- Dizzee Rascal
Dizzee Rascal Background information Birth name Dylan Kwabena Mills Also known as Dizzee Rascal, Raskit Born 18 September 1984  Origin Bow, East London,
Genres Grime, House, Hip hop Occupations Rapper, record producer, songwriter, singer Years active 2000–present Labels XL Recordings (2003-2007)
Dirtee Stank (2003-Present)
Associated acts Newham Generals,
Calvin Harris, Roll Deep, Wiley, Tinchy Stryder, Shirley Bassey, Arctic Monkeys, Guthrie Govan, Shakira, Basement Jaxx.
Dylan Kwabena Mills (born 18 September 1984), better known by his stage name Dizzee Rascal, is a Ghanaian British rapper, songwriter and record producer. His music is a blend of garage, hip hop, grime, ragga, pop and electronic music, with eclectic samples and more exotic styles. Best known for his number-one hits "Dance wiv Me", "Bonkers", "Holiday", "Dirtee Disco" & "Shout", his debut album, Boy in da Corner, won him the 2003 Mercury Prize. Follow-up albums Showtime, Maths + English and Tongue n' Cheek have all been critically acclaimed and certified gold, the last going platinum for sales exceeding 300,000 units.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Music and style
- 3 Career
- 4 Personal life
- 5 Politics
- 6 Dirtee Stank
- 7 Discography
- 8 Awards and nominations
- 9 In video games
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Mills' Nigerian father died when he was young, and he was raised in Bow, in the East End of London, for most of his life in a single-parent family by his Ghanaian mother Priscilla, about whom he says: "I had issues as a kid. I was violent and disruptive. The way my mum helped was by finding me a different school every time I got kicked out, always fighting to keep me in the school system".
He attended a series of schools in East London, expelled from four secondary schools in four years – it was a teacher who first called him "Rascal". Cagey about exactly what his youthful "madnesses" entailed, in early interviews he mentioned fighting with teachers, stealing cars and robbing pizza delivery men. In the fifth school, Langdon Park in Poplar, he was excluded from most classes except music. He also used to attend YATI (Young Actors Theatre Islington)
He began making music on the school's computer, encouraged by a music teacher, Mr Smith, and during the summer holidays attended a music workshop organised by Tower Hamlets Summer University of which he is now a patron. His mother bought him his first turntables.
Music and style
His music is a mixture of UK Garage and hip-hop beats with an extremely broad palette of influences, ranging from metal guitars to drill and bass synth lines, eclectic samples and even Japanese court music. Dizzee Rascal also makes extensive use of un-coupled octuplets and double and triple couplets in his machine-gun-paced staccato lyrics. Like most grime artists, he uses "beats born of ringtones, video games and staticky pirate-radio sounds" Dizzee's tracks are traditional grime in that the beats are often asymmetrical and make it difficult to dance to his music. His vocal performance is also distinctive; he uses a fast style of rapping which blends elements from garage MCing, conventional rap, grime and ragga. He raps about the same issues a confused generation of youth tends to; broken family, faithless mentors and a lack of support. Dizzee's videos are similar to many grime and garage artists in the UK. They are frenetic and fast, often matching the speed of the rapping; this is especially visible in the videos to "Fix Up, Look Sharp" and "I Luv U". Although his fast style of rapping and his subject matter are nothing more than ordinary in the UK, Dizzee Rascal's diversity nonetheless separates him from other UK rappers. In his song "Brand New Day", Dizzee Rascal used "flat, punching out riddims into cheap PC software, beats born of ringtones, video games, and staticky pirate-radio sounds". He is able to change his sound of music completely, by using a different processor. In "Jus' a Rascal", he uses "T.O.K.'s hysterical dancehall harmonies, a synthesised guitar line halfway between death metal and English Beat, stuttering Southern hi-hats and a kick drum retarded to a crawl".
Dizzee Rascal worked closely with his mentor Wiley, who created one of the first grime tracks, called "Eskimo". Grime is today still considered underground, despite Dizzee's large mainstream exposure. Dizzee's DJ, DJ Semtex, says, "the biggest conflict I have is with major labels because they still don’t get it."
Experimenting with his decks and styles, he became an amateur DJ, making occasional appearances on a local pirate radio station. Aged 16, he self-produced his first single, "I Luv U". In 2002, he jointly formed the Roll Deep Crew, a 13-piece garage collective, with former school friends. Signed by the XL record label, he signed an additional solo deal.
