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TONGUE 'N' CHEEK
Grime champ steps up to the mark with career-best record
Edwin McFee, 11 Sep 2009
For far too long, Dizzee Rascal’s name and reputation have overshadowed his music. At this stage, we’re all aware he’s a “respected UK rapper” and that Lily Allen loves him so much she called her song ‘LDN’ in tribute to his lyrics. Beyond that, most people knew him as that bloke who had the creepy puppets in his video for the Captain Sensible-sampling ‘Dream’. And that was pretty much it. But this year, all that changed. With the Calvin Harris-produced ‘Dance Wiv Me’, Dizzee finally crafted a tune that lived up to his reputation. Full of inventive hooks and some truly impressive mic skills, it quite rightly put the MC at the top of the heap.
Shortly after that, he released ‘Bonkers’ and ‘Holiday’ in close succession. And both songs were just as catchy and imaginative as their predecessor. So now we have the finished album and it’s a magnificent tour de force. Over the course of 11 tracks, Dizzee stitches together dancehall, reggae, ‘90s techno and hip hop. And nine times out of ten, it works really well.
The opening ‘Bonkers’ boasts some fast-paced rhyming and excellent production by Armand Van Helden. Second song ‘Road Rage’ has a Bollywood vibe and is sure to be another smash. Speaking of hits, the aforementioned ‘Dance Wiv Me’ is track three, and if you haven’t heard it yet, we truly feel sorry for you.
Next up is one of the most controversial yet catchy songs on the slab of wax, ‘Freaky Freaky.’ Featuring the classic line “She’s always up for a bonking,” Dizzee’s word-play is phenomenal, even if his rampant sexism leaves a little to be desired. ‘Can’t Tek Me No More’ continues the theme of atrocious spelling and grammar. But stylistically it goes somewhere else entirely, employing a dancehall beat courtesy of longtime collaborator Shy FX.
‘Chillin’ Wiv Da Man Dem’ is one of the few turkeys to be found on Tongue ‘N’ Cheek, with its slow pace feeling a little too restrained compared to the songs that have gone before.