Dizzee Rascal is one of the UK’s most celebrated MCs, because he had the vision from early. He set pace, made some of the most creative and inspiring music the country’s seen. Dizz tried all sorts, and had the people entertained at every step of the way.
Despite all this, Dizzee seems to have kept a lot of his music close to his chest. Other than his albums and a few Dance features, he seems to be holding onto a lot. Come journey with me as I uncover a few of the tracks that slipped through – some that we forgot, and some that most didn’t even know happened.
Before we get started, let’s get some features out out the way quickly:
Roll Deep – “Bounce”. Foundation.
The Streets – “Let’s Push Things Forward (Remix)” (feat. Roll Deep). Nice.
Basement Jaxx – “Lucky Star”. You remember that one.
Band Aid 20 – “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”. Yes, Dizz.
The BPA – “Toe Jam”. Random.
UGK – “Two Types of Bitches”. Trill, etc.
Newham Generals – “Pepper”. Meh.
Newham Generals – “Violence”. Better.
Chase & Status – “Heavy”. Good.
Shout for England – “Shout”. Hmm.
Shakira – “Loca”. What?
Donae’o – “Black”. Live-o.
Let’s also miss out the songs from the deluxe version of “Tongue N Cheek”, because we weren’t feeling them.
From here on out, here’s some (mostly) essential Dizzee that can’t get lost in time:
Dizzee Rascal – “We Ain’t Having It” (feat. Wiley) (2002)
Garage was getting grimier in 2002, and this track showcases that exact transition. Here we find the new kid on the block outclassing Eskiboy, then a familiar face from Pay As U Go who was just getting Roll Deep on the map.
While Dizzee’s comfortable, throwing some of his favourite radio and Sidewinder bars all over a rumbling instrumental, Wiley’s doing his best with a soon-to-be-out-dated UKG flow.
To be fair, the tune’s a madness. No need to be that harsh. It’s clearly the start of something great, and it tuned out to be exactly that.
Pay As You Go Cartel – “Pay as You Go” (Remix) (feat. Dizzee Rascal) (2002)
Dizzee was around Wiley in the times just before Roll Deep completely severed from PAYG. Here, the paid go back-to-back over the Cartel’s self-entitled track.
Ashanti – Baby (Remix) (feat. Dizzee Rascal) (2002)
Region-specific single releases gave us gems like the Artful Dodger “Thong Song” refix, So Solid’s version of “Round & Round” and the Club Asylum version of “Tell Me It’s Real”. These commissioned remixes got Garage producers – and occasionally MCs – big boy cheques, and gave the people a lot of joy.
This was the exact context that made this pre-“I Luv U” Dizzee track a possibility. This allowed Dizzee to make his mark on the remix to one of Ashanti’s early smashes.
Wiley – “You Were Always” (feat. Dizzee Rascal and Tinchy Stryder) (2002/2003)
Wiley and SWV were inseparable at one point (not that Coko, Taj and Lelee knew). This was one of many instances where Eskiboy bounced off a sample of theirs, and brought Dizzee and a far-too-young Tinchy along for the ride.
Dizzee Rascal – “Win” (feat. Breeze and Flow Dan) (2002/2003)
Sounding like a pre-“Boy in da Corner” off-cut, this isn’t great, but it’s nice that more Dizzee-featuring Roll Deep material exists.
More Fire Crew – “Still the Same” (feat. Dizzee Rascal) (2003)
Dizzee made cold instrumentals. People know this from his first two albums, and the white labels that dropped prior. What most won’t have heard was when he assisted More Fire on their 2003-released album.
Lethal B and Co are challenged to keep up with the pace on “Still the Same”, while Dizzee sits in his tempo sweet spot. Before Grime had settled around 140bpm, it was anything goes. Here’s one of the more urgent-feeling beats (something Novelist has embraced for his Ruff Sound) and it makes for an interesting tune.
Wiley – “Take Time” (feat. Dizzee Rascal) (2003)
Yes, there were even more tunes from the two of them back then. We’re on an out-and-out Eski vibe that would have felt at home on “Treddin’ on Thin Ice” this time. Show Raskit a flow and he’ll take it four levels up. (Hail up Silver Drizzle for tracking this down).
Durrty Doogz and Dizzee Rascal – “Stretch” (2004)
Grime’s first wave of label signees included More Fire Crew, Dizzee, Wiley, Kano, Roll Deep (collectively) and Durrty Doogz. The latter never managed to see limelight that the others did, for one reason or another.
However, he still contributed some great material in the scene’s earliest years. A collaboration between Doogz and Dizz marks this well. The quick-witted, fire-tongued MCs go back-to-back on an experimental instrumental.
Dizzee Rascal – “Trapped” (2004)
Probably the last significant b-side I can think of, in any genre (before the internet made them redundant). The production on “Trapped”, with its warped lo-fi instrumentation, doesn’t need assistance. We appreciate that he does, giving it justice in the way only Raskit could.
“Trapped” should have been on “Showtime”, and will stand up as one of the best 4-minute musical creations Dyl shared with the world.
Dizzee Rascal – “Give U More” (feat. D Double E) (2005)
In 2004, the scene had collectively decided the ‘grimey’ sound that they’d struggled to define for the past few years was called Grime. And it stuck. 679’s “Run the Road”, released early in 2005, attempted to present a compilation of what was making noise on London pirate radio.