During his early career, Dizzee worked with his mentor Wiley to create the song 'We Ain't Having It' (which never got released on any albums) and also rapped on some 'Sidewinder' recordings. He made some instrumentals including 'Go' and 'Ho' and 'Streetfighter' which used some music from a video game. Dizzee had beef with fellow grime MC, Crazy Titch, which never really came to an official end. Titch however is now serving life for murder.
After winning a Sidewinder Award for Best Newcomer MC in 2002, in June 2003 the re-recorded and re-produced by Jacob Freitt single I Luv U was released, becoming a Top 30 hit single.
2003–2004: Boy in da Corner
Dizzee's first solo album, Boy in da Corner, was released to universal critical acclaim in August 2003, entering the UK Top 40 at #40. The album would peak at #23. In the same week the album was released, while performing with Roll Deep Crew, the rapper was stabbed six times in Ayia Napa. Many tabloids suggested that this event was connected to an apparent feud between Dizzee and garage act So Solid Crew, and his pinching Lisa Maffia's bottom. After Dizzee was hospitalised, So Solid Crew member "Megaman" – real name Dwayne Vincent – was later questioned about the incident, but was immediately released by Cypriot police.
Following the success of single "I Luv U" and the album, the second single from Boy in da Corner was "Fix Up, Look Sharp". The single, released in August 2003, gave Dizzee his first UK Top 20 single and also became the biggest hit from his debut album. In September, Dizzee was awarded the prestigious Mercury Prize for the best album of 2003. He was the youngest person (at 19) to do so and the second rapper (after Ms. Dynamite the previous year). The album was also chosen as the #1 album of the year by Planet Sound.
Along with being picked as the #1 album of the year by Planet Sound, Boy in da Corner was also chosen as one of the top 50 albums of the year by Rolling Stone, joining the likes of Kanye West, Mos Def, Eminem, and Jadakiss for 2004. His unique style, as "words pour out at a high pitch and pace, as if syllables are the only thing that can hold back a scream," have given him a sound that hip hop heads can embrace as something new and original in the hip hop scene. Later in the year he collaborated with the Basement Jaxx on their third album, Kish Kash on the track "Lucky Star". The track was released as a single in November 2003 and gave Dizzee his third top 30 hit. The third and final single, taken from his debut album, was "Jus' a Rascal", which became his fourth top 30 success. The song was also featured in the film "Kidulthood", released in 2006.
"Jezebel" was never released from the album, but was well received nonetheless, gaining exposure and popularity on the underground scene. The song told the tale of a young London girl, who through years of going to parties, getting drunk, doing drugs and having sex earned herself the title Jezebel. He made his US concert debut on 7 February 2004 at Volume in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, New York.
In 2004, Dizzee Rascal won the NME Award for Innovation. His second album, Showtime, was released in September of the same year, eclipsing the peak of his debut album by entering the UK Albums Chart at #8. The first single from the album, released two weeks earlier in August 2004, was titled Stand Up Tall; it was written and produced by grime producer DJ Youngstar of Pulse-X notoriety.
The second single "Dream", another top 20 hit, was released in November 2004. It sampled (and used the chorus of) Captain Sensible's song "Happy Talk", originally from the makers of Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, South Pacific. The "Dream" music video consisted of a mock 1950s style children's marionette show depicting scenes corresponding to the lyrics about Dizzee's youth; street culture, crime, single teenage mothers, pirate radio and garage clubs.
Later in 2004, Dizzee Rascal was part of Band Aid 20, a group of British musicians who re-recorded "Do They Know It's Christmas?" He did not sing in the song; rather, he rapped two lines of it ("Spare a thought this yuletide for the deprived, if the table was turned would you survive?" and "You ain't gotta feel guilt just selfless, give a little help to the helpless"). Dizzee Rascal was the first person to add to the song since the original was released; this would mark the first time that Dizzee reached the number one spot in the UK Singles Chart, albeit as part of the ensemble.
In March 2005, the Double A-side single "Off 2 Work" / "Graftin'" was released. "Graftin'" was the third and final single from the Showtime album, whilst "Off 2 Work" was a new track that did not appear on either of his albums. The accompanying music video featured Rascal in various ordinary workplace situations (as a policeman, a fast food vendor, a businessman, etc.) and as Prime Minister, announcing his engagement to Cherie Blair. It would prove to be Dizzee's lowest charting single to date, peaking outside the Top 40 at #44.
