Lambeth, South London.[1]

Having released a series of mixtapes independently in the grime scene under the names Young Dot and later Dot Rotten, Ellis signed to Mercury Records, releasing his debut studio album Voices in My Head in 2013. [2][3] After leaving the major label, he has since released several independent EP's and projects, as well as later changing his name to Zeph Ellis and focusing on producing.

He is known for introducing various sampling techniques to grime production, and creating the style of singing hooks on grime tracks. These styles can be heard throughout his discography from the early Young Dot era to his present projects under the Zeph Ellis moniker.


2004-08: Early career and first name change[edit]

Ellis began rapping at the age of seven, using an Atari model as a basis for music production.[1] Under the name Young Dot, he released his first self-produced mixtape in 2007, entitled This Is The Beginning.

The following year saw Ellis abandon the moniker and adopt a new guise, Dot Rotten. The name change was followed by a second self-produced mixtape entitled R.I.P. Young Dot, released in July 2008. This year also saw the release of Rotten Riddims, an instrumental series spanning six volumes. These featured a host of new material, as well as instrumentals that Ellis had previously made and used in his Young Dot era. Volume 7 was eventually released in 2014 as a free download.

2008-11: Mixtapes and collaborations[edit]

The following year, Ellis released two mixtapes within two months, entitled S.O.O.N (Something Out of Nothing) and Extra Attention. Production was primarily handled by Dot himself, but also featured instrumentals by Rude Kid, Faith SFX and Dizzee Rascal. Guest vocalists included Ice Kid, Voltage, Brutal and Shimmer.

2011-2013: Breakthrough and Voices In My Head[edit]

2011 saw Dot Rotten sign his first major label deal with Mercury Records. During this year he made several guest appearances, including on Ed Sheeran's No. 5 Collaborations Project ("Goodbye to You"),[4] Mz. Bratt's Elements mixtape ("Speeding By")[5] and Cher Lloyd's Sticks + Stones ("Dub on the Track"). He also appeared on the Children in Need 2011 charity single, "Teardrop". [6][7] Under the name 'The Collective', Rotten appeared as one of many artists assembled by Take That member Gary Barlow, which included Chipmunk, Wretch 32, Mz. Bratt, Labrinth, Rizzle Kicks, Ed Sheeran, Ms. Dynamite and Tulisa Contostavlos. The single, which was performed both at Children in Need 2011 and Children in Need Rocks Manchester in November 2011 debuted at number 24 on the UK Singles Chart;[8] marking Dot Rotten's first chart appearance. An EP entitled Above The Waves was self-released in June 2014 featuring the lead track, "Normal Human Being".

The rapper proceeded to release his debut single on 4 November 2011, entitled "Keep It on a Low". It was announced on 5 December that Dot Rotten had been nominated for the BBC's poll Sound of 2012.[1] The rapper's second single, "Are You Not Entertained?" was released on 4 March 2012, following a premiere from BBC Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe on 4 January. "Are You Not Entertained?" debuted at number fifty-three on the UK Singles Chart and number twenty-one on the UK R&B Chart - marking Rotten's first chart appearance as a solo artist.[8][9] The rapper's third single, "Overload", was released in the United Kingdom on 28 May 2012. Sampling the 1996 number-two hit "Children", by Robert Miles, the track was selected as Zane Lowe's Hottest Record in the World.[10] "Overload" debuted at number fifteen on the UK chart, [8][11] also debuting at number three on the R&B chart.[9] His debut studio album, Voices In My Head, was released in the United Kingdom on 6 May 2013. Despite the successful singles, due to issues with the label, the album was neglected by Dot himself and it only managed to chart at number 146 on the UK Albums Chart. A free mixtape entitled Throwback Music was released soon after, consisting of songs that didn't make the final cut of the album.

2013: Interview and name change[edit]

After leaving his label deal, Minfection EP was released in January 2014. [12] Ellis then proceeded to put out his self-released album Interview featuring artists including Sickman, Stylo G, Lady Leshurr and Abel Miller.

Taking a break from rapping, Ellis changed his stage name to Zeph Ellis and focused on production, releasing various instrumental projects including the This Side of Grime series. He produced an instrumental titled "XCXD BXMB" which featured on the fabriclive.83 mix CD. It was used as the basis for Kano's "Garage Skank" from Made in the Manor, and AJ Tracey's "Naila" from the Alex Moran EP. Ellis also produced Jammer's 2016 single "Dagenham Dave."

In 2019 he is making a comeback to the scene with a new name ‘ The Spirit ‘. Dot claims he is not doing grime after he dropped his #38CHALLENGE. Instead he’s going with an auto tune rap approach.


Studio albums[edit]