By Steve Weinstein
By Bryan Bierman
By Lindsey Rhoades
By Chaz Kangas
By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Jena Ardell
By Jesse Sendejas Jr.
By Katherine Turman
It's funny like watching a particularly voluble couple go at it in the street. Pick under the beat-scabs and boasting and it's gone maggoty and depressing. Broke and fresh out of high school, Dizzee really seems to possess the truth only known by guttersnipes. His friends get jumped? That's a song. Community service for petty theft? A song. The 15-year-old gets pregnant? Err . . .
Hours on British pirate radio gave the boy a real talent for twisting ye olde English into ridiculous Play-Doh shapes. The BBC's already noticed, voting him fifth in line for "Artists to Watch in 2003," even though he's just now been signed. Mike Skinner thinks Dizzee's (alert the Hague) the future of music. And speaking of juvenile nihilism, Vice magazine wanted to release "I Luv U" as a seven-inch before being priced out, linking garage punk 45s with U.K. garage 12-inches.
So Dizzee's just more hooligan house? Perhaps. But on the flip-side mix of "I Luv U," over a subdued thump and twinkly chimes, like a ruff Röyksopp, Dizzee tells us he wants "a girl with brains as well as looks," but concedes "can you teach me to share/I don't know how to care" in the chorus. Both mixes are balder generational assessments than anything American "reality rap" has attempted and more sadly beautiful than anything knocked out with a mic and an iMac has any right to be.