Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Maths + English - Dizzee Rascal

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The first salient point about this album is clear as soon as you look down the track listing and see "feat. Lilly Allen" and "feat. Alex Turner"; this is Dizzee going "mainstream", which is just as well given that "grime" is pretty much dead in the water these days.

Of course there are still those old "gang violence" references in full flow but if nothing else it's likely to be the only rap album you'll ever hear with the lyrics "Pull your trousers up!... Read a book!... Find a pretty girl and settle!"

As you might expect at times the juxtaposition of these two ideas does jar, but there are a number of fantastic moments on this album.

Chief one is Pussyole, which is the finest song of the rap genre that I've heard in quite some time, and excitement is also to be found on the likes of Sirens (think Jay Z's 99 Problems set in London) and Where's Da G's (which talks about "fake aggression" on the streets and includes the "find a pretty girl and settle" line quoted earlier).

As for the Allen and Arctic Monkeys tie-in's, they're good, but don't match up to the best moments on the album. And if I'm being really honest, Allen's appearance here grates on me for some reason.

And on the whole this is a remarkable album. The variety of it may surprise some, but it provides the album with the magic that makes it pretty irresistible.

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