Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Dizzee Rascal

  • Boy in Da Corner [XL, 2004] A-
  • Showtime [XL, 2004] **
  • Maths + English [Def Jux, 2008] ***
  • Raskit [Dirtee Stank/Island, 2017] **

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Boy in Da Corner [XL, 2004]
The first thing to understand about Dizzee is that his fundamental appeal is musical, and the second is that there's very little music there. Break down a track and often you'll find only an electro beat--at most three or four sparse elements, rarely long on sustain or tune. Yet as someone who mocked the minimal means of U.K. garage and considered the Streets barely music at all, I was captivated by Dizzee's sound the moment I heard the import. His adolescent gulps and yowls are street-Brit with a Jamaican liquidity, as lean, eccentric, and arresting as the beats. The voice also lends a comic, claustrophobic vulnerability to rhymes whose brilliance varies, though their winning youthfulness does not. Whether he can grow as a lyricist as he struggles to comprehend his success is the old conundrum. The smarts he's got. The right advice will be hard to come by. A-

Showtime [XL, 2004]
His sound is his story, and it better get more explicit ("Showtime," "Girls"). **

Maths + English [Def Jux, 2008]
Fick and foughtful, finally ("Sirens," "Hard Back [Industry]"). ***

Raskit [Dirtee Stank/Island, 2017]
Don't care whether his beats are grime or trap, don't care whether his politics are organic or calculated ("Sick a Dis," "Everything Must Go") **