You do wonder if Bizzle 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 Doherty made him look a bit of a douche within his own scene, with the grime hardcore looking to the likes of P Money, Young Spray and Ice Kid for the ‘real shit’. Meanwhile, Dizzee’s late bloom and the coronation of [a]Tinchy Stryder[/a] have proven that the UK can mine bona fide urban superstars. Bizzle might have expected to be up there with them but he’s ended up looking like something of a daft uncle.
‘Go Hard’ 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 Gallows-powered ‘Rockstar’ and the fromage-heavy [a]Mark Ronson[/a] jam ‘Lost My Mind’.
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 ‘Going Out Tonight’’s machine gun bleeps. Best of all is the downright nutjob crunk ‘Skullz On My Hoodie’, where ketamine beats support a stream-of-consciousness taking in – brilliantly – Lenny Kravitz, caviar, Jordan and Transformers. And in Bizzle land, that’s normal service, nicely resumed.
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