Dizzee Rascal’s career has been on the rise since it started. After winning the Mercury Prize with his brash debut Boy In Da Corner
, the rapper's brand of edgy council-estate rap has increasingly become aware of mainstream tastes, and his fan base has grown wider accordingly. On Tongue N Cheek
, Dizzee finally does way with the gnarly 8-bit bleeps of his album Showtime and the swagger of Maths+English
to reach fully for the pop crown. Fun, infectious singles "Dance wiv Me"--featuring R&B singer Chrome and disco don Calvin Harris, "Holiday" and "Bonkers" (featuring Armand Van Helden) have all landed high in the UK charts, and are solid indicators of the rest of the album. Slick production, catchy hooks and a mainstream club atmosphere are in abundance here as the rapper delivers a relentlessly upbeat mix of street tales and good, dirty fun on "Road Rage", "Money Money" and the stomping "Dirtee Cash", (which utilises 1990 hip-house smash "Dirty Cash (Money Talks)". While it’s true that a certain amount of Rascal’s former complexity has been sacrificed to achieve this new feel-good sound, he thankfully goes beyond girls, money and video games, delivering constant witty wordplay and talking about politics and the recession on tracks like the Aswad-sampling tune "Can’t Tek No More". Slower jams like "Freaky Freaky" (about having sex on council estate landings) and "Chillin’wiv da Man Dem" (which has a laid-back G funk feel) are there to provide respite but this is unapologetically a party record--and a flippin’ great one at that.
Dizzee Rascal - Tongue N Cheek