Mike Short

Dizzee Rascal
"Boy In Da Corner"

20th March 2005
Dizee Rascal Cover
reviewer: Mike Short
rating: 4 out of 5
published by: XL
released: 21st July 2003
  1. Sittin’ Here
  2. Stop Dat
  3. I Luv U
  4. Brand New Day
  5. 2 Far (Feat. Wiley)
  6. Fix Up, Look Sharp
  7. Cut ‘Em Off
  8. Hold Ya Mouf (feat. God’s Gift)
  9. Round We Go (Ain’t No Love)
  10. Jus’ A Rascal
  11. Wot U On?
  12. Jezebel
  13. Seems 2 Be
  14. Live O
  15. Do It

Many critics had already written off the UK Garage scene before the start of 2003, with So Solid Crew absent, and groups like More Fire Crew and Heartless Crew meeting with limited commercial and critical success. Enter nineteen year old Dylan Mills aka Dizzee Rascal; the saviour of the UK Garage scene.

"I bumped my noggin"

Despite being only nineteen years of age, this is an assured and confident debut from Dizzee and hints at a bright future ahead. And in a few words, it sounds like East London should. It's about as gritty, as real and as dirty an album as you will find in your local HMV and that does it many favours. Dizzee's album is, as a result of all this, incredibly edgy, and *gasp* exciting.

The album starts with 'Sittin' Here', which can best be described as the calm before the storm. It's an abstract song with an out of time beat that gives listeners a taster of what's to come. It's a reasonably laid back affair, but the menacing bassline that occasionally drops in makes you realise that this is a dark album.

Then, it all kicks off.

The double whammy of the explosive tracks 'Stop That' and 'I Luv U' really drop the listener in it. At first it's a claustrophobic listen, and at points it's quite unpleasant. However, once the listener has grown familiar with Dizzee's erratic, complex and simply brilliant lyrical skills, it becomes a pleasure. 'I Luv U' is a manic, message-driven tale of underage love and pregnancy which drops in flavours as heavy as Drum and Bass. It truly is a great tune, and one which perfectly sums up Dizzee's style. Fast, random, message-carrying and as mad as a box of frogs.

Tracks pass; the pace doesn't let up. On first listen, this will beat you into submission. Tracks like ‘Hold Ya Mouf’, ‘Jus' A Rascal’ and ‘Jezebel’ are some of the most edgy, angry tracks put to wax in the 21st Century. And that's no exagerration.

It's on the albums true stunner, 'Fix Up, Look Sharp' that the listener will realise several things. This album is distinctly British ("I'm old school like Happy Shopper" springs to mind), Dizzee is amazing lyrically, easily eclipsing those who have come out of the UK before him such as Roots Manuva and Blak Twang, and finally, this album is Hip Hop. Yes, whilst this album may initially appear to be Garage in its tone, all the beats are definitely Hip Hop paced. And Dizzee doesn't MC, he Raps.

The pace continues through the album, arguably without a bad track in sight. Although it may initially appear to be a suffocating listen, it will soon grow on you, until you come to the realisation that this is one of the best debuts you have heard in many a moon, simply because it's brilliantly executed and exciting. The critics may have been right about the death of UK Garage after all... Long live UK Hip Hop.