The warped holler of Armand Van Helden-produced hit ‘Bonkers’ was once pumped out everywhere, a blast of chart-scaling bombast that saw Dizzee Rascal at his most relaxed, six years after the raw Mercury Prize-winning ‘Boy in da Corner’. Two albums since his late-noughties peak, number seven from the Bow-born artist shows no sign of skipping a beat, flicking between the sombre and partially pop-fused strain that cemented his rise. Harsh electronic backdrops find their place on ‘E3 AF’, as they did on ‘Raskit’, Dizzee’s nimble verbal flow steering stark shifts in tone. Simmering vibes layer ‘L.L.L.L (Love Life Live Large)’, teaming up with rapper Chip on what represents the most accessible of the ten tracks, while Architechs-sampling ‘Body Loose’ strikes a warmer, more R&B-leaning stride. An urge to stray beyond the grime moniker persists, dexterity that supports the feverish ‘You Don’t Know’; personal identity, elsewhere, forms the focus of ‘Eastside’, tackling a sense of beginnings and belonging. Dizzee remains in touch with the youthful verve of earlier efforts with ‘E3 AF’, a freshness that, for the most part, is carried throughout.
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