Five of the Best: Dizzee Rascal

Not short of bangers in his back catalogue, Henry Lewis completed the difficult task of whittling down Dizzee Rascals best tracks to just five.

Becca Frankland

Last updated: 25th Apr 2017.
Originally published: 10th Nov 2015

Image: Dizzee Rascal

Dizzee Rascal is arguably the most prolific UK rapper of all time and since his introduction to the scene back in 2003, the genre has come on leaps and bounds. Dizzee's lengthy presence in the public eye has been mainly attributed to a more commercial sound with the help of massive hooks, big name collaborations and savvy producers.

Recent appearances, however, have suggested that the star, named Dylan Mills, may be returning to his roots. In 2014 he joined the likes of Skepta, Lethal Bizzle, General Levvy and more for a grime shutdown with MistaJam on Radio One. Could this mean a new Dizzee Rascal album with the old Dizzee Rascal sound? Let’s hope so eh, here’s a look at his top five tunes to date.

'I Luv U' (2003)

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The track that initiated Dizzee's career, 'I Luv U' was mistakenly leaked onto the internet in 2002 and people went mad for it. With hard hitting lyrics about teenage pregnancy and a filthy bass-line the song helped to introduce grime to a wider audience.

The track was released properly in 2003 gave him his inaugural top 40 single, the first of many to come. 

'Brand New Day' (2003)

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An insightful portrayal of Dizzee’s life in East London and his ambitions to break away from it through his music. Stuttering drums and a hypnotic sample are the canvas for Dizzee to rap about growing up amongst drugs, poverty and violence.

His performance of 'Brand New Day' at the 2010 Electric Proms is particularly poignant given the subsequent success enjoyed by the artist.

'Dance Wiv Me' (2009)

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One of the four number ones to come from Tongue ‘n’ Cheek, this Calvin Harris collaboration saw Dizzee take a more commercial approach. Its cheeky lyrics and pop hooks are undeniable though and it’s a classic dancefloor tune.

As well as Harris, Dizzee teamed up with Armand Van Helden, Shy FX and Chase & Status on the album. Whilst 'Bonkers', 'Holiday' and 'Dirtee Disco' also peaked at the top of the charts, it's 'Dance Wiv Me' that takes the top spot as the favourite.

'You Got The Dirtee Love' – Florence + The Machine (2010)

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After winning the award for best British male, Dizzee then went on to hook up with Florence Welch onstage at the BRIT awards for this massive collaboration. Florence’s cover of Candi Staton’s disco anthem was huge in its own right before Dizzee added verses from 'Dirtee Cash'.

The politically and socially charged lyrics spoke to a nation gripped by the credit crunch and Dizzee Rascal became something of a national treasure. Peaking at number two in the charts, the song is one of the most successful collaborations to come out of the BRITs.

'Still Sittin’ Here' - Fekky (2014)

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This Fekky track features Dizzee and was released on Dirtee Skank records, the label he revived in 2005 having set it up in 2003. This tune indicates that there may be a return to grime for Dylan Mills, having won the best newcomer at the urban awards in 2003.

Fekky is one of the many artists who joined Dizzee for the Radio 1 grime shutdown with Mistajam the same year this tune came out. The sound goes right back to grimy roots of "Boy In Da Corner", and leaves us safe in the knowledge that Dizzee’s fondness for a certain green plant remains intact.

Dizzee headlines at both We Are FSTVL and Electric Fields this summer - find tickets for both events below.

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