Kano, Tinchy, Roll Deep, Durrty Goodz, Jammer, Shystie, Plan B and many more made the cut, on this bundle of essentials. Dizzee was one of very few to have wider recognition by this time. He did his thing by slotting in this collab with D Double E.
Jammer – “Murkle Man” (Remix) (feat. Dizzee Rascal and D Double E) (2005)
Blowing before the rest had a chance to figure things out, Dizzee didn’t do many collabs when Grime was in its most exciting years. Thankfully, we did get the odd tune here and there. On this one, he blesses up “Murkle Man” alongside D Double.
Klass A and Dizzee Rascal – “Money” (2005)
Newham Generals weren’t the only signings to Dirtee Stank, in its early years. (You remember Smurfie Syco, don’t you?) As well as local talent, Dizz saw something in a load of Leicester lads called Klass A. From what I can see, they only released two promo CDs “Life of Crime” and “Working Klass”, before they fell off the radar.
When “Rollin’ with the Nines” came around – a film Dizzee had a cameo in – Raskit managed to wrangle himself and Klass A onto the soundtrack. Dizz takes the lead on this one, and makes the most of it.
Klass A – “Fuck Dat” (feat. Dizzee Rascal) (2005)
As the one before, but you’re not missing much, if it passed you by the first time.
T-Pain – “I’m Sprung” (feat. Dizzee Rascal) (UK Remix) (2005)
Back when the ‘UK remix’ was still a thing, the people at Jive decided that Dizz would be the perfect addition to T-Pain’s debut track.
Dizzee Rascal – “Like Me” (2007)
Dizzee was touring and things for a couple of years, before he returned with “Sirens”. It was a bit meh. Jester Jacobs reminded me that he saved the day by putting this introspective piece on the b-side.
Dizzee Rascal – “Dean” (2007)
One of Dizzee’s friends from school took his own life, and this was made as a dedication. It’s not going to blow you away, but it’s one of them personal ones. It’s bonus Dizzee all the same.
Dizzee Rascal – “Lemon” (feat. Newham Generals and Jammer)
Puff the magic lemon, etc, etc. You know the score. Good things happen when Newham Gens and Jammer link-up with Dizzee in the studio.
Dizzee Rascal – “G.H.E.T.T.O.” (2007)
How do we all feel about album #3? “Maths + English” was still alright. Nothing like the first two, but it was good music. Here’s one that the Americans got when it got released there. Raw to the core.
Dizzee Rascal – “Driving with Nowhere to Go” (2007)
Another from the US version of “Maths + English”. Take a trip with him.
Dizzee Rascal – “My Life” (feat. Newham Generals) (2008)
No idea where it came from or why, but very much needed. Just as he was transitioning out of the grimier side of things, he linked up with the Gens to show what he was about.
Dizzee Rascal – “Butterfly” (2009)
Dizzee is a junglist at heart. He learned to MC over fast-paced breaks, but rarely showcases this side of his inspiration. “Butterfly” actually featured on the “Foot N Mouth” sampler, which sampler accompanied “Tongue N’ Cheek”.
Dizzee Rascal – “Warrior Within” (feat. Newham Generals) (2009)
Another from that HMV-exclusive sampler. Considering what he gave us on his fourth album, this is a shocker. Cage on production. D Double and Footsie for assistance. Mashing up the place.
Dizzee Rascal – “Hype” (feat. Newham Generals) (2012)
At the turn of 2011/2012, YouTube media channels were booming. There was a new one every weekend, probably featuring a Sox freestyle.
Dizzee didn’t want to be seen on SB.TV or Grime Daily back then. He held out and decided that if he was going to be seen, it would be on his own thing. That thing was DirteeTV. It was the same as all the rest. MCs in the streets barring off. That’s why it didn’t last long, and all the content (including a cold Rapid freestyle) has been deleted.
A positive that came from that time was a mixtape: “DirteeTV.com”, with Dirtee Stank’s roster having fun, with some old and unreleased bits thrown in. “Hype” was one of the better ones.
Dizzee Rascal – “Kryme” (feat. Sharkey Major) (2002/2003)
Another from that 2012 release, but clearly from 2002 or 2003. He even mentions it’s a collaboration with Sharkey Major, but it cuts out before his verse comes through.
We all need to work together to get him to release this in full.
Dizzee Rascal – “Boy Dem About” (2002/2003)
Vintage Raskit. More of the same from his early days. Wild that it didn’t get a proper release.
Dizzee Rascal – “Beef” (feat. Newham Generals) (2012)
Dizzee Rascal – “Perfect” (2012)
A year after the first, “DirteeTV.com The Mixtape Vol. 2” landed. More new Raskit and friends. It’s a proper mixtape without a tracklist, so you’ll have to explore the rest.
Some was released in full on a separate EP, from which “Bassline Junkie” came, but it really doesn’t do it justice. As well as all Newham Generals do on there, it contains a couple of entertaining Dizzee Rascal and Merky ACE collabs.
One of the best tracks from this project (that we actually know the title for, and can be found on YouTube) is “Perfect”. Fitting end. Make sure you check the rest though.
Here’s Dizzee, Marga Man and Slimzee in 2004 showcasing “Vexed” (an exclusive on the US version of “Boy in da Corner”) live in New York: