London's Dizzee Rascal (Dylan Mills),
a member of the "Roll Deep Crew", was only 19 when he
promoted a new genre ("grime"), an abrasive version of garage, with
I Luv U and Boy in Da Corner (2003).
The lyrics were far less important than the atmosphere created by the confused
and noisy arrangements, influenced
Goldie's brainy drum'n'bass and by
Tricky's haunted trip-hop
(I Love You and Fix Up Look Sharp).
Not as catchy as the debut,
Showtime (XL, 2004)
has to rely on energetic delivery, dramatic dexterity and
creative percussive patterns. It works only occasionally
(Stand Up Tall, Hype Talk) and only marginally.
Elsewhere he resorts to the old poppier structures
(Dreams) with equally uneven results.
Maths + English (2007) is an uneven sprawling collection of ideas.
The problem with rappers is that they are often as interesting as Hollywood
stars at a talk show. Hence Rascal's "memorable" line "There's a world outside of the ghetto and I want you to see it". The dumbest movie star could not have
put it more profoundly.
If one removes the idiotic lyrics and the half-baked "experiments",
Rascal's third album simply delivers a handful of radio-friendly dance songs and a lot of filler.
Giving up on artistic ambition, Tongue N' Cheek (2009) delivered only
the dance goods.
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