Dizzee Rascal, Maths + English (2007)
Over six months after Dizzee Rascal’s nominal label, XL Recordings, unceremoniously earmarked Maths + English as a digital download in the U.S. (while giving it a proper CD release in his native UK), Definitive Jux has stepped in to give it the proper physical release it deserves. This new edition, supplemented by three additional tracks (including Def Jux fountainhead El-P’s remix of Dizzee and UGK’s “Where’s Da G’s”), burns with cranky aggression. “My hat is low, my trousers, too…but I don’t care, ‘cause I’m the shit,” he sing-raps on “Suk My Dick.” Even dirty rap club tracks like “Flex” sound tougher than the typical Spank Rock stupidity. He wittily twists his come-ons with sharp observations, like the way sweat drips from pretty girls’ eyebrows, that makes his songs dangerously alert. Dizzee Rascal pops a lot of shit on Maths + English, but he’s no London thug. In between chain-tugging street rhymes such as “Bubbles” and “Suk My Dick,” he grapples with his neuroses on “Excuse Me Please” and “Paranoid.” “Laying in my bed, I’m a nervous wreck/And I wind myself up until I’m vexed/I keep telling myself that they’re out to get me,” he raps on the latter. Four years after his Mercury Prize-winning debut Boy in Da Corner, Dizzee Rascal may be a big dog spitting grown man shit, but he’s still meditating nervously on the world around him. This U.S. version was released on April 29, 2008, but it hardly helped his American prospects. His next album, 2009’s Tongue ‘N Cheek, was not released on a physical format in the States.