Album review: Lethal Bizzle – ‘Go Hard’

Taking care of usual

You do wonder if [b]Bizzle[/b] ever regrets letting himself be adopted so completely as the indie nation’s mascot rapper. Yes, he completely tore apart the rammed-up tents at this year’s Reading and Leeds (the unfortunate bizznizz at Download two years ago thankfully seems a one-off). But all that sidling up to [b]Doherty[/b] made him look a bit of a douche within his own scene, with the grime hardcore looking to the likes of [b]P Money[/b], [b]Young Spray[/b] and [b]Ice Kid[/b] for the ‘real shit’. Meanwhile, [b]Dizzee[/b]’s late bloom and the coronation of [a]Tinchy Stryder[/a] have proven that the UK can mine bona fide urban superstars. [b]Bizzle[/b] might have expected to be up there with them but he’s ended up looking like something of a daft uncle.

[b]‘Go Hard’[/b] sees him consolidate his position on the dancefloor, but there’s nothing resembling the fingerprints of [a]Calvin Harris[/a] here – mostly it’s a down and dirty return to the scene that birthed him. Uneven it may be, but when his goofy rhymes catch sparks against a noxious mix of grime, electro and funky house it’s dazzling. He’s apparently cured of the collaborative bumrush; there’s just two notorious hook-ups here, the thunderous [b]Gallows[/b]-powered [b]‘Rockstar’[/b] and the fromage-heavy [a]Mark Ronson[/a] jam [b]‘Lost My Mind’[/b].

The finest moments are the hardest: the way the skittish breakbeat of the title track reveals itself as the missing link between old skool and some unplanned future and [b]‘Going Out Tonight’[/b]’s machine gun bleeps. Best of all is the downright nutjob crunk [b]‘Skullz On My Hoodie’[/b], where ketamine beats support a stream-of-consciousness taking in – brilliantly – Lenny Kravitz, caviar, Jordan and Transformers. And in [b]Bizzle[/b] land, that’s normal service, nicely resumed.

[b]Dan Martin[/b]

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