: * * * *
Sore cheeks from smiling, sore knees from dancing.
At just 23-years-old, and with four albums under his low-slung belt, the enterprising and street-smart young lad known as Dizzee Rascal is turning into the Jay-Z of Londontown.
If his first two albums, the Mercury-winning
Boy In Da Corner
, were his challenging and innovative hip-hop-meets-grime statements, and 2007's
Maths + English
his most accessible material, then
Tongue N' Cheek
is made up of his most fun, yet throw-away tunes.
In today's music market, that's not necessarily a bad thing. And in the little Rascal's case he's come up with chart-topping crackers like the madcap oonst of
(featuring dance guy Armand Van Helden) and smooth knee-bender
Dance Wiv Me
They are two party starters you can limber up to in your lounge, or out on the town. Yes, you might get sick of them after a while but if Dizzee (real name Dylan Mills) keeps up with his current release schedule, then he'll have more new songs for you before that happens.
And besides, those two tracks are very different from what he has come up with in the past, so it's not as if he's resting on his grime and hip-hop laurels.
Elsewhere the album is diverse:
Can't Tek No More
has a brassy reggae soundsystem bounce to it;
Chillin Wiv Da Man Dem
is a breezy slow jam; there's no shortage of his past penchant for jittery noise on
; and his bratty nature is never far away on the rude and yappy
(the most irritating and weakest track here).
While his rhymes are posturing and quite often about the size of his you-know-what, he has a fun-loving cheekiness about him that is refreshing alongside the air of arrogance in much of American hip-hop.
It's on the excellent
where he shows his true charm and deft musical touch by coming up with Jazzie B beats akin to late 80s-era Soul II Soul, some Stevie Wonder-style keyboard noodlings, and his wiry and soulful vocal driving the song along.
Tongue N' Cheek
is another accomplished, and for the first time, entirely fun release, from this clever little rascal.