Last year commemorated the 20th anniversary of Dizzee Rascal’s groundbreaking debut, Boy In Da Corner, an extremely influential album that shaped grime as a genre. It also established Dizzee as the UK’s first rap star within its flourishing scene. Boy In Da Corner set the standard for both the UK grime scene and Dizzee himself as it is widely considered as an all-time classic. 

He later ventured into dance music at a time when pop crossovers dominated the charts, eventually finding his way back to his grime roots with 2017’s Raskit. Dizzee Rascal’s last album, 2020’s E3 AF, found a happy medium between his musical roots and his knack for experimentation. It satisfied his core fanbase with stellar grime collaborations but branched out into drill and pop. This time around, he continues to explore his eclectic musical arsenal. Dizzee Rascal’s latest album, Don’t Take It Personal, displays the wide-ranging sounds of a veteran eager to compete within the scene he helped create. 

Dizzee Rascal Maintains The Energy

Don’t Take It Personal starts on an upbeat note, with its first four songs representing Dizzee Rascal’s ability to easily rap over house and UK Garage production. “Stay In Your Lane” opens the album with a groovy dance beat featuring Dizzee’s signature staccato flow. Similarly, the soulful “Sugar and Spice” recalls the early days of UK Garage featuring a sleek and bouncy beat from iLL BLU. Songs like “How Did I Get So Calm” and “London Boy” see Dizzee Rascal effortlessly flowing over fast-paced house beats. His ability to sound so comfortable over upbeat production never fails to impress. Featured on “London Boy” is Frisco, who shares similar strengths as an MC. On this track, the two showcase their skill in fusing house and rap, though it pales in comparison to their previous grime collaborations. 

Don’t Take It Personal also includes multiple house and dubstep songs toward the end of the album, including “Switch and Explode,” “POV,” and the closing track, “How Does It Feel.” These songs are far from his best attempts at house but show his capability at sounding good on almost any style of production. He may be able to rhyme over a variety of tempos and genres, but there is nothing quite like Dizzee Rascal over grime.

Read More: Dizzee Rascal Touches Road With Smoke Boys On “Act Like You Know”

Grime Has Always Been Dizzee Rascal’s True Calling

Beyond EDM, Don’t Take It Personal traverses other genres, including the afrobeats-laced “Roll Wit Me.” There is also the relaxed hip hop track, “Here For Now” with Not3s and the drill banger, “Get Out The Way” featuring BackRoad Gee. Embroidered into the album’s adventurous nature are its many grime songs that see Dizzee at his sharpest and most exhilarating. His pop-oriented studio albums exhibited that grime has always been Dizzee Rascal’s true calling. Naturally, the genre he helped create is what he sounds best on. The fast and explosive rhythms of grime suit Dizzee’s flow better than any other style, which is certainly highlighted on this album as many standout tracks are grime songs. 

“What You Know About That” is an instant favorite that sees Dizzee teaming up with grime veterans JME and D Double E for a catchy exchange of bars. Together, they recall the early days of grime. Each of the three lyricists embraces the cornerstones of the genre, including nods to pirate radio and various London neighborhoods. While the song speaks to the foundation of the genre and culture, it does not talk down to younger generations. Dizzee even raps, “Don’t wanna be the moaning OG that keeps tellin’ me they’re tryna see the old me.” 

D Double E also features on “Swerve And Pivot,” another grime song where the two bask in their legendary status. Dizzee raps on the hook, “How can I quit when I already did it? How can I flex when I already live it?” P Money joins Dizzee and BackRoad Gee for “Keep That Same Energy,” a grime and dubstep blend that recreates the magic of their previous collaboration. With many grime collaborations on Don’t Take It Personal, Dizzee Rascal clearly shines alongside his peers.

Read More: Dizzee Rascal Goes Hard On “Fire In The Booth Freestyle”

A Veteran Here to Stay

On “Here For Now,” Dizzee Rascal salutes the longevity of his musical journey. He declares, “I’ve been on top for ages like I’m ageless.”​​ Dizzee also triumphantly raps, “What’s the difference? I’ve done the distance / Full commitment, pure persistence. Gotta speak it into existence.” He is very much aware of his success, impact, and legacy as a pioneer. As a result, he has the creative freedom to happily express himself. On Don’t Take It Personal, we see Dizzee Rascal enjoying himself and his position as an artist who has done it all. 

He undoubtedly still raps at a high caliber and is a skilled producer. However, the album is not nearly as creative as his classics or even Dizzee’s most recent efforts. The production may be varied in style, but it is not considerably outstanding compared to his early releases or his strongest efforts in recent memory. Dizzee Rascal is “flying, smiling and vibing” on his latest album. It is an enjoyable listen, but does not go far beyond that. 


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