2007–2009: Maths + English
Dizzee's third album, Maths + English, was released on 4 June 2007. He stated in an interview before the album's release that "Maths" refers to producing, in terms of beats, deals and money and "English" to writing lyrics. The first single off this album, Sirens, was released on 21 May.
The album was one of the 12 nominees for the 2007 Mercury Prize, which ultimately went to The Klaxons' album Myths of the Near Future. During the year, Dizzee worked with cross-genre artist Beck on a remix of the song "Hell Yes", and provided guest vocals on an Arctic Monkeys track, the B-Side to their single "Brianstorm" named "Temptation Greets You Like Your Naughty Friend". Dizzee's version of the same song was featured as "Temptation" on his third album.
The official US album was released on 29 April 2008; it contained two tracks not on the European release, but it did not include the track "Pussyole'". It was Dizzee's first album to be released under the Definitive Jux label.
In 2008, Dizzee Rascal recorded a song for suicide charity CALM; the song "Dean" was about a friend of Dizzee's who took his own life. In December of that year, he was arrested following an alleged incident involving a baseball bat in southeast London. He was released on bail to return to a police station later in December.
2009–present: Tongue N' Cheek
Dizzee Rascal released his fourth studio album, Tongue N' Cheek, on 21 September 2009. It included his four number-one hits "Dance Wiv Me", "Holiday", "Bonkers" and "Dirtee Disco". Its release was announced on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, where Dizzee Rascal revealed some details about the album, including track information and production. Dizzee recently confirmed in an interview on Radio One, that he would be leaving his grime roots behind, in favour of more mainstream pop; however a new collaboration with drum and bass artists "Chase & Status" titled, "Heavy" begs to differ. In the track Dizzee himself says, "Grime had a little time without me still no grime without me, No life without me, no risky roads, no grime daily" assuring his return to grime. On 23 May 2008, Calvin Harris, whom he collaborated with on the number-one smash "Dance Wiv Me", revealed on his Twitter that he was producing a Dizzee track; at the Evolution Festival, Newcastle, and when on tour supporting The Prodigy, he confirmed that two new singles called "Road Rage" and "Dirtee Cash", both of which featured on the album, would be released. "Dirtee Cash" peaked at #10 and Road Rage was never released as a single.
On the 16th February at the 30th annual Brit Awards Dizzee Rascal won the award for Best British Male. He later performed a mash-up entitled "You Got the Dirtee Love" with Florence and the Machine. This collaboration was released as a charity single the following day and peaked at number 2 in the UK charts.
On the 31st May 2010 Dizzee re-released the album Tongue N' Cheek with a few new tracks on including a song called "Dirtee Disco" which was released on 24 May 2010. The track went to number 1 on the UK Singles Chart
In August 2010, it was revealed that he was to collaborate with Colombian popstar Shakira on the English version of "Loca", the lead single of her album Sale el Sol. He stated that "I know it sounds a bit mad now, but you'll see it and see what's going on, it's me doing something different man, on a merengue tip." On the week of October 14, 2010, Dizzee made his first appearance on the US Billboard Hot 100 after the song peaked number 32. However, The UK release was cancelled.
Rascal revealed in 2010 that he plans not to use drugs or alcohol at all in the future. He told The Independent: "I'm not having any alcohol. No weed. I'm not doing anything – except some boxing to release energy."
During the 2008 US presidential elections, Dizzee gave a live interview to Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman, in which he described Barack Obama as "an immediate symbol of unity". Addressed by Paxman as "Mr Rascal" at one point, he suggested that hip-hop played an important part in encouraging young voters and humorously opined that he could well one day become Prime Minister. In the same interview Rascal stated that, "If you believe you can achieve, innit," thus showing his agreement with Paxman's humorous remark.
