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?”
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.”