Dizzee Rascal, Carling Academy, Glasgow

'Boy In Da Corner' declares class war
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With more than a year having now elapsed since 19-year-old East London wonderkid Dizzee Rascal grasped the Mercury Music Prize in his eager paws, the baton that makes each winner all but bullet-proof for 12 months has been well and truly passed. Much like Miss World, the second year of post-award life means having to prove yourself all over again from scratch.

With more than a year having now elapsed since 19-year-old East London wonderkid Dizzee Rascal grasped the Mercury Music Prize in his eager paws, the baton that makes each winner all but bullet-proof for 12 months has been well and truly passed. Much like Miss World, the second year of post-award life means having to prove yourself all over again from scratch.

If there's any justice, of course, Dizzee's debut album Boy In Da Corner, recipient of the very award which brought him to wide-scale attention, will go down among the defining moments of popular music in the 21st century's inaugural decade.

So how did Dizzee, otherwise known as Dylan Mills, celebrate the one-year anniversary of his greatest achievement? Admirably, he wasn't still trading on the success of his debut to ever-diminishing marginal returns. Instead, the hot-iron strike that had eluded Ms Dynamite had already been made - his follow-up album Showtime is a record that meets, if not exceeds, the expectation set by the first.

Clearly, Dizzee takes the hard work ethic drummed into so many breakthrough British artists and runs with it. That's why he's kicking off his national tour in such a hitherto-unheralded outpost of hip-hop culture as the Southside of Glasgow, treading the boards where so many bigger-name US rappers have cancelled in recent months due to poor sales. Perhaps, then, the surprise shouldn't be that the city's Carling Academy branch is half empty, but that the still-healthy crowd partitioned off on the venue's ground-floor goes so unreservedly nuts for him.

The fact is, there's a connection between artist and audience that even the vagaries of a different city's culture can't obscure. Dizzee himself puts the finger on it when he points out "We ain't middle class, we are working class ... we live on the council estates, yeah?''

It's this shared heritage which makes him a true British artist of the people and it's there in the impudence of 'Jus' Rascal', the chest-swelling confidence of 'Fix Up Look Sharp' and the escapist optimism of his new single 'Dreams'. So his pared-down two MCs and one DJ show might have been playing to a specialised audience, but by the time his tour ends in London, he'll be preaching to the converted.



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