Dizzee Rascal

Maths and English

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Until Definitive Jux got involved, physical copies of Dizzee Rascal's third album were not distributed in the U.S. The Definitive Jux version of Maths and English followed roughly ten months after the original U.K. release on XL -- baffling since the album is more likely to appeal to the average U.S. hip-hop fan than either 2003's Boy in da Corner or 2004's Showtime, not only due to an appearance from Texas underground giants UGK on "Where's da G's." Another obstacle is that, due to sample clearance issues in the U.S., one of the album's most hip-hop tracks, "Pussyole (Old Skool)" -- with its use of the well-known break from Lyn Collins' "Think (About It)" -- had to be left off Definitive Jux copies. Even without it, the album is even more of a grime disconnect than Showtime, often more rooted in Southern bounce than anything else. Only "U Can't Tell Me Nuffin'" resembles the Dizzee of old from a production standpoint, its perturbed bass thrums and synth-string stuns, chirps, and sound-shards served up in a circular gait; it's buried near the end of the album. At the other end of the sequence, however, is "Sirens," a tense narrative over a chaotic production that throws neck-snapping percussion, head-banging guitars, and sound effects into a whirlwind of manic energy worthy of early agitated Cypress Hill. That track, as well as the others mentioned above, stand out most, with only a couple others rivaling them. While Dizzee can still drop a bewildering rhyme while being an MC of greater skill than before, his developments are not strictly for the better, as heard on "Hard Back (Industry)" (where he dishes out tired wisdom about the recording industry), the pointlessly and relentlessly crude "Suk My Dik" (i.e., "I do not care about haters, but here are some rhymes about how much I dislike them and what they can do"), and the Lily Allen feature "Wanna Be" (a lighthearted, amusing track with no replay value). It's Dizzee at his least unique and least riveting, both sonically and lyrically, thus far.

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