Wednesday, June 10

On the phone with... Dizzee Rascal

. Wednesday, June 10


You’ve all heard, it’s arguably the single of the year- definitely the most famous. ‘Bonkers’ is a three and a half minute blast of everything that is great about Dizzee Rascal. Equal parts innovative and fun it combines the East London rappers quick flow with block rocking beats from Armand Van Helden and a deadpan chorus courtesy of someone sounding distinctly like Stephen Hawking (The eminent professor no doubt denies this). The only word to describe it is indeed bonkers. That or ‘highly successful number one smash and the catalyst for a year to remember’ which, whilst less succinct, is certainly true for the man known to his Mother as Dylan Mills.

“It feels good man,” says Dizzee of the singles accomplishment “it’s my second number one on my own label so I’m very proud.” So does this taste of the high life and last summers ‘Dance Wiv Me’ herald the new era of Dizzee the Pop star? “I think after my third album I became a main stream artist so if I’m going to be a main stream artist I want to do it properly and be as successful as I can be.” It’s a strange journey that Dizzee has gone on since he emerged in 2003. He released a Mercury Music Prize winning album in ‘Boy In Da Corner’ and made those who had written off UK hip-hop in a post So Solid Crew time reassess their opinions and hail the boy from Bow as a fiercely talented and wildly innovative artist. Compare that 19 year old boy with the man sitting on Jonathan Ross’s couch in a dapper white suit looking at home alongside Tom Hanks recently and you know there’s been a journey and a half in the subsequent years. “Yeah, I’ve grown up simple as that. I was 17 when that album (‘Boy In Da Corner’) came out and now I’m 24. I’ve been around the world and got more responsibility in my life so a lot has changed for me.” What’s the most important thing you’ve learnt along the way? “How to make big pop tunes. As far as my career is concerned that’s the best thing I could have possibly learnt.” And what is the secret formula? “Hooks, loads of catchy hooks.” And a message to anyone hating on Dizzee Rascal for ‘selling out’ or ‘going pop’ from the man himself, “Nothing, I don’t think about them but hopefully I’ll make something they like again in the future.”

With two successive number one’s the next step is a big selling album, a feat that has eluded Dizzee thus far. ‘Boy In Da’ Corner’ was critically successful and the follow up albums ‘Showtime’ and ‘Maths + English’ have a fine selection of hits sprinkled over them but Dizzee has yet to release a truly defining, chart hogging album- until now. ‘Tongue ‘N’ Cheek’ is the album; we’ll let Dizzee explain the rest. “It’s out early September and it’s my party album. There are loads of hooks and good times on there. You won’t find anything else like ‘Dance Wiv’ Me’ but there’s reggae and dance stuff on it, really eclectic and exciting.” Any early favourite tracks? “I’ve got a track called ‘Freaky Freaky’ that I really like, that one goes down nice. I’ve got a track produced by Calvin Harris too called ‘Holiday’ and that’s going to be the next single in August.” With a new album to promote and a fan base multiplying by the day Dizzee is set to spend the rest of the year on the road, beginning with pretty much every festival with a stage and an audience. “Yeah I’m playing Glastonbury main stage just before Spinal Tap! I’m doing Wireless in Hyde Park, Rock Ness, a few in Europe and Ibiza Rocks too. We’re going to bring a lot of energy, we always do but the new tracks really suit that sort of environment for sure. I want to play to the biggest crowds possible. I’ve been on tour with The Prodigy and I want a live show like theirs where it’s banging from beginning to end and be doing it twenty years down the line like them.” Having supported the likes of Prodigy in the arenas and stadiums will people be seeing you headline similar sized venues soon? “I definitely think that it’s not going to take too long and the music I’m making at the moment definitely suits that environment.”

So with an album set to blitz the charts and airwaves on its release, stadium shows in mind and a festival season to rule it all looks good for Dizzee Rascal but what’s next? What keeps you wanting to make music? “I want to be as successful as I can be for as long as I can be, I want to keep making music until the world ends basically. I’ll keep going as long as I’ve got the energy to fight everything that comes my way. As long as I’m expressing myself and making other people happy then I’m doing what I want to do. That’s what drives me.” Something tells us that there are an awful lot of people who want to see Dizzee Rascal take on the world on his quest to make everyone dance with him. The world doesn’t stand a chance.

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