This will be my first post on this blog and so I think it’s only right we start off strong, with an album that really defined the UK urban music scene. ‘Boy in da Corner’ was released on 21st July 2003 by an 18 year old Dylan Mills, more commonly known as Dizzee Rascal. The album, consisting of 15 songs, has certainly held its weight in the Grime scene as to this day it is regarded as one of the greatest grime albums ever released. At the time, the record peaked at number 23 on the British Album chart and even went on to win the prestigious Mercury Award.
The songs in the album really depict the life of young teens growing up in some of the roughest areas in London, mainly Bow, East London where he grew up. After your first listen you may just think the album is just focused around life, as a teenager, on the streets and the how people deal with day to day situations. This is true in some respects but I feel the album touches on some much deeper subjects and that the album portrays Dizzee’s positive outlook on life. Tracks such “Brand New Day” look at the possibility of moving away from the tough situations you may face and progressing forward out of the estates, which really is the dream for anyone who grew up in what could be a flat in East London to some of the roughest estates in Manchester. I feel that in “2 far” Dizzee talks about how really he is a good guy but the situations faced growing up in a troublesome area force him to do things he doesn’t really want to do. In one of the most successful tracks “Fix up, look sharp” we see the importance of staying true to your word and true to those around you even if you may blow up and become a success. As Dizzee puts it they’re “trying to see if dizzee stays true to his grammar”. This is of particular interest at the moment as currently the grime scene is growing faster than it ever has been and we can see that this situation is still a problem. One of Grime’s current pioneers Skepta tells us how he struggles with this on his newest album “Konnichiwa”. On the track “Corn on the Curb” we hear Skepta having a phone call with fellow Tottenham artist Chip saying “..I’m too ambitious to be with the mandem on the road, but..”. So he is struggling with the idea of leaving behind the streets he grew up on for the fame and commercial lifestyle. Proving that the struggles MC’s face today are as relevant as they were 13 years ago. In “Hold ya mouf” we look at the dangers of ‘talking up’ in certain situations and the consequences in how the situations are resolved. Dizzee talks about how he doesn’t understand why certain people talk the way they do knowing full well what the consequences are. Moving on I feel the tracks “I Luv U” and “Round We Go (Ain’t No Love)” touch on the intimate relationships, or really the lack of intimate relationships of young teens. Where he talks about the lack of trust and really that he just gets involved with relationships for the sex. In fact there is this sort of resentment where he thinks girls are just trying to cause ‘beef’ or trouble and really they are only after money.”Jus A Rascal” is one of my favourite tracks on the album and still is one of my favourite records to this day. Dizzee talks about how people aren’t taking him seriously and consider him simply just a rascal. This song basically is just informing them that he isn’t and that he certainly is not a mook! Lyrics such as “so you keep taking this for a joke, I’ll definitely just grin” show off Dizzee’s confidence and belief in his own ability. “Jezabel” depicts Dizzee’s view of a teenage girl’s life which concentrates on the mistakes and the regrets she may have once she has grown up. This is definitely one of the deeper tracks on the album touching on subjects such as teenage pregnancy and other traps young girls fall into as they grow up. The album is rounded off with the track “Do it!” we see Dizzee’s struggles with how he’s misunderstood and he really talks about how doesn’t want to go back to his “road life”. He mentions how he struggles to change due to the things he’s seen and the lack of people to talk to as no one will listen. Stating that people only really want to talk when they want a favour or need your help. But then he moves on to talk about how you’ve got to be strong to get through and that you can do it. He finishes off by saying that you should get the best out of your education to move get out of the street life. This is something that Dizzee struggled with himself, as he has said in previous interviews he got in trouble for fighting with teachers, stealing cars, and robbing pizza delivery men. More importantly he mentions at the end that you can achieve anything if you really want it and in my opinion he perfectly finishes the album.
Art by: Reuben Dangoor
This album is a true, honest representation of growing up in urban areas where there is not much wealth. The relationships he talks about with people in his area you can think back to your own teen years and visualise those people in your own past and relate. As well as this what makes “Boy in da Corner” one of my favourite records of all time is the way its ended on a high note, no matter all the rough situations that he discussed throughout the album our throughout your life you can still achieve anything you want if you really set your mind to it. I think this everyone should really adopt this mindset. The fact that Dizzee was only 18 when this came out shows how far ahead mentally and musically he was and it makes the album all the more impressive.