Boy in Da Corner
XL / Matador
When I first heard about Dizzee Rascal a few months ago, I thought, “Great. Just what the world needs, another English rapper with a lot of hype behind him that can’t even rap.” (Sorry to all The Streets’ supporters out there, but I’m not feeling that dude at all.)
That all changed for me one fine morning while getting ready for work and seeing the video to “Fix Up, Look Sharp.”
Woooooo! Believe the hype!
This young cat is serious, the real deal, the truth … whatever, he’s it. “Prodigy” is not a word to be thrown around lightly, but it could definitely land here. Boy in Da Corner is one of the most innovative rap albums to come along in years, particularly in hardcore (In England? Evidently so!). Street anthems are taken in a futuristic direction on this disc.
What makes the album so special is Dizzee’s high-pitched delivery and ability to flip verses as only a chosen few can. Plus, the production here is unreal. It’s as if the RZA, Dr. Dre and DJ Premier all decided to take their hottest tracks, mix them together and put them down on one loop. Not many people could keep up with the hip-hop/R&B/U.K. garage/house sounds that result, but Dizzee does and thrives.
The majority of the songs on Boy in Da Corner have a message to deliver, the mark of a great storyteller. “Looks like I’m losin’ hope / ‘Cause I climb this mountain without hope,” Dizzee spews on “Brand New Day.” This is classic street poetry in the mold of 2Pac. “I Luv U” throws in a little bit of the old he-said, she-said over who’s really doing the chasing in the relationship and what they each say to their crew about the other.
He breaks out the braggadocio on “Fix Up,” the perfect style for the old-school break beats of the track.
So I guess the hype machine does its job right sometimes. And if there’s another type of English Invasion on the way with Dizzee leading the charge, then emcees here better step up their game.