Posts Tagged ‘Dizzee Rascal’

Newham Generals – Like It or Not

September 27, 2010

Again, the Newham Generals smash it. ‘Like it or Not’ is the latest dubstep-infused tune to be released (in hood video format) from the forthcoming ‘Bag of Grease E.P.’ out on the 4th October. Produced by Skitz Beatz, Dee and Foots ride his rumbling basslines and epic stabs with deceptive ease, dropping lyrics fans may have first heard the duo spit on a recent DJ Cameo set.

Everyone hypes about this new generation coming through, and whilst there is definitely solid talent there, many can’t hold anything to the style, pattern and flair the Generals exhibit. Whilst there is an undeniably serious and violent undertone in most of their music, it is more often than not offset by a playful lyrical approach. If ever you see the New Gens perform live, there is always a smile or a tongue in cheek. Watch the below video to see what I mean.

It’s something I feel is lost on the younger generation of MC‘s who seemingly make it impossible to enjoy their music if you are in anything but an angry or aggressive mood. The hosting element is lost on them. Anyway, back to ‘Like it or Not’ – it’s a record that’s hard, danceable and unique to the UK. Big up Dee and Foots who relentlessly cook up new styles, sounds and patterns like it’s normal.

Good to see Kronik vybzing in the video too!


D Double E Interview

July 17, 2010

I caught up with D Double and the Dirtee Stank crew at the BBC as he was about to perform on the 5.19 show. After filming was done we went to the pub and, over a Bacardi and coke (double measures of course!) had a chat about Street Fighter, Newham Generals and the many upcoming projects he’s involved in. Bluku Bluku!

So, ‘Street Fighter Riddim’ is doing the rounds at the moment, Swerve produced it, are you two going to work together in future?

Yeah really want to do another tune with Swerve. Right now he’s got a lot of fire for me.

The collaboration seemed to come a little about out of the blue…

Yeah I’d never heard Swerve’s production – I never knew he produced until Laurence said ‘Ere listen mate, got a beat ‘ere’ and I was like ‘alright then let’s have a butchers.’ And yeah, I’m here! Big up Laurence, big up Swerve!

Have Capcom said anything? Do they want you on the next game?!
Yeah man, hopefully all that stuff will come after the tune. It’s in the pipeline, I mean we had to holla at them for the legalisation, so they know about us, but we re-did the sounds and FX anyway and I don’t think anyone can tell the difference! HADOUKEN! Hahaha!

After releasing your ‘Woooo Riddim’ version and ‘Street Fighter Riddim’, anticipation for the forthcoming DEE solo project is high. What can fans expect?

Boy, you can expect pure heat. If you liked the ‘Woooo Riddim’, ‘Street Fighter’ or ‘Hard’, then know what sort of avenue I’m taking.

Guest spots?

Producer-wise there is a couple of guest spots there. Footsie’s there, I’ve got a couple of tunes from Cage, Swerve, Swindle, Noah D and Skream. It’s an A-list roster…It’s gonna be live!

You produce as well as MC, can we expect any of your production efforts on there?

Definitely in the future, but at the moment I’m trying to pump out my vocals on the best beats and get my levels up in the background. Production is more of a hobby for me.

Part of the Newham Generals ‘Bag of Greeze E.P.’ is being produced by Skitz. What was it like working together?

Skitz has been about for time and he lives around the corner from my house so I’ve known him for a long time. Skitz is bless and used to work with Slew Dem a lot back in the day who are like my family.

The ‘I’m a General’ tune featuring the late Esco must have been a lot to record. Was it an emotional experience?

Erm…It was kind of, but at the same time it was a good feeling to promote and showcase his talent again. We wanted to show love. He never got his chance to shine so we helped out a bit.

I read an interview you gave with the Guardian back in 2004 where you said you were tired of listening to 14 year olds chat about guns, and that you wanted to go lyrically deeper with your music. What does Grime say to you today and do you feel able to express yourself fully on it?

