Dizzee Rascal


Released: 21st July 2017

Nine years ago, Dizzee Rascal and Calvin Harris teamed up for Dance Wiv Me, an infectious electro number that reached Number One and sent them both into the big-time.

Harris has remained there, dating Taylor Swift, modelling underwear for Armani and generally becoming one of the most successful British musicians ever. Dizzee, however, always seemed too nuanced a character for superstardom, even as he racked up more Number Ones and collaborated with the (un-street) likes of Robbie Williams, Jessie J and Now, back with his sixth album, the man born Dylan Mills has returned to the stripped-down grime and gritty topics of his 2003 debut, Boy In The Corner.

The transition feels a natural one, even if today – with the likes of Boy Better Know bigger than ever – everyone knows that grime is big business. Dizzee’s flow is superb on the sinister Wot U Gonna Do as he ponders what life holds for a failed star – “everybody wanna take shots at the king… gotta work weekend shifts at McD’s, then you can’t party on a Friday…” Sick A Dis, meanwhile, finds Mills ranting over a mutant dancehall beat as he settles scores: “Sick of comparisons I don’t relate… sick of these hipsters/Sick of these tricksters… Sick of this government, look at the state, same old debate.”

Musically, Raskit is also a return to form: Business Man brilliantly utilises a kitsch organ sample, and The Other Side is fragmented dubstep, while Man Of The Hour recalls The Avalanches’ gauzy disco. Plus there’s no Robbie Williams here – in fact, there are few choruses and each of Raskit’s 16 songs is endearingly punchy and short.

Even more importantly, Dizzee is back with a fire in his belly that’s been missing since he hit the mainstream. Looking sharp again, you could say.

Tom Pinnock

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