London grime hip-hop god Dizzee Rascal dropped his long-awaited album, “Raskit” last Friday (his first since 2013) and I am bouncing like bonkers listening to it. Whole album on 50 jigawatts blasting through the speakers as I move down the avenue.
Known for his fast-paced flow and bouncy “WUB WUB” style beats, Dizzee is back and better than ever with a release that doesn’t stray far from home, delivering on every level. When I took my first listen through, I found almost every song was entertaining; you have no idea what’s gonna hit you next.
Raskit starts it all off with the hard-hitting song “Focus.” It’s the perfect introduction to the wild ride that is this colossal work of art. Tapping into what makes him an extraordinary, even cartoonish-at-times, rapper, Dizz proves once again he’s all about the bounce and grimy, fast-paced beats. His thick London accent weaves its way in and out of the trademark rhythms all while curled pronunciations and flipped words make it all come together. I don’t know about you, but I don’t listen to a ton of rappers out of London; this makes me want to. Although, it’s hard to imagine many are as talented as Dizzee.
Trying to navigate through
Positivity I’m only trying to gravitate, to
Spit fire when I salivate, true
And if I fall from grace land flat on my face will it validate, you
The selection of beats pounding their way across the album leave you feeling like you’re fighting through a video game boss battle. For instance, on the track “Wot U Gonna Do?” you’ve got an eerie synth that builds into larger-than-life bass and horns hits straight out of Bowser’s Castle. You would think the way Dizzee keeps repeating “Wot U Gonna Do?” over and over while throwing out different scenarios would get tired, but honestly, it’s got me singing along. I’m in the car ghost dancing, shaking my head and looking at the drivers next to me like, “WOT U GONNA DO?” It’s nothing short of mastery when a song can bring the inner-lunatic out of you.
It’s not just the car either. You could blast this as the soundtrack while you do pretty much anything: run, exercise, bust out bullet-time karate like you’re fighting Morpheus in The Matrix, slam your head through a wall, dance like an absolute nut job, etc. etc. The list goes on and on but we don’t have time to list all the shit you can do.
Other times, Raskit’s beats take a more complicated and intriguing turn, taking a page from 90s hip-hop while infusing it with a bounce music style. They’ll start one way and then turn on you, going in a totally unexpected direction. This ain’t no P. Diddy though, bro. “Bop N Keep It Dippin,” one of my favorite songs on the album, brings this to life. It’s no doubt bounce music style. I can easily hear a New Orleans Big Freedia remix on this one.
Listenin’ to makaveli
Thinkin’ I was rags
With my rag
Not the Hennessey
It made me gag
Now I’m older Thug Passion really sounds like just a dodgy porno mag
What makes Dizzee consistently so interesting is his ability to pull off rhyme schemes that wouldn’t work for most rappers. Same goes for the beats he chooses. And while they’re impressive on their own, it’s the way they’re meshed together in his tracks that makes him legendary. He has an approach to music that is unparalleled and has influenced so many of today’s rappers in their beat choice. You can definitely see Danny Brown as someone who has looked to Dizzee for ideas and inspiration.
The only song I really just had to hit the “next” button on was, “She Knows What She Wants.” It was just a dumb one. Don’t even listen to it. I liked the repetitiveness of the some of the others but this one goes overboard. I wasn’t much of a fan of the beat choice on this one either. It was just a sore thumb.
My top picks from Raskit: “Space,” “Bop N Keep It Dippin,” “Focus,” “Ghost,” “Wot U Gonna Do?” Take a listen to them and if you like what you hear, I suggest putting the album on from cover to cover. It’s a beast of a listen and I expect it will be widely accepted whether you’re a longtime fan or a newcomer to his music.