Dirtee Stank Recordings Founded 2003 Founder Dylan "Dizzee Rascal" Mills (CEO)
Nick "Cage" Denton
Status Active Distributor(s) Self-owned Genre Grime, Electronic, Hip-hop, Hip pop Country of origin United Kingdom Location London (2005-present) Official Website www.dirteestank.com
Dizzee Rascal has created his own record label, called Dirtee Stank. Dizzee Rascal's explanation of the name is, "The name came from one of the first lyrics I had: 'going on dirty/going on stank…' So I thought 'yeah fuck it, Dirtee Stank.'" Dizzee has stated "I had Dirtee Stank before I had my record deal." The first white label release of "I Luv U" was made on Dirtee Stank, released when he was 16, although both of his albums and their subsequent singles have been released under XL Recordings. It was not until, 30 September 2005, that Dizzee Rascal 'revived' the label and made his first signings, Klass A, and Newham Generals. The label's MySpace page states that the ethos of the company is "about bridging the gap between indie, majors and the street. Stank is the way forwards". The label's alternative logo is a picture of flies circling faeces – when asked why this logo was chosen, Dizzee stated that it was the "streetest thing I could think of".
The label was formed and is owned by Dizzee Rascal, and is co-run by Dizzee's manager, Cage, Label Manager, Laurence Ezra & Tour Manager Paddy Stewart. According to Cage, Dirtee Stank exists to promote gifted artists with "social problems" that might scare off other labels. "People who, through the conditions they live in, might not be stable." The label should also help artists overcome hurdles such as access to studios that "take something from a raw demo to something people will get excited about on the street".
The single "Dance Wiv Me", featuring UK electro artist Calvin Harris and RnB artist Chrome, was released through the label on 7 July 2008; the track became Jo Whiley's Pet Sound for the Week beginning 2 June 2008, thus gaining a large amount of radio airtime. The single charted at Number 1 on download sales alone, a week before its physical release. Dizzee's next two singles, "Bonkers" and "Holiday", were also released under the record label, and these two again charted at Number 1. Dizzee then released his 4th album on the label (Tongue N' Cheek) which along with three number ones spawned the top 10 hit Dirtee Cash.
As of August 2011 the Newham Generals (D Double E & Footsie), Smurfie Syco and Pepper are signed to the label.
Awards and nominations
- Mercury Prize
- 2003 (Won)
- NME Award
- 2004, Innovation (Won)
- Urban Music Awards
- 2009, Best Male (Won)
- BRIT Awards
- 2010, Best British Male (Won)
- BET Awards
- 2010, Best International Act (Won)
In video games
In PlayStation Home, the PlayStation 3's online community-based service, there was an event dedicated for Dizzee Rascal in the VIP Room of the SingStar themed game space that ran from 24 September 2009 to 9 October 2009. Dizzee performed for the PS Home/SingStar community and answered questions for an hour after the performance. There were also limited time items at this space like a Dizzee Mask. This was available to the European and North American versions of PlayStation Home, however, Dizzee only appeared in the European version answering questions. There is also a SongPack on the SingStore for SingStar that include six of Dizzee's tracks.
Dizzee's track "Fix Up, Look Sharp" is also featured in the video game DJ Hero released on October 27, 2009 in North America and on October 29, 2009 in Europe.
Dizzee's track "Fix Up, Look Sharp" is also featured in the United Kingdom version of the video game Def Jam Rapstar released in Europe on November 5, 2010
Dizzee's track "Bonkers" is featured in the video game DJ Hero 2.
Dizzee's track "Stand up tall" is also in the video game Fifa Street.
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- ^ Talk:Dizzee Rascal. Wikipedia.
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- ^ Marriott, Ed (2008-05-17). "Dizzee Rascal rebel with a cause". London: The Times. http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/celebrity/article3945201.ece.
- ^ a b c "Dizzee Rascal says he's calmed down since his days of crime..". Daily Mirror. 2008-02-07. http://www.mirror.co.uk/tv-entertainment/music/2008/02/07/dizzee-rascal-says-he-s-calmed-down-since-his-days-of-crime-115875-20311955/. Retrieved 2009-05-08.
- ^ a b c d e "I've been through madnesses". The Guardian. 2003-09-12. http://www.dizzeerascal.net/interview_the_guardian.shtml. Retrieved 2009-05-08.
- ^ a b "Dizzee Rascal: You Ask The Questions". London: The Independent. 2004-08-12. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/profiles/dizzee-rascal-you-ask-the-questions-556269.html. Retrieved 2009-05-08.
- ^ "Dizzee Rascal Net – News". DizzeeRascal.net. 2005-07-31. http://www.dizzeerascal.net/news.shtml. Retrieved 2009-09-03.
