DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are solely those of the critic and do not reflect those at hiphopsite.com or the United States hip-hop following. With that do not attempt to crucify the critic for his views of Dizzee Rascal’s debut album “Boy In Da Corner”. But in the immortal words of a brother named Sense “if I don’t like it I don’t like it/that don’t mean that I’m hatin.”
With the current surge of overseas music making an impact on the industry this side of the Atlantic, (Radiohead, The Streets, and Coldplay to name a few) it seems that the states are welcoming more acts outside of the U.S. with open arms. Riding high on his popularity and success overseas the 19 year old Dylan Mills better known as Dizzee Rascal attempts to assault the states with his unique hybrid of Hip-hop, drum & bass and UK garage fused with tales of guns, sex, crime and poverty. All of this projected through the eyes of a turbulent UK youth on his debut album Boy In Da Corner.
Dizzee certainly does possess the tools to make him huge. From being awarded the UK’s Mercury Music Prize for best album of the year beating out the likes of Coldplay, Radiohead, and the Darkness and becoming the first rapper and the youngest ever to win, to his already constant rotation on video (“Fix Up Look Sharp”), and chaotic past that seems to be the allure
of many a hip hop act (Dizzee was stabbed five times last summer by rival hip-hop group So Solid Crew). It seems the kid from East London is primed to make his U.S. splash with his States release. The question is whether or not the fickle hip-hop community is ready to accept an artist who is so unconventional. That because of his husky Cockney accent he may not be able to hold the attention of those here in the States.
One thing is for sure…you have not heard anything like Dizzee Rascal here in the states. He not only emcees but he also produces his whole album, which is unique in itself. The issue at hand is just how different his sound is. It seems that his musical output was birthed from the mind of a bastard child in exile. The production is executed combining disturbed bass frequencies and choppy synthesizers to create the subsonic soundscapes trapped inside the mind of young Dizzee From the outset “Sittin’ Here” just scratches the surface of how abstract this LP is. His accent is difficult to become accustomed to but it’s the production that may lose many. This critic for one is not a fan of UK garage or drum & bass so the out of the ordinary clatter of “I love U” is unbearable. “Stop Dat” oozes of electronic pulses, which attempt
to pass for rhythms but sound more like a video game out of the 80′s. “Live O” sounds lifted from an Atari 2600 game with its electronic soundscape. Different can be good at times but just because it’s different doesn’t automatically qualify it is classic or dope.
As an emcee Dizzee is alright. Once again his husky accent and slang are quite different than anything heard here in the states besides the occasional Guy Ritchie film. He spits a variety of subjects, none of which are new or very intriguing. More or less if he was stripped of his accent and the foreign fascination he would become say Memphis Bleek or a European
version of Cash Money. He spits his street narrative on “Sitten Here” and launches the every emcee braggadocio on “Cut ‘Em Off” and “Hold Ya Mouf” and fires off chicken head tales on “I Luv U” and the hoe whose been around joint “Round We Go.” Sure, at times he has joints that work (“Fix Up, Look Sharp” and “2 Far”) and he can put together an intriguing rhyme scheme as seen on the rock guitar driven “Jus a Rascal” but it becomes a bit too experimental and abstract for this critic to take a liking too. As said before different doesn’t always translate to great.
After all is said and done “Boy In Da Corner” is distinctive but not great. But just like the movie, Lost in Translation, this critic can see why it can become a success, but just can’t grasp the Brit-hop hype. It may be award winning and unique, but just isn’t dope enough to purchase. But who knows? It can possibly become a huge smash here in the states or it
can end up like the award winning Sofia Coppola film – lost in translation.?
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