Dizzee Rascal Boy In Da Corner (XL) Rating: NNNNN Rating: NNNNN
Aside from a taste for mayhem and a stint in the hospital after being stabbed by a rival MC, UK garage bad-boy rhymer Dizzee Rascal has no real connection to American hiphop, and that's precisely what makes Boy In Da Corner so thrilling. Like The Streets and Roots Manuva, Rascal's roots are in soundsystem culture. Unlike those two, though, this MC has made no effort to clean up his music for the mass market. Patois-drenched jams like Jus' A Rascal, 2 Far and Round We Go sound ripped directly from a pirate radio broadcast - dirty, unrefined and noisy. They feature our man rhyming belligerently over Galaga sound effects, shattering glass, Billy Squier samples and lurching beats that would make Timbaland and RZA twitch with envy. The finer points of Rascal's ranting would probably resonate more had I been born in South London, but even from this distance, Boy In Da Corner is an exhilarating listen. That it will absolutely baffle hardcore hiphop fans is even more gratifying.