- ^ Thompson, Ben (2009-08-07). "Dizzee heights for Dizzee Rascal With fans in high places, a string of awards and the likely hit record of the summer, there is every reason why Dizzee Rascal should have his head in the clouds. But he has his destiny in his own hands and his feet firmly on the ground.". London: The Daily Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/rockandpopfeatures/5979189/Dizzee-heights-for-Dizzee-Rascal.html. Retrieved 2010-05-01.
- ^ Dizzee Rascal funny interview - talkSPORT magazine. Talksport, Youtube. Video uploaded on May 28, 2009.
- ^ a b Thompson, Ben. Observer's Music Monthly. April 17, 2007.
- ^ a b Chang, Jeff. "Future Shock". The Village Voice, 19 January 2004.
- ^ a b c d village voice > music > Future Shock by Jeff Chang. 19 January 2004. The Village Voice.
- ^ a b True Grime: The New Yorker. The New Yorker.
- ^ BBC – collective – will grime pay?. BBC News.
- ^ a b "Garage star stabbed in Cyprus". BBC News. 2003-07-08. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/music/3055770.stm. Retrieved 2009-05-08.
- ^ Sky 1 HD – Superstar trio to judge brand new show. Sky1.
- ^ "So Solid star quizzed over attack". BBC News. 2003-07-10. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/3054875.stm. Retrieved 2009-05-08.
- ^ The Top 50 Albums of 2004 : Rolling Stone. Rolling Stone.
- ^ Dizzee Rascal - Stand Up Tall, release. Discogs.
- ^ MySpace.com – Dizzee Rascal – London, UK – Garage / Hip Hop / Rap – www.myspace.com/dizzeerascal. Myspace.
- ^ Dizzee Rascal Interview – Nottingham Articles – LeftLion.co.uk. LeftLion
- ^ Bloomberg.com: Muse Arts. Bloomberg Television
- ^ HHWorlds.com – Dizzee Rascal's Maths + English Gets US Release Date (January 21, 2008)
- ^ BBC News Online – Dizzee Rascal held in 'bat' probe
- ^ Gregory, Jason (2010-09-02). "Dizzee Rascal Says Shakira Collaboration Is 'Different'". Gigwise.com. http://www.gigwise.com/news/58196/Dizzee-Rascal-Says-Shakira-Collaboration-Is-Different. Retrieved 2010-09-02.
- ^ Lorry Driver Killed Rap Star Dizzee Rascals Ex Girlfriend When His HGV Ran Into. The London Paper.
- ^ Dizzee Rascal Mourns Ex. Contactmusic.com.
- ^ Dizzee Rascal Gives Up Drugs and Alcohol. Digital Spy.
- ^ "Dizzee Rascal on Obama's win". BBC News. 2008-11-05. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/us_elections_2008/7713237.stm. Retrieved 2008-11-06.
- ^ a b c DirteeStankRecordings at MySpace. Myspace. Accessed September 7, 2007
- ^ Marriott, Ed (2008-05-17). "Dizzee Rascal, Rebel with a Cause". London: The Times. http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/celebrity/article3945201.ece. Retrieved 2008-07-23.
- ^ a b Simpson, Dave (2005-05-02). "Dizzee Rascal seeks new urban artists". London: The Guardian. http://arts.guardian.co.uk/news/story/0,11711,1472012,00.html. Retrieved 2010-05-01.
- ^ DirteeStank.com. Dirtee Stank.
- ^ BRIT Awards - Artist - Dizzee Rascal. BRIT Awards.
- ^ "Home Dizzee Rascal VIP Room". SCE. http://blog.eu.playstation.com/2009/09/17/home-dizzee-rascal-vip-room/.
- ^ "SingStar Rooms, Dizzee Rascal Event, Far Cry 2 Updates and Katamari Forever in Home". SCE. http://blog.us.playstation.com/2009/09/singstar-rooms-dizzee-rascal-event-far-cry-2-updates-and-katamari-forever-in-playstation-home/.
- Dizzee Rascal at the Internet Movie Database
- Dizzee Rascal on Myspace
- Official website
- Dizzee Rascal News at the XL Recordings home page
Dizzee Rascal Discography · Awards and nominations Studio albums Singles Featured singles Related articles Presenter Judges WinnersEmma's Imagination Related articles
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