Monday, 4 August 2008

Modern Classic: # 4. Dizzee Rascal – Boy In Da Corner

Is it to early to call this a modern classic? It came out in 2003 and won a lot of fans and critical acclaim. It still stands up to listens now in 2008 and Dizzee’s profile has gone through the roof, with another two ace albums and even a number one. This is a super raw in your face production from Dizzee, he made most of it and pretty much took Grime into the mainstream single-handed. This album pretty much introduced me to the genre, as it no doubt did for many other people that don’t live in London and have access to pirate radio and all that. Fix Up, Look Sharp is a massive tune that will still get the floor bumping in a lot of clubs round the land, you still hear in on the radio even now. The album is full of gems with attitude and energy; there isn’t even the cheese pop moments like on later albums.

Boy In Da Corner has some massive bouncy beats mixed with some sparse electronic atmospheric stuff that was a massive pleasure to my ears when I first came across it. Dizzee’s flow is brilliant and he is even getting props in the US as a rapper. He was even in the running for best MC in vibe magazine recently, he got knocked out by Andre 3000 in the first round though that was a tough match up he had going on there. I have a feeling the fantastic I Luv U was the first track Dizzee made and it’s a story about modern love and lots of back stabbing fakeness that goes with it. The beat is huge and bouncy as hell, it goes off when he plays it live, which I have been lucky enough to witness a few times. A lot of Grime is pre-occupied with bravado and name-calling, with a bit of swagger thrown in for good measure. Dizzee does a bit of this but he transcends that a lot of the time too with some more personal lyrics, which is one of the reasons I think he has grown in stature so much since he dropped this album. Sittin’ Here deals with this self meditative side as does Brand New Day other tunes are about anger and frustration like Stop Dat, I Luv U, Cut ‘Em Off, Hold Ya Mouf and Round We Go.

Sittin’ Here opens the album with a laid back vibe and lyrics about sittin’ around while the urban environment goes round him and he is seeing things go down the pan. There is a hopelessness to it like he doesn’t know what to do about any of it so just sits there. This is done over sounds of ambient noise from the city and a rolling sharp melody, with fat bass and skitting/clattering drums. Stop Dat is an evil sounding beast of a tune with some badass aggressive MCing from Dizzee. When the huge bass plays of a little twinkling synth melody about half way through the tune, it really goes off, I love the phrase, ‘screw face’. I Luv U is such a huge tune and still gets played quite a bit, I read about Blackdown dropping it recently at FWD>> and it going off big time. The looping I Luv U hook is awesome then the bouncy beast beat drops hard. Dizzee rides this one in style, and interchanges lines with a female in great style to add to the story of fucked up ‘love’. Brand New Day is a sunny little number with a chiming melody and laid back bass vibes. It’s about reminiscing about times before so much violence in his area, and wanting people to grow up. 2 Far features Wiley and is an amazing tune with a bit of an eski beat style to it. Both rappers are on form here, in fact I can’t think of any bars Wiley has done since that I enjoy as much. ‘I'm getting stronger bro your getting weaker broi came straight from the gutter lay lowI'm a ninja turtle u can't step into my circlein a sound flash I will hurt you’ is just a brilliant set of lines. Fix Up, Look Sharp is the next tune and what a huge one it is too, this is the one that propelled Dizzee into everyone’s face. I don’t think I need to say much about this tune to be honest every one knows it, ‘Sweet as a nut mate, sweet as a nut’. Cut ‘Em Off is a minimalist little banger with sparse beats and bass with echo drenched vocals about being a badass in true grime style. Hold Ya Mouf is another angry one with some gunshots and shit coming back on you if your not careful, the line, ‘If your not careful you might get hit by a chair’ cracks me up. God’s Gift features on this tune and has a massive angry style he scares the hell out of me on his bars. Round We Go is some other level space invader style grime madness, the beats and flow is just sublime. Jus A Rascal is a bit of an anthem and I remember it getting quite a lot of plays on mainstream radio, there are evil sounding subtle rock guitar and a strange operatic chorus. Wot U On is another mad beat with backward sounding drums and sci-fi loops, then that huge bouncy bass again. Jezebel is a sweet sounding one but has a hell of a bite. It’s all about some girl who got knocked up young and who is always in trouble, or got loads of STD’s. Seems 2 Be has an ace intro by a girl sayin’ how bad and nasty she is, the beat is another sci-fi beast with a strange high grimy radar sound going on. Live O sounds like the strangest phone line in all history, its cold and claustrophobic with Dizzee spitting bad bars on top of it. Do It is the final track and is a bit of a grime ballad if there is such a thing, it’s a laid back beauty of a tune.

Dizzee Rascal has gone off the scale since he dropped this album and he continues to make ace tunes and albums, yet Boy In Da Corner is maybe his defining moment so far. Big up Dizzee…

1 comment:

Matt said...

Dizzee Rascal is quite great! I love him he's really a great rapper, who brought a lot of fresh air to the musical scene!

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