Dazed Digital get an exclusive playback of Dizzee Rascal's eagerly anticipated third album, Maths and English.
An exclusive track by track breakdown of Dizzee Rascal's forthcoming album, Maths & English.
In recent months, you'd be forgiven for thinking that Dizzee Rascal had gone off on some pop rock tip, what with his support slot on the recent Chili Peppers tour and his cameo appearance on that craaazy Arctic Monkeys tune. However, as I heard today in an exclusive playback for Dazed Digital, the grime pioneer has put all the guitars down for his eagerly anticipated third album, Maths & English.
Released on June 4th via XL Records and his own imprint Dirtee Stank (still loving that dog turd logo), the Bow street legend has cut 12 tracks, which may eventually morph into 14 by the time the album hits the shelves of Rhythm Division and Tesco.
So what's the initial verdict? It sounds awesome blud. Like his two previous albums, Maths & English opens with a subdued beat before tearing into "Pussy 'Ole", a track that's built around the classic Lyn Collins "Think About It" sample (the break Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock made famous on 'It Takes Two').
The LP then moves effortlessly into first single "Sirens", which sounds like something DJ Premier, Liam Howlett and Trent Reznor might have cooked up if they all were bessie mates. Its kick drum drop is really quite serious. Incidentally, the video for this bad boy is one of Dizzee's best yet. Directed by Wiz, it revolves around a posse of fox hunting, steed riding red coats who invade Bow hoping to ensnare the little Rascal. Its final scene of Dizzee ripping his shirt off before getting bruk up by the bloodthirsty horseys is destined to become a pivotal MTV moment.
Moving away from the hardcore boom bap of "Sirens", Diz and pals The Newham Generals get a bit caned up on "Lemon", an enjoyable, weeded out synth stumbler. The red eye warriors manage to slur out witty lines like "Puff the magic lemon" and the like. Loving that cockney rhyming weed slang chaps. Oh, I get it…lemon & lime… grime! Hmmm, maybe not.
Following the awesome news that his duet with Joss Stone got canned, it has fallen to Lily Allen to provide the album's pop turn on "Might As Well Quit", which features a natty little sample ripped straight from the heart of Bugsy Malone. Produced by Future Trax, it's actually not as bad as it sounds on paper, with Dizzee pulling out verses about wannabe gangstas, black on black crime and watching Corrie. Can't wait for that video. I wonder who's going to play Fat Sam?
Southern rap fans will get a kick out of Maths & English too, as Dizzee ropes in Bun B and Pimp C from UGK (you know, the dudes on Jay Z's Big Pimpin') to provide verses on "Where's the Gs?", a futuristic brag beat that sounds similar to a Timbaland production circa 2002, but less hectic.
Dizzee then gets in the mood for some X-rated action, with tracks "Suck My Dick" (which features a nursery rhyme breakdown), "Flex" (a boner fide stripper anthem) and "Bubbles" (a mid tempo hip hop track that revolves around money, gash and champagne).
Giving props to his predecessors, Dizzee recruits veteran producer Shy FX to provide the D'n'B horn led "Da Feelin'", before finishing his street curriculum with "World's Gone Crazy", a dusty track where Dizzee gets baffled by the system, and "Industry", the media bating track that recently made Zane Lowe wet his chaps.
So there we have it. Maths & English is a well produced slice of vintage Rascal and a lemon peel better than Showtime. It will be interesting to see how Wiley's album - which drops on the same day - compares. My only regret is that my old school teachers didn't get Dizzee to create our syllabus. Just think how much fun it would have been - strippers, toxic lemons, sub low bass drops, nursery rhymes, champagne and Lily Allen doing her best Tullalah impression! Diz, have a word with Alan Johnson would ya?