It is evident that the revival of Grime has been very impactful in the UK and elsewhere in recent years, but if you needed any more confirmation of its renaissance, the return of Dizzee Rascal (“Dem bwoy nah ready yet, trend they can never set”) via his album Raskit indicates the genre coming full circle.
Of course, it was Dizzee’s debut album Boy in da Corner that brought the Grime sound to mainstream attention and acclaim in 2003, culminating in the project being awarded the Mercury Prize in the same year. He followed that classic Grime album with arguably* another in the shape of Showtime in 2004, before quickly outgrowing the genre he helped to establish and transitioning into Pop, which resulted in his 2009 album Tongue n’ Cheek. The aforementioned effort contained four UK number ones, thus confirming Dizzee’s departure from the Grime genre.
Raskit, however, is a homecoming for the East London artist. Its soundscape is a lot more similar to that heard on Boy in da Corner and/or Showtime, with ‘Focus’, ‘Everything Must Go’ and ‘Sick A Dis’ being the most noticeable examples as he blends elements of Grime and Hip Hop excellently. Dizzee has a hand in producing every track on the album through collaboration with various other producers, such as Cardo – who gives a G-Funk feel to ‘Bop N Keep It Dippin’, ‘She Knows What She Wants’ and ‘Man Of The Hour’, while also contributing to ‘Dummy’ and one of the strongest pieces on the album, ‘The Other Side’.
The aforementioned track is used as a platform for numerous comments toward certain individuals (Wiley and Megaman in particular) and the Grime scene in general, with Dizzee unloading a barrel of bars clarifying his feelings. He displays a certain aggression in his delivery that clearly stems from the fact he has to remind people of his influence within the Grime genre and this is a common theme throughout the album. Dizzee provides his own history lesson on ‘Make It Last’ and changes pace on ‘Slow Your Roll’ with some thoughtful observations akin to ‘Brand New Day’ or ‘Do It’ from Boy in da Corner.
The overall energy of the record is especially exhilarating for Grime fans who truly appreciate Dizzee of the early to mid-2000s. To hear how his teenage thoughts compare to his now 33 years, taking into account his efforts from the 2009 release of Tongue n’ Cheek garnered his worldwide success. Additionally, how the positive development of Grime has induced Dizzee to emerge from the corner and speak on situations he’s done well to avoid for years.
An artist as important to Grime as Dizzee Rascal is has had nothing to prove since he decided to attain more commercial success away from the genre. Much like Jay-Z’s position in Hip Hop, Dizzee has done more than enough to satisfy any uncompromising Grime fans with his earlier work, simply capping off his achievements with Raskit. His early accomplishments mean he didn’t have to do another Grime album, but the genre’s current climate has allowed the boy in da corner to once again take centre stage.
*It’s not actually arguable; Showtime is a classic Grime album.