At only 18 years of age, British MC Dizzee Rascal made a strikingly audacious debut with BOY IN DA CORNER. Born of the UK garage/2-step scene, but inspired by the dark lyrical content of American hip-hop (Wu-Tang Clan, Mobb Deep), Dizzee combines these influences to form his own distinctive style. The result is a collection of tracks that are almost physical in their assault on listeners' senses.
The production, provided by Dizzee himself, sounds like the score for a grimy, post-apocalyptic video game set in a shadowy, dangerous underworld ("Stop Dat," "2 Far," "Hold Ya Mouf"). On the mic, however, is where Dizzee makes his most penetrating mark. Attacking the world with the pure fury of a bitter teenager, Dizzee taps into his troubled East London past to reveal a tormented, damaged soul ("Sittin' Here," "I Luv U," "Brand New Day"). Yet, amidst all the murkiness, there is a glimmer of hope that fills BOY IN DA CORNER, making it an ultimately redemptive record.
Rolling Stone (2/5/04, p.57) - 4 stars out of 5 - "[Rascal] sometimes sounds like Eazy-E, Shabba Ranks and Gary Numan, all stuck inside the same body....[I]f you want a vision of the future of hip-hop and techno, get this record."
Rolling Stone (p.142) - Included in Rolling Stone's Top 50 Records Of 2004 - "[T]his motormouth MC lays dense, observant lyrics over brutal rhythms..."
Spin (2/04, pp.95-6) - "[I]t's the sound that gets you straightaway: odd, vaguely Asian synth melodies and bursts of guitar over skittering beats and stretched-out bass lines that snarl like Shy FX dubplates given the DJ Screw slow-mo treatment." - Grade: A-
Entertainment Weekly (8/15/03, p.74) - "...Combining U.K. garage beats and a distinctly British sensibility, Rascal spits out phrases with the energy and finesse of a championship boxer..." - Rating: B+
Q (01/01/04, p.82) - Ranked #13 in Q's "The 50 Best Albums of 2003" - "His clattering sub bass perspective [is] fantastically compelling..."
Uncut (01/04, pp.84-7) - Ranked #16 in Uncut's "Albums Of The Year 2003" - "[A]n evolutionary step for British urban music..."
Magnet (2/04, pp.96-7) - "[C]ompelling....BOY IN DA CORNER is nervy and vicious..."
The Wire (01/04, p.42) - Included in Wire's "50 Records Of The Year " - "Angry, witty and bearing new surprises with every bar..."
Mojo (Publisher) (01/01/04, p.57) - Ranked #25 in Mojo's "The Best of 2003"
Mojo (Publisher) (8/03, p.106) - 5 stars out of 5 - "...This brilliantly original debut album [takes] taut electronic sinews [and] toughens them up to the consistency of razor-wire..."