Grime has got a lot lighter, it’s still dark, but it has definitely lightened up. Stations like KISS, 1Xtra and Radio 1 are starting to play us now so we all have to straighten out a bit. It’s getting more professional and the production is levelling as well.

Does Grime still give you the same feeling as it did back in the day?

Definitely man, I can listen to Grime beats all day. It still hits me and I like the way it’s getting wider. Tunes like ‘Rescue Me’ by Skepta [for example] aren’t strictly ‘Grime’, but they have that element. It has that home base. I like anything that has that home base in there.

Talking of success, Chipmunk, Tinchy and Tinie are finding high chart positions, and Jammer, Skepta and yourself are starting to position yourselves for the same. However, whereas they made their music a bit sweeter, you guys have been able to stay true to your sound and still find new audiences. Did they ‘open the doors’ for you in that sense?

I think they have made it easier, but not because of what they’ve done. People are moving away from the scene, so the people like me left at the core are able to represent more fully. They aren’t repping what we come from. You hear a mixtape and there might be a couple of hard tracks on there, but their core fans don’t get Grime.

They are helping in the way that, if they have an interview they will talk about what they’ve done before and who we are.

You have been noted as being ahead of your time, and you’ve said that you still perform lyrics still you wrote at 15. What lyrics were they?

Err…yeah, you know “If you you, you you/ Wanna come against I-I, I-I” that was from then, “me nah ramp, me nah skin/” Ah there’s so many, I’ve got a big selection of lyrics.

Your lyric repertoire is big, but how do you keep going on sets?

It’s natural for me. I don’t really need to make that much of an effort to lift-off as I used to. It’s just there bruv. I could be here mucking about and say something and I could make it into the deepest thing.

Has that happened recently?

Yeah man, it happened with ‘Hard.’ We put that together quickly! ‘Street Fighter’ was so quick, all I need to do is feel free, have the beat playing and bubble.

How would you say you’ve developed since the Jungle days?

I’ve got more professional with the lyrics. On Jungle I couldn’t really go into depth ‘cos of the tempo, Hip Hop was a bit too slow and Grime was just right. I found I could go in more. Now I can spit at 140 (bpm), 160, whatever.

You and Footsie together with DJ Tubby have forged a niche spitting over Dubstep, and have become known for it. Is it more exciting to spit over than regular Grime?

I prefer to ride Grime because it gives me the time to do what I need to – maybe a bit too much time sometimes! You know, if a DJ’s playing for two hours it’s like ‘Rah I might run out of power’ on dubstep though, there are tunes there that you can’t ride, they’re too big. You’re still ready to leng, but you’re also a host.

With Grime it’s flat out. You can spit your heart out for half an hour with hype and then the tune you love best comes in and you’re like ‘shit!’ So yeah, I think Grime is better to practice and MC to.

What do you think about other MC’s jumping on it?

It’s alright, it’s a good move but I think Dubstep is slightly different. You can’t really do too many deep songs on it; the instrumentals have as much power as the vocals. With the beat already there, as an MC you need only add a couple of spicy lines and it’s gone, maxed out. With Grime you have to add your own energy and build on the beat.

Some people sound good on it, some don’t.

As a FWD>> veteran, what has performing there done for your repertoire?

FWD>> was my introduction to Dubstep. Tubby and Footsie brought me in on that, I was all Grime-d out, whereas they were into their Dub. But FWD>> was a time where I got to see another world and build on it. Now, Dubstep is massive and it’s cool man.

You’ve worked with Breakage and Skream, are there any other people you would like to work with?

Yeah, I’m working with Noah D, I want to do a tune with Chromestar, Caspa, Plastician…anyone that has the bangers. They know what I can do!

Let’s talk about ‘Generally Speaking.’ I heard you spit on DJ MK’s kiss show and you said ‘Generally Speaking means a lot to me.’ What does that CD mean to you?

It’s a benchmark. It was the first official release and there will be a lot more to come. That was number one…

What was the recording process like?

It was long – over quite a stretch of time. Some of the tunes that were on the finalised track listing were some of the last ones we recorded. We had so many to consider, it was like a puzzle trying to fit it all together.

Will any of the off cuts make it onto the new CD?

Nah man, that’ll all be fresh stuff. We got some tunes that we’ll pump out in the meantime but the next album from New Gens will be all brand new material.

How do you think ‘Generally Speaking’ was received?

I think that album is timeless. If you listen to it, you keep surprising yourself. It’s quite deep. It’s different, but looking back, at the time I thought it was really different from what we do. Now, I can see it fits in with what we do – it’s us and fits our sound.

After releasing ‘Generally Speaking’ you embarked on a huge tour supporting Dizzee, what was it like spitting for crowds that aren’t as ‘Grime-savvy’ as your usual audience?

We found them quite receptive man. The ravers we played out to were there for a good time so we played to that. We were surprised the youngsters got in ‘cos there’s a fair amount of swearing in the shows but they were easy to get involved, especially when me and Foots get them to go against each other like ‘This side make noise, that side make noise’ ‘where’s all the girls in here?’ ‘who’s got money?’ ‘who knows about Facebook, Twitter, C‘mon!’

Will the experiences you got performing live form the shape of the new album?

Definitely, that is the way we go about music at all times. Every piece of music we write is something we can go and perform. It’s lively, always about making straight bangers. A lot of Grime artists do what they think will work but going to Dizzee’s show, you can see it’s electric. It’s like a D’n’B rave. I wouldn’t want to go to a live show and hear some bloody R’n’B. I want everyone to go maaaaaad!

Both you and Footsie feature on ‘Bad Mind People’ one of the stand-out tracks from Jammer’s debut album, released this week. What was it like hooking up for that?

It’s always fun hooking up with Jammer, we have bare jokes – Jammer’s a mad man! It was vibes recording that tune, Likkle J had already laid down his chorus so it was just us man vybzin, big up Jammer! We’ve known each other since 2000, I was the one that introduced Jammer to Nasty Crew, he was coming up on the production tip and then one day I went over to his house with Sharky and then it formed in front of me.

Do you still keep in contact with the other Nasty members?

Erm, not really. I don’t see Sharky much anymore. I still see Mak 10, Kano and Ghetts every so often but that’s it. I haven’t seen Stormin or Armour for a while…One person I do see come to think of it is Hyper. When he heard my ‘Woooo Riddim’ he phoned me up and was like ‘Double man I heard your Woooo. I need that beat!’ and he met me and got the beat. I told him that he better go mad on it and I tuned into Logan’s show to hear that he did…I think it might be the second best version man.

There is a lot of promo for ‘Bluku Bluku’ at the moment, what can people expect after it drops?

Once the release is done, we’ll get promoting that and then get ready for the ‘Bag of Greeze E.P.’, the second Newham General album and then pick up on my solo project that’s already in the making. We’ve got quite a few things on the go that should take us nicely into the new year.


Watch out for the ‘Street Fighter’ single released July 26th, the ‘Bluku Bluku E.P.’, the ‘Bag of Greeze E.P.’ and also watch out for ‘Bluku Bluku T.V’ coming soon to Dirtee Stank TV. I’ll be hosting the show, doing a load of stuff. We’re talking pranks, the whole shebang. There will be a few Punks in there, and hopefully we’ll be on BBC4 by the year 2012!

‘Street Fighter Riddim’ drops July 26th

Follow D Double on Twitter here


Mr. Hudson feat. The Grime Scene

December 2, 2009


Tuneful albino Mr Hudson is hosting a competition to get a UK MC to record a verse on the digital version of his ‘Anyone But Him’ single due to be released next year. Peep the details here.

Just as Nas got the woefully misnomered Rising Son to record a verse on the European release of his ‘Street Disciple’ set in 2004, Hudson is looking to the Grime scene for some much-needed street cred in European territories.

As a seemingly golden promotional opportunity, I’m sure many Grime and Rap MC’s are recording their versions as I type. And why not? To be featured on a major label release – even if it’s just for a guest verse – not only widens an MC’s scope, but provides a glimpse of the ‘big time’ which can be an important morale-booster for relatively unknown MC’s on the grind.

However, the danger is that Grime, like many other street-based subcultures, seldom recognises the value of its own cultural capital (music, slang, dress codes, multimedia etc.) Nike, Adidas, Boxfresh, Nandos, iPhone, Blackberry and JC:DC have all benefited financially from the Grime scene, either through direct sponsorship/collaboration with artists or loose cultural affiliation with fans.


Hiphop luminary Nas with UK rapper Rising Son

For sportswear companies like Nike and Adidas, their leisurewear brands depend on it.

And yet, all Grime artists (the bastions of its cultural capital) can expect to receive is some free garm and a photoshoot, and fans a free download or music video. In Hudson’s case, a competition like this gives him a cheap credibility boost in the UK which is starting to disregard frumpy American culture in favour of its own.

Grime still hasn’t been given its dues for shaping the pop music renaissance Britain is experiencing right now. The commercial successes of Dizzee, Chipmunk, Tinchy, Ironik, Jay Sean et al is partly due to the fact that they’ve each taken ownership of their capital and used it to produce clothing lines and collaborate with artists on equal terms.


From left: Dizzee Rascal, Chipmunk, Tinchy Stryder, Ironik, Jay Sean

Now, teeny boppers, ravers and downloaders across Europe are dancing and nodding to a distinctly British beat. Rising Son is now nowhere to be seen.


Dizzee at the Proms.

October 22, 2009


Well, what else is there to say? Dizzee rascal’s performance on the BBC’s Electric Proms was very, very good. Dylan used this opportunity to really showcase why he’s at the top of his game; fully embracing new musical ideas and the spirit of the show.

From the Country-fied version of ‘Bonkers’ to the touching, string-laden rendition of ‘Jezebel’, Dizzee really outdid himself. He was cool and collected onstage and his break-neck opener ‘Jus’ a Rascal’ was recited word-perfect which in a live context, is no easy task. Taking cue from Robbie Williams earlier this week, he was every bit the front man; strutting across the stage with authority and prowess.

A highlight was seeing Aswad join the Rascal onstage to perform Tongue N Cheek highlight, ‘Can’t Tek No More’ (on which they are sampled.) It was a joyous moment that reinforced socially conscious parallels between Britain’s black music traditions of old, and the nihilistic, more American-influenced styles popular now.

Somewhat sadly though, with this excellent performance Dizzee showed the Grime scene how far behind him it is. MC’s really should take note and realise that to make it in music, the world is bigger than the estate and that as music artists, they should embrace a spectrum of human emotions, experiences and musical styles. At the moment it seems Genre constraints together with Chipmunk’s and Tinchy’s success is inspiring a wave of ‘follow fashion’ types to ‘go pop’ with buzzy electro numbers, or soppy love odes.

Dizzee has done Dizzee and his success is down to his open-minded attitude to music. This Electric Proms appearance was not only enjoyable, but very positive – a theme clearly lacking in ‘Mash’ obsessed Grime at the moment. It made me proud to be a Grime fan, oh what a feeling!

Watch the performance here.


Dizzee Rascal – Tongue ‘N’ Cheek Review

September 22, 2009

Here, as promised, is the Threefold review of Dizzee Rascal’s hotly anticipated fourth album, Tongue ‘N’ Cheek. Released yesterday to a tumult of 4 star reviews, it looks set to be Dylan’s biggest album to date; a collection of radio-friendly tunes, spanning genre, producer and style.

In a firm departure from his previous albums, Tongue ‘N’ Cheek is, like a lot of pop music these days, to be taken at face value. It’s a collection of throwaway observations and dance beats that, at times, appears so blatantly flippant that it’s like Dizzee is just taking the piss. His well-meaning, but ultimately hollow social commentary acts as mere reference points for sycophantic review columnists who lap it up like doddering managers at a ‘blue-sky thinking’ conference.

Anyone familiar with his music previous to Bonkers or Dance With Me, will recognise that Dizzee’s sharp observational skills and lyrical intensity are largely absent from this piece. Instead, Tongue N Cheek seems to be centred on celebrating Dizzee’s celebrity rogue status; a self-applied slap on the back for making it this far. Which, given the potted history of successful Black British musicians, is a fair one.

Comprised of 11 tracks, the album is short, sweet and careful not to overstay its welcome. With one of the most divisive, if not distinctive voices in rap, this is an astute way of opening Dizzee up to new fans and markets. Opening and closing with number one singles Bonkers and Holiday, its commercial intent couldn’t be clearer.

Ultimately, Grime fans will be disappointed with this album and should consider it Dizzee’s adieu to the scene. After all, this colourful and rambunctious expedition into chart territory is already paying off in single sales and column inches. A return to Grime will not only be undesirable, but impossible.


Newham Generals – Generally Speaking Revisited

September 21, 2009

As the Generals release Hard, their creepy David Rodigan sampling collabo with Breakage, I think it’s time to take stock and revisit their debut release, Generally Speaking.

Generally Speaking, Newham Generals much-anticipated debut CD was released in April to some seriously mixed reviews. The Observer’s Hugh Montgomery (whose name would suggest the nearest he’s come to ‘weed’ is when there is a ‘t’ prefixing it) said the album ‘didn’t bear close inspection’, whilst the Times’ Pete Paphides enjoyed the ‘joie de vivre’ displayed in the pair’s delivery…

Since when did right wing papers speak more favourably about Grime than left wing ones?!

Fans held similarly opposing views about the album. Some thought that after three years in the making, the albums’ impact wasn’t as emphatic as it could have been; songs such as ‘Heard You Been Smoking’ and ‘Pepper’ considered little more than meanderings from their chosen Grime path.

Others welcomed the new direction and celebrated the re-working of those wheel-triggering live bars we all know and love, into equally fitting pieces of music. The fact that the album paid little or no regard to genre constraints or the notoriously narrow expectations of fans was, to them at least, a bonus.

Personally, I can see it from both points of view. Whilst the vision for the album was spot-on; a CD full of new music uninhibited by genre, it wasn’t executed as well as it could have been. The vocal effects and rave parallels only muddied its line of attack. ‘Heard You’ve Been Smoking’ was terrible, and, as an adult male, ‘Bell Dem Slags’ was embarrassing. Either could, and should, have been replaced by this:

This was all over radio sets promoting the album and yet, come the CD release was nowhere to be seen. An ideal opportunity for the lads to showcase their playful side and bring those Yard vibes to the table was unfortunately missed.

If there was one line of consensus throughout, it was that the stomping ‘Supadupe’ and Prodigy-esque roller and lead single ‘Head Get Mangled’ were undeniable NG classics. Logan’s vocal mash-up (Link) of Double’s verses on ‘Supadupe’ and ‘Frontline’ has to be one of the Grime recordings of 2009.

The release of NG’s album was positioned as an epochal-defining moment in Grime ever since it was on the cards. Yet, five months on, it is hardly being mentioned. With their next release, Foots and Dee should take heed of the fact that their music need not masquerade as some kind of ravey-Grime mash-up, or tie itself up in controversy. They have that Grime and Dubstep hybrid on lock, they should act as such.

There was enough promise on Generally Speaking to work with. Let’s hope that for the next release, the mighty Newham Generals play to their strengths and keep it Yard, hard, but most importantly, fun. Working with Breakage therefore, is a step in the right direction.