2003’s Boy in da Corner heralded the inception of a true distinguishable artist with his own unique sound.
This performer would go on to charm the nation with his cunning, cheeky charm and ambidextrous wordplay. That artist of course was Dizzee Rascal. The album had an intensity and rawness that simply dragged you into his east London habitat. It garnered street classics such as Stop Dat, I LuvU”, Fix Up Look Sharp amongst others. The album had a brilliant blend of humour, satire and social commentary all packaged with a poise and panache that belied his tender years.
Dizzee, set a bench mark that he himself has struggled at times to overcome. He went onto make some cracking songs for the next generation with collaborations with the likes of Calvin Harris, Bun B, Arctic Monkeys etc.. He also created his own label Dirty Stank and helped put local underground collective Newham Generals on the map.
2017’s Raskit is Rascals reintroduction to the scene. He kicks off the album with track Focus which finds Diz signalling his intent for the project as displays on the hook “I aint stush / that’s focus on my mush / I don’t need no kush I push and one in the hands worth two the bush.”
Wot U Gonna Do finds Raskit talking in third person as he summarises the question that all artists dread to ask. Its strikingly pensive and stirring in its self-analysis as Diz opens up the song with the lines “What u gonna do when your money ain’t long / what you gonna do when your name aint strong / what you gonna do when they don’t play records and you don’t get booked because your buzz is all gone.”
The song ends up closing as kind of motivational speech to himself to get back on it.
Dizzee, reminds us of why he entered the consciousness of music fans with some exemplary word play on track Space. His compact delivery and furious intensity is a joy to behold as he reminds the industry that he is very comfortable in his space.
“I Ain’t Even Gonna Lie” is a playful and mischievous with its expression. Its Rascal at his most tongue in cheek as he weaves comical narratives “Suzy, got a little woozy / had a little blaze on the doobie / moving unruly /had a little boogie /Suz is a little bougey but she wants to move with the goonies…” The production creates this amped up anthem like musical experience that feeds Dizzee the energy for his whipper snapper delivery.
I’ve been doing this since cable / I was on the grave yard shift in the studio only popped out for a salt beef bagel / I was on the roads when it was unstable…” Raskit reals off lines at will on this minimalist production. The violin riff that plays in the background throughout turns this into something like a modern fable.
Bop N Keep it Dippin finds Dizz drawing on his American influences in terms of the production as it has west coast tint to it. With this track we find him recollecting his journey from being broke with no hope to his rise in the industry.
It’s told with humour and darkness in equal quarters. In four minutes Dizzee quite cleverly takes you for a ride down memory lane.
To lighten up the album your customary ladies track must be fashioned. She Knows What She Wants is that song. With Humour at its core and that kind of summer time bounce it gives you that easy relaxed kind of feel. Dizzee is good at projecting his jovial personality as he name checks the finer things that women tend to appreciate from fine dining to trips to Milan.
From here on in we find Dizzee at his most introspective. In Dummy he evaluates the positive impact he’s had on the music scene in contrast to thoughts of others who have already written him off. It’s the haunting piano loop alongside the snarling beat coupled with Raskit’s furious flow that really elevates this song.
Everything Must Go is Dizzee’s take on the politicians questionable behaviour which has led directly to mass gentrification in London. The heavy based dub step production features a full with an alarm sound that is symbolic of the urgent lyrics Raskit spits.
Slow Your Roll, is Dizzee reminding us of his past in order to relate to the youngsters of this generation, he attempts to give them his experience to guide them away from the trouble that’s bound to come from that life. Raskits flow is slowed down with and he takes on a much more sensitive tone to match the brooding heartfelt production.
The album closes on the chilled back DJ Quick inspired G Funk infused track Man Of The Hour. It’s an upbeat number that ends the album in real a celebratory fashion. We find Dizzee dropping gems throughout this. An unnamed female beautifully articulates the message most of us tend to forget that the future is in our the youth that we must nurture. It’s a moving to think it was just the other day that Dizzee Rascal was once the Boy In Da Corner but now he’s the Man Of The Hour.
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