TURNING THE CORNER
A STRONG ROUND SIX FOR THE NEWLY COMBATIVE MR RASCAL.
DIZZEE RASCAL RASKIT DIRTEE STANK/ISLAND, OUT NOW
What’s eating Dylan Mills? When Dizzee Rascal told the BBC in June he ought to be headlining Glastonbury, he had a germ of a point. Since Boy In Da Corner dragged grime overground in 2003, he’s scored more UK Top 10 LPs and Number 1 singles than previous bill-toppers Kanye West ( 2015) and Jay-Z ( 2008). But deep down, he knows that when a British rapper does conquer the Pyramid, it’ll be Stormzy or some other next-gen MC for whom Dizzee kicked down the door. And there’s the rub: rock bands are afforded enduring veneration, while UK rappers are only feted as flavours of the month. Raskit seethes with that sense of injustice, and that reassertion of status. “Tell promoters that they’ve got to put me on more/I’m like an elevator sticking at the wrong floor,” he snarls on The Other Side, which also swipes at “rubbish MCs” and “little grime kids” who “ain’t got a clue”. Its conciliatory flipside is Wot U Gonna Do?, a warning to younger rappers about the downward slope when the girls don’t call and you’ve “gotta work weekend shifts at McD’s”. Raskit was consciously made with “no hands-in-the-air moments”. There’s no Bonkers here. The production, courtesy of US middleweights Salva, Cardo and Valentino Khan, is sparse and unfussy, heavy on John Carpenteresque horror atmospherics, matching Dizzee’s vexed paranoia. The 32- year-old’s alwaysphenomenal flow is now matched by weighty content. For example, the anti-gentrification Everything Must Go, which samples Thatcher evangelising for free enterprise and Boris Johnson’s hollow words about housing and social cohesion, makes bleakly topical listening post-Grenfell. The mood lifts briefly circa the G-funk-inspired Bop N Keep It Dippin’ and the emulsified date jam She Knows What She Wants, but the self-explanatory Sick A Dis returns to Raskit’s agitated, antagonistic mood. The boy may be cornered, but he’s coming out swinging. HHHH SIMON PRICE Listen To: Wot U Gonna Do? | Bop N Keep It Dippin’ | Everything Must Go
Dizzee Rascal: “Sneakergaze is more my thing, actually...” THE 32-YEAR-OLD’S ALWAYS-PHENOMENAL FLOW IS NOW MATCHED BY WEIGHTY CONTENT.