Everyone has come across some form of Dizzee Rascal music in their life. Whether it is from the classic “Boy In Da Corner” days, or the commercial successes of “Bonkers” and “Dance Wiv Me“, or his numerous emphatic Glastonbury shows, Dizzee has been a household name in British music for nearly 20 years. Now, in 2020, you would assume that he has started to decline, but that is the opposite of what “E3 AF” is.
This album is some of Dizzee’s best work since the infamous 2003 record aforementioned, with slick bars and mind-boggling flows over emphatic, powerful production, which Dizzee himself played a major hand in (he produced 5 out of the 10 tracks, with joint production on a further track). The aim was to produce 10 high quality tracks that all hold different meanings and values to Dizzee, with the spirit of E3 in each track, the postcode of Bow in East London, where he grew up. It certainly achieves this, with the majority of the record consisting of high energy bangers, such as “L.L.L.L.” featuring Chip and “That’s Too Much”, a grime banger with D Double E and Frisco. “Eastside” is a standout track, with its combination of 3 grime scene legends from East London – hence the name Eastside – in Ghetts, Kano and Dizzee himself. The back to back to back is all that is needed, the verses are beyond incredible, so who needs a chorus?
The “Body Groove” sample in “Body Loose” is a great selection as it reworks a garage classic to perfection, modernising it into a 2020 club tune. Tracks like “Energies + Powers” and the closing track “Be Incredible” bring a more open, emotional and heart-felt vibe to the album, where Dizzee speaks on traumatising and difficult events that he has gone through, but still manages to make it fit in the album without sounding too out of place.
This really is a statement from Dizzee, showing us that he is still one of the best MCs in the game and he’s not letting up on that any time soon, as he says in “Be Incredible”: ‘If I decline/I just want privacy, I’ll be fine/And then maybe finally I’ll recline/But I feel like that ain’t my design’. Listening to this several times since it’s release, no one wants Dizzee to stop. He still has all the skills that initially presented him as one of the best. “E3 AF” is a presentation of his best skills, from the grime classics, to the commercial club bangers, to the more character opening tracks. It is one of the best releases of 2020, regardless of what genre it fits into. It’s just a shame the clubs and raves are all shut at the moment, because this is the perfect album for having a good, carefree time.