Wednesday, July 08, 2009


Song: Holiday
Artist: Dizzee Rascal ft. Chrome
Album: Holiday (single)

As I anxiously await Calvin Harris' sophomore album, we get a taste of Mr. Harris producing another single for UK grime rapper Dizzee Rascal. I went B-A-N-A-N-A-S for their first colab, "Dance Wiv Me" and while I'm not sure "Holiday" is that good... I liked it immediately. What do you think?

"Holiday" is a song by Dizzee Rascal featuring Chrome and produced by Calvin Harris, taken from his fourth album Tongue "N" Cheek. The single will be released in August 2009. The song was first played on BBC Radio 1 as Zane Lowe's record of the week on June 30 2009.

Dylan Kwabena Mills (known professionally as Dizzee Rascal) (born 1 October 1985 in Bow), is an English rapper, songwriter and record producer. His music is a blend of garage MCing, conventional rap, grime and ragga, with extremely eclectic samples and more exotic styles. His debut album, Boy in da Corner, won him the 2003 Mercury Prize. Follow-up albums Showtime and Maths + English have also been critically acclaimed.

Early life

Mills was born in Bow, East London. His father died when he was young, and he was raised for most of his life in a single-parent family by his African-born mother, who worked two jobs.

He attended a series of schools in East London, excluded from four secondary schools in four years - it was a teacher who first called him Rascal. Cagey about exactly what his youthful "madnesses" entailed, in early interviews he mentioned fighting with teachers, stealing cars and robbing pizza delivery men. In the fifth school, Langdon Park in Poplar, he was excluded from most classes except music.

He began making music on the school's computer, encouraged by a music teacher, Mr Smith. His mother bought him his first turntables.

Music and style

Dizzee once told author Ben Thompson in an interview with the Sunday's Observer magazine that, “Everything I do is for the music – I want to master it like Bruce Lee mastered martial arts."

His music is an eclectic mixture of garage and hip-hop beats with an extremely broad palette of influences, ranging from metal guitars to found sounds, drill and bass synth lines, eclectic samples and even Japanese court music. Like most grime artists, he uses "beats born of ringtones, video games and staticky pirate-radio sounds" Dizzee's tracks are traditional Grime in that the beats are often asymmetrical and make it difficult to dance to his music. His vocal performance is also distinctive, he uses a fast style of rapping which blends elements from garage MCing, conventional rap, grime and ragga. He raps about the same issues a confused generation of youth tends to; broken family, faithless mentors and a lack of support. Dizzee's videos are similar to many grime and garage artists in the UK. They are frenetic and fast, often matching the speed of the rapping. This is especially visible in the videos to "Fix up, look sharp" video and " I Love You". Although his fast style of rapping and his subject matter are nothing more than ordinary in the UK, Dizzee Rascal's diversity nonetheless separates him from other UK rappers. In songs like "Just remember this: I am you" and "Cut 'em off", "when Dizzee thinks very deeply—worrying about growing up, about those around him who won't grow up, about dying before he grows up—he sounds like"...."He delivers threats with KRS-style meta-awareness" More than just as a venue through Dizzee Rascal chooses to express his thoughts, "music stopped him from drifting into crime like many others on his estate." Dizzee is probably the best known grime artist to Americans. He worked closely with his mentor Wiley who created one of the first grime tracks called "Eskimo".

Dizzee is Grime's most popular artist globally. Grime is still considered underground even after Dizzee's mainstream exposure because the lack of mainstream success and most artists get their music noticed through independent produced DVDs and by selling their music out of barbershops. Dizzee's DJ, DJ Semtex, says, "the biggest conflict I have is with major labels because they still don’t get it."

In his song "Brand New Day", Dizzee Rascal used "flat, punching out riddims into cheap PC software, beats born of ringtones, video games, and staticky pirate-radio sounds". He is able to change his sound of music completely, by using different processor. In "Jus a Rascal" he uses "T.O.K.'s hysterical dancehall harmonies, a synthesized guitar line halfway between death metal and English Beat, stuttering Southern hi-hats and a kick drum retarded to a crawl". Dizzee raps, in his high pitched pace, about "fatherless child coming up in the East London councl estates, aimless youth failed by the schools and the shitstem but saved by music, bedroom beat-head who went top of the pops by representing his strees but can't escape their judgement." "They've got estates over there that look just like ours", Dizzee explains, "except there are still bullet holes in the buildings and that's in the nice part. It's definitely being opened up a bit because they've just joined the EU, but away from the touristy part, it's still a deep and eerie vibe. It's like my friend over there was saying, the fa_ade is thin - it feels like anything could happen at any time, and sometimes it does." In "I Luv U", his breakout single, Dizzee describes two teens argue about unwanted pregnancy. They use sex as blackmail, realizing that they are still stuck in their relationship. In an end, boy ends up fantasizing about a college girl, who has left but still gives out sexual favors. "Then the frenetic beat seems to take over and the boy freestyles his last lines as if once the music fades he too might disappear. Dizzee manages to make this all sound funny and horrifying at once".


