In this series we look back into the year 2013 by reviewing an album from this year every other week.
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All Eyes on Me
For London’s Dylan Kwabena Mills, also known as Dizzee Rascal, The Fifth was probably one of his most important albums. Although the critics were pretty mediocre, longplayer number five marked the big breakthrough of the Grime and Hip Hop artist. The Fifth was Dizzee Rascal’s first release in Universal Music. It was released on their subdivision Island Records and Dizzee Rascal could still print his Dirty Stank Recordings emblem on it. Furthermore, everything about this album screams that Dizzee Rascal has finally arrived in the golden halls of popular music with his unique mix of Grime, Garage and Rap. Seven out of thirteen album tracks have become singles, and the list of featured producers is ot only long but also top-class. This extends to the featured musicians who include will.i.am and Robbie Williams.
Dizzee Rascal was a pioneer of Grime, and with The Fifth he has proven that the sound was readyfor the real big stages. And of course, the success has had its impact on the music. Thus, The Fifth is not only the first Dizzee Rascal album with massive support in the back production-wise. It also marks Dizzee Rascal’s ascension to the realms of Pop in a musical way. Heavy beats and raw raps still define many parts of the album. Nevertheless, pure hardcore tracks are not to be found on The Fifth as modern and therefore more melodic impact can be discovered all over the album.
A True Eastside Descendent
Sure, this is a pretty common trait amongs rap musicians who have made it out of the swamp that they still represent their original hoods and claim to have never lost touch with the streets. And so does Dizzee Rascal who has become a pop star. This contact unfortunately inclused negative aspects, too. Dizzee Rascal whose criminal career began even before his very early rap career still shows ties to his past which he should better have cut. Violent and encroaching behaviour is one of these traits that the artist has not completely left behind. The PLO-keffiyeh around his neck is another unpleasant feature that clouds the joy about The Fifth. Altogether, Dizzee Rascal’s fifth album is an above average Grime and Pop album by an artist with personal flaws.
Next up in this series: Protest the Hero – Volition