Dizzee Rascal criticises Kanye West over grime-inspired Brits performance

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MC talks the comeback of grime in new interview

Dizzee Rascal has discussed grime’s recent revival in a new interview, criticising Kanye West‘s Brit Awards homage to the genre earlier this year.

Dizzee’s most recent album ‘The Fifth’ was released in 2013. Speaking about the resurgence of grime – which he helped pioneer – the east London native told Time Out: “Who saw this coming? I didn’t! It’s come around again… People can’t look down on grime anymore, it’s an established British genre. It’s got longevity, it’s got spirit and it’s been interesting to see a whole new audience come in.”

However, he continued to suggest that Kanye West’s recent head-nod to grime at the Brits in February – which saw the likes of Skepta and Novelist appearing as part of the performance – was simply a fashion statement. “Kanye bringing everyone on stage – that’s a look,” he said.

“I’m not taking anything away from anyone,” he added. “What Skepta has done has been great, it’s been good to see him and his brother [JME] come back so strong. I respect that family unit. But everything people are seeing now: I already did it on my own. People talk about the pop part – they don’t talk about me being an independent artist. I made it look easy, that’s the problem! I dominated the underground and then I dominated the overground, and I did that on my own.”

Dizzee remains adamant that he’s still the best the genre has seen: “No UK rapper has been in my position; there are loads of big rappers like Tinie Tempah or Skepta, but no one has done what I have: had mainstream success with underground music and pop music.”

Despite grime’s comeback, the star says he’s not interested in retreading old ground: “I still love grime. I just haven’t sat in the studio and made beats for a long time. I’ve tried, but it didn’t feel right. It’s like wearing the same clothes you did ten years ago. Do you wanna do that?”

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Earlier this year, Dizzee’s grime peer Wiley shared a difference view on West’s Brits performance, telling NME that it was empowering, not patronising.

“It was a massive statement,” Wiley said. “Kanye came in and helped my scene make it. And when I say my scene, I just mean people who are part of that culture, rather than us as grime or UK rap or us from the council estate whose parents had milk tokens.”