A little history lesson first. Today I turn 34, I was but 21 when I started writing and a pre-release copy of Dizzee Rascal’s Maths and English was pushed through my letterbox.
The press release stated that as I liked both hip-hop and indie-music, I would enjoy this album as it featured Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys and the pop singer Lily Allen. True to this, I found I enjoyed not only these guest appearances but also a new genre I had yet to experience – grime.
Thirteen years later I’m stood on the balcony of O2 Academy Leeds, looking down on the very student freshers I once was when that Dizzee Rascal album was sent to me.
The venue atmosphere was the most electric I’ve seen the O2 Academy possibly since opening night when Kaiser Chiefs played.
There wasn’t a single person in the crowd not joining in on the night, with Dizzee commanding the stage, and making more noise than any of the rest of Leeds’s venues combined.
Touring his new release Raskit, Dizzee Rascal powered through an albeit brief hour set of hits including Jus’ A Rascal, Bassline Junkie and Dance With Me, including new cuts Space, What You Gonna Do and a blistering encore of Bonkers.
Stage presence and bravado are the mainstays of any good act, and Dizzee Rascal is short on neither. The audience were told to create a mosh pit, the likes of which would rival any hardcore metal crowd.
Grime is on the agenda again, and whether you believe Dizzee has gone the commercial route or not, there is no denying who is still the ringleader and undisputed king of grime.
A business man, who’s still every bit the rascal.