Dizzee Rascal, Liquid Room, Edinburgh

4.00

East End Rascal conquers Scots

It's surely going to be a new sensation for Dylan Mills, also known as grime figurehead Dizzee Rascal, to embark on this national tour and not hear the biggest cheer of the night the moment his previously defining track "Fix Up, Look Sharp" is played.

Five years have passed since Mills's debut album Boy In Da Corner won him the Mercury Prize and, in all honesty, it's taken the same five years for him finally to make the jump from critical cause célèbre to mainstream recording artist. The fact that "Dance Wiv Me" – the song that saw Mills and dance producer Calvin Harris jointly occupy the UK chart's No 1 position for a month this summer – is a blend of grime, nu-soul and electro-disco might have offended the purists, though.

It's hard to decipher at the moment whether Dizzee works best as an austere and rough-edged musical ambassador for the meaner streets of London or as the kind of universal success story whose retirement plan might involve greatest hits tours of provincial nightclubs. Yet a blue-sky outlook might have hoped he could have found his way to universal acclaim without sacrificing so much of the style he helped to create and develop.

Still, it's not as if Mills looks bothered by the fact that "Dance Wiv Me" seems to have reinvigorated his level of national recognition. This show was sold out and would have been so in a much larger venue, which is impressive considering that grime is more of an enclave interest than an overground one in Scotland.

Arguably, though, it's Mills's accent and background that identify him as a grime artist more and more these days, because his musical style and onstage persona are crossing over into the realms of straight hip-hop. The Dizzee Rascal lexicon has morphed into a more worldly, transatlantic style than the East London pirate radio chatter of before, as is in evidence when he informs that "right about now we find out where the Gs are".

The G is for gangster rap over grime, and it's a sentiment that has more in common with the bling-bedecked worlds of huge US stars like Jay-Z, Puff Daddy, 50 Cent et al. The track which follows, named "Where's Da Gs", does start with the anachronistic diss "liar, liar, pants on fire", but it's otherwise your typical throw-down to an unnamed rival who ain't all that.

"So this is Edinburgh," says Mills after the track has finished. "Capital city – top dogs of Scotland, yeah?" There's been an air of territorialism about the Dizzee Rascal show since last year's Maