08 June 2005


I think it's to his eternal credit that Dizzie Rascal has managed to carve a fairly high-profile career without compromising his music much. Yet his one-time mentor Wiley is still having problems getting the balance right. For me his best work lies on all those small-run twelve-inchers , tracks like "Ground Zero", "Icepole" and of course "Eskimo" - the (eski) beats that defined the new Grime sound in 2003. Of course it's important that he and his crew develop their sound, but the apparent move towards a more conventional r'n'b/hip-hop vibe has been worrying me. Having followed the Dissensus thread on the new Roll Deep album "In At The Deep End", it appears that I'm not alone in that view. I haven't actually heard the whole album yet, so please don't take this as a proper review, but I did pick-up the 12" vinyl sampler recently featuring four tracks from the album plus two instrumental versions, and I'm really enjoying it! On the evidence of "When I'm 'Ere" (produced by Danny Weed) any accusations of sell-out are off the mark. This is some tuff grimey shit! Similarly, the Wiley-produced "Heat Up" features a hard stripped-down riddim with deep square-wave undulations that sounds pretty damn hardcore to these ears, although like some of the others it does seem to be obsessed with accordion sounds, especially on the instrumental dub.

My favourite though is "Show You", featuring a deep half-step groove, ecstatic, almost ravey female vocal samples and a relentless flow of rhymes that's been on repeat play at Gutterbreakz HQ this week. Admittedly "People Don't Know" does veer a little too close to r'nb blandness for me, but maybe they just picked all the best tracks for this EP? Is the rest of the album all filler? I think I'll wait till I've gauged a few more reactions before investing in the full release, although I heard "Shake A Leg" on the radio and that sounded really weird in a sort of calypso- party-vibe sort of way...

Available here.