sat 19/10/2019

CD: Dizzee Rascal - Raskit | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Dizzee Rascal - Raskit

CD: Dizzee Rascal - Raskit

Pop is out, high-velocity lyricism is in, on a startling showcase of word play

He's jus' a rascal, he's jus' a rascal...

In the four years since Dizzee Rascal’s last album the landscape around grime has changed. In 2013 grime MCs were busy hooking up with as many pop stars as possible, fusing their machine-gun lyricism with Autotune-addled pap pop. A Dizzee single from that time even featured a collaboration with Robbie Williams. With the ascent of Skepta, Stormzy, Jme, Novelist et al, grime has partly returned to its original fusion of spiky word-flow and caustic electronics. Dizzee’s been listening. His sixth album showcases an MC determined to astonish, and succeeding.

The best those turning to Raskit for cheery choruses will find is the jovial, somewhat throwaway “She Knows What She Wants”. For the rest, the density of the verbiage is, well, dizzying. For 16 songs it’s a relentless, complex onslaught, interweaving boasts, gags, narratives and point-making, backed by tracks that often have an ominous, post-trap/dubstep power, from the cinematic John Carpenter-esque soundbed for “I Ain’t Gonna Lie” to the flightier, flute motif on “Ghost”.

The music’s created by American beat-makers such as Skrillex associate Valentino Khan, Texan Whiz Khalifa discovery Cardo, and leading hip hop remixer Paul Salva, but it’s Dizzee Rascal who’s firmly centre-stage. He opens a window on his reality and doesn't allow the listener to turn away. He stares career collapse in the face on “Wot U Gonna Do?”, rages at the Tories on “Everything Must Go” (“All I can see I politicians running round trying to keep their pockets jingling”), rages at everything on “Sick a Dis”, gets slower and funky of the closing “Way I Am” and “Man of the Hour”, and harks back with brilliant lyricism to a fried chicken joint near where he grew up on “Bop’n’Keep It Dippin’”. And that's just a smidgin of the whole thing's sprawling, motormouthed ambition.

Raskit is a showcase, explicitly suggesting its maker has returned to claim his crown. Such is its dextrousness, the plate-spinning nerve with which Dizzee Rascal juggles metaphors, analogies, poetic twists and comic detail, that anyone who’s ruled him out of the game will find their own called into question.

Overleaf: Watch the video for Dizzee Rascal "Wot U Gonna Do"

A relentless, complex onslaught, interweaving boasts, gags, narratives and point-making


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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