So not officially a new album from Dizzee, but something far, far better- a mixtape return to the stanking gutter grime with which he made his name back in the early noughties. Out go the Butlins disco rap and happy face buffoonery of Raskit’s recent chart toppers, and back come concrete slabs of bass, beats as sparse as working street lights in East London and crazy hype violent lyrics- sometimes laced with cartoonish humour, sometimes with spitting rage. Guesting alongside Dizzee are MCs from his Dirty Stank label, Scruffizer, Newham Generals and Smurfie Syco, and a whole lot of bars from England’s arguably greatest MC, D Double E.
Tracks are mixed relentlessly by Kiss FMs DJ MK, and include a trio of Dizzee productions buried in the middle of the tape that hark back to the bass and snare minimalism of debut album Boy In Da Corner. Similar to that album, DirteeTV.com has more to say about the state of England today than the majority of last years releases put together, both in its scattershot sonic dystopia- as explosive as The Bomb Squad’s classic Public Enemy productions- its ADHD rhythm chops, with beats switching quicker than a tweet, and in Dizzee’s themes of criminals chasing cash, street retribution, and simmering aggression.
It’s not a comfortable listen, in the way that Black Flag aren’t a comfortable listen, and at an hour-and-a-bit long it overstays its welcome by about 20 minutes, but it is an exhilarating, claustrophobic dash through London’s bleak streets. Considering Dizzee has just signed a big deal with Universal, it’s a fair bet that his next official release will be far more pop friendly than the grit presented here. Any fans of the spasmodic innovation British music can spew up when commercial concerns are hurled out the window would do well to forget the forthcoming album, and download the manic, excellent DirteeTV for nothing today.