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Dizzee Rascal is like no other

Kenyatta Storin | Thursday, February 12, 2004

London MC Dizzee Rascal may only be 18 years old, but his debut, Boy in da Corner, showcases a unique style that most veteran musicians do not achieve five albums deep into their careers. His music combines aspects of both hip-hop and electronica, but it is almost impossible to classify him under one or the other. And despite comparisons to 2Pac and 50 Cent, the truth of the matter is that even when you take away his British accent and slang, Dizzee simply sounds like nobody else, past or present. Virtually all of the production is done by Dizzee himself, and to say his beats are different from the norm is an understatement. Aside from the old school hip-hop beat of “Fix Up, Look Sharp,” most of the production sounds like strange combinations of disjointed, spacey beeps and bleeps of a Playstation 2 with heavy, droning thumps of a bass in the background. Many listeners will be immediately turned off by this, since it is not particularly catchy and is often just plain weird. If you are looking for the next ‘In Da Club,” you will not find it here. Nonetheless, if given an open mind and some time, the uniqueness of Dizzee’s sound can be readily respected and enjoyed. However, to truly appreciate Dizzee, you must decipher his lyrics. His British accent is so thick that even simple words like “girl” can sound cryptic, and his cultural slang will go over your head unless you are well versed in British street lingo. But if you have the patience, or perhaps online written lyrics, you will find that Dizzee’s rhymes are worth your time.Dizzee gives you the lowdown on the streets of East London, but it goes beyond just talking about how tough he is, how nice his rims are and how many girls he can get like your average gangsta rapper. He discusses the trials and tribulations of his life but is not afraid to show conflicting emotions and weaknesses. On “Brand New Day,” he laments the difficulties of his life, saying, “Looks like I’m losing sight / Coz I’m looking at the future, it ain’t right,” but then says in the chorus, “But it’s a brand new day / New opportunities, what can I say?” Similarly, on “Do It” he says, “Sometimes I wake up wishing I can sleep forever / I spend my whole life trying to pull myself together,” and then says in the chorus, “Sleep tight, everything will be alright.” Other notable tracks are “I Luv U,” which discusses underage sex, “Jezebel,” a sad tale of a prostitute, and “Round We Go,” where Dizzee talks about his girl problems. Boy in da Corner is certainly not for everyone, but Dizzee’s talent is undeniable. In fact, most hip-hop fans will likely want to skip Boy in da Corner because it lacks catchy beats and is difficult to understand. If you are looking for some hardcore rap to blare in your stereo while you party, this is not for you. But if you have an open mind and want a fresh style to put into your CD player, than Dizzee is your man. Who knows? He may very well be the future of hip-hop and electronica.

Contact Kenyatta Storin at kstorin@nd.edu