Experimenting with his decks and styles, he became an amateur DJ, with occasional apearences on a local pirate radio station.

Aged 16, he self-produced his first single, "I Luv U," about teenage pregnancy. In 2002, he jointly formed Roll Deep Crew, a 13-piece garage collective, with former school friends. Signed by the XL record label, he also signed a solo deal.

After winning a Sidewinder award for "best newcomer MC" in 2002, in June 2003 the re-recorded and re-produced by Jacob Freitt single I Luv U was released, becoming a top 30 hit single.

Boy in da Corner

The solo album Boy in da Corner was released to universal critical acclaim in August 2003, entering the UK top 40 at #40. The album later reached #23. In the same week the album was released, while performing with Roll Deep Crew, the rapper was stabbed six times in Ayia Napa. Many tabloids suggested that this event was connected to an apparent feud between Dizzee and UK Top 40-topping garage act So Solid Crew, and his pinching Lisa Maffia's bottom. After Dizzee was hospitalised, So Solid Crew member Megaman - real name Dwayne Vincent - was later questioned about the incident, but was immediately released by Cypriot police.

Following the success of single I Luv U and the album, the second single from Boy in da Corner was "Fix Up, Look Sharp". The single, released in August 2003, gave Dizzee his first UK top 20 single and also became the biggest hit from his debut album. In September, Dizzee was awarded the prestigious Mercury Prize for the best album of 2003. He was the youngest person (at 19) to do so and the second rapper (after Ms. Dynamite the previous year). The album was also chosen as the #1 album of the year by Planet Sound.

Along with being picked as the #1 album of the year by Planet Sound, Boy in da Corner was also chosen as one of the top 50 albums of the year by Rolling Stone, joining the likes of Kanye West, Mos Def, Eminem, and Jadakiss for 2004. His unique style, as "words pour out at a high pitch and pace, as if syllables are the only thing that can hold back a scream," have given him a sound that hip hop heads can embrace as something new and original in the hip hop scene.

Later in the year he collaborated with the Basement Jaxx on their third album, Kish Kash on the track "Lucky Star". The track, which was released as a single in November 2003 and gave Dizzee his third top 30 hit. The third and final single, taken from his debut album, was "Jus' a Rascal", which became his fourth top 30 success. The song was also featured in the movie Kidulthood, released in 2006.

"Jezebel" was never released from the album Boy in da Corner, but was well received and was exposed to well reviews and popularity on the underground scene. The song told the tale of a young London girl, who through years of going to parties, getting drunk, doing drugs and having sex earned herself the title Jezebel, translated as a slut, slag, whore etc.

He made his U.S. concert debut on February 7 2004 at Volume in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn New York.


In 2004, Dizzee Rascal won the NME award for Innovation. His second album, Showtime, came out in September of the same year, eclipsing the peak of his debut album by entering the UK album chart at #8. The first single from the album, released two weeks earlier in August 2004, was titled Stand Up Tall; it was written and produced by Jsal and entered the UK top 10.

The second single "Dream", another top 20 hit, was released in November 2004. It sampled (and used the chorus of) Captain Sensible's song "Happy Talk", originally from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, South Pacific. The "Dream" music video consisted of a mock 1950s style children's marionette show depicting scenes corresponding to the lyrics about Mills' East London youth: street culture, crime, single teenage mothers, pirate radio and garage clubs.

Later in 2004, Dizzee Rascal was part of Band Aid 20, a group of British musicians who re-recorded "Do They Know It's Christmas?" He did not sing in the song; rather, he rapped two lines of it ("Spare a thought this yuletide for the deprived, if the table was turned would you survive?" and "You ain't gotta feel guilt just selfless, give a little help to the helpless"). Dizzee Rascal was the first person to add to the song since the original was released.

In 2004, Dizzee Rascal made an international endorsement deal with urban brand Eckō and designed his own shoe with Nike in 2005.

In March 2005, the Double A-side single "Off 2 Work" / "Graftin" was released. "Graftin'" was the third and final single from the Showtime album, whilst "Off 2 Work" was a new track that did not appear on either of his albums. The accompanying music video featured Rascal in various ordinary workplace situations (as a policeman, a fast food vendor, a businessman, etc.) and PM Dizzee Rascal announcing his engagement to Cherie Blair. This was Dizzee's lowest charting single and smallest hit to date, peaking outside the UK top 40 at #44.

Maths + English

Dizzee's third album Maths + English was released on 4 June 2007. He stated in an interview before the album's release that "Maths" refers to producing, in terms of beats, deals and money and "English" to writing lyrics. The first single off this album, Sirens, was released on May 21. While American influences were vital to the creative evolution of “Maths & English,” the album never compromises its distinctively British identity.

The album was one of the 12 nominees for the 2007 Mercury Prize, which went to Klaxons' album Myths of the Near Future. Dizzee worked with cross genre artist Beck on a remix of the song Hell Yes. Dizzee has also provided guest vocals on an Arctic Monkeys track, the B-Side to their single Brianstorm named 'Temptation Greets You Like Your Naughty Friend'. Dizzee's version of the same song is featured as "Temptation" on his album Maths + English. Also in late July 2008 he featured on Rory Campbell's album "smooth mover".

The official U.S. album was released on 29 April 2008 in retail stores. It contains 2 tracks not on the European release; however, it does not include the track "Pussyole'". It is to be released on Definitive Jux.

In 2008, Dizzee Rascal recorded a song for a suicide charity, CALM, Campaign Against Living Miserably; the song "Dean" is about a friend of Dizzee's who took his own life. In December that year, he was arrested following an alleged incident involving a baseball bat in Southeast London. He was released on bail to return to a police station later in December.

Tongue "N" Cheek

Dizzee Rascal will release his upcoming fourth studio album Tongue "N" Cheek on 7th September. It will include the two number-one hits Dance Wiv Me and Bonkers. Its release was recently announced on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross when in an interview with Jonathan Ross, Dizzee Rascal announced some details about the upcoming album, including track information, production etc. Dizzee, recently confirmed in a interview on Radio One, that he is leaving his grime roots behind, in favour of more mainstream pop. On May 23, 2009, Calvin Harris whom he collaborated with on the number-one smash "Dance Wiv Me", revealed on his Twitter that he was producing a Dizzee track. At the Evolution Festival Newcastle and when on tour supporting The Prodigy, he confirmed that there will be two new singles called "Road Rage" and "Dirty Cash" which will be on the album.


A measure of the success of Dizzee and of Grime as a whole is the political attention it has received in the UK. Two prominent politicians, then Home Secretary David Blunkett and Culture Minister Kim Howells, have targeted 'black music', and have been accused of "blaming rap for 'glorifying gun culture and violence.'" Dizzee himself has been quoted by UK newspaper for his line that says "I'm a problem for Anthony Blair" During the 2008 US Presidential Elections Dizzee gave a live interview to Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman in which he described Barack Obama as "an immediate symbol of unity". Referred to by Paxman as "Mr Rascal" he explained that hip-hop played an important part in encouraging young voters and opined that the United Kingdom could also have a black Head of Government.

Dirtee Stank

Dizzee Rascal has created his own record label, called Dirtee Stank. Dizzee Rascal's explanation of the name: "The name came from one of the first lyrics I had: "going on dirty/going on stank…So I thought "yeah fuck it, Dirtee Stank." Dizzee has stated "I had Dirtee Stank before I had my record deal". The first white label release of 'I Luv U' was made on Dirtee Stank, released when he was 16, although both of his albums and their subsequent singles have been released under XL Recordings. It was not until 2005 that Dizzee Rascal 'revived' the label and made his first signings, Klass A, and Newham Generals. The label's MySpace page states that the ethos of the company is "about bridging the gap between indies, majors and the street. Stank is the way forwards". The label's logo is a picture of flies circling faeces, when asked why this logo was chosen Dizzee stated that it was: "gulliest thing I could think of".

The label was formed and is owned by Dizzee Rascal, and is co-run by Dizzee's manager, Cage. According to Cage, Dirtee Stank exists to promote gifted artists with "social problems" that might scare off other labels. "People who, through the conditions they live in, might not be stable." The label should also help artists overcome hurdles such as access to studios that "take something from a raw demo to something people will get excited about on the street".

He released the single "Dance Wiv Me", featuring UK electro artist Calvin Harris and RnB artist Chrome, on July 7 2008. The track became Jo Whiley's Pet Sound for the week beginning June 2 2008. The single charted at Number 1 on download sales alone, a week before its physical release. His next single, Bonkers, was also released under the recorded label and it again charted at Number 1.



Dance Wiv Me

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