Throughout his career he has been heralded as a national treasure, he’s the single most successful person to bring grime to the mainstream, and last November 4th, famously featured on the BBC’s, news and politics, roundup and discussion show, Newsnight. Dylan Mills a.k.a. Dizzee Rascal deserved his unprecedented success for Showtime, and for debut Boy in da Corner; having been expelled from four schools as a teenager, and only ever succeeding in music. All the best musical stories follow similar paths.
Somewhere since Dizzee’s 2003 debut however, tales of his childhood, teenage angst, and the music that transcended his upbriging, disappeared. In its place, 2009 brought a money and society-obsessed, glitz and glamour to most recent LP Tongue ‘n’ Cheek. The album is a rather embarrassing collection of throwaway experiments, with the album’s only highlight Bonkers, paving the way for a new genre of electro-hop, coming soon to a radio station near you.
It is a shame that the transition happened, but as with any artist who sings about a working class, deprived, or disheartened upbringing (or possibly all three), there is bound to be a writing slump, should the artist find success. The test of a good artist or band, is how this is dealt with; how the mainstream, wealth, and fame, affect your future songs. Rascal’s Tongue N’ Cheek is a disappointing exercise in this case.
His recent performance at the BBC Electric Proms, however, was quite the contrary to his summer’s releases. Fully orchestrated, backed by a band, and the legendary Guthrie Govan, Dizzee Rascal stormed through a set that fused hiphop and grime, with country, jazz, and rock ‘n’ roll. The performances’ are mindblowing, and begs the question of what’s next for Dizzee Rascal?