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Dizzee Rascal - Maths And English

In straddling the chasm between the niche and the mainstream, Dizzee has done far, far better than most.

Dizzee Rascal

is something of an oddity in the music world. This once-champion of grime and grass-roots hero has been garlanded with awards and shot in to the affections of the mainstream. To this end, he faces the unenviable task of being all things to all people, having to please his long-time fans, his critics, and his occasional listeners who aren’t fans of rap, but are fans of Dizzee.

For the most part, on ‘Maths And English’ he acquits himself brilliantly. Lead single ‘Sirens’ and standout track ‘Where’s Da G’s’ take one look at the pomp and bluster of American mainstream rap and, with a typically British shrug, turns it on its head and rips it to pieces.

Elsewhere on the album, there’s a potent mix of crunk, pop and rock, with Dizzee as the light-fingered puppet master. ‘Pussyole’ seems designed for the dancefloor, while ‘Temptation’ is upgraded from its status as an Arctic Monkeys B-side - Alex Turner’s guitar and vocals are twisted in to something surprisingly demonic, for a couple of Mercury winners. Meanwhile, Lily Allen’s duet on ‘Wanna Be’ is all out fun, squiring Bugsy Malone in to a cute pastiche of perceived gangsta stereotype.

‘Maths And English’ isn’t perfect - ‘Hard Back (Industry)’ is a bit boring and ‘Suk My Dick’ is just plain silly. But, in straddling the chasm between the niche and the mainstream, Dizzee has done far, far better than most.

Tags: Dizzee Rascal, Reviews, Album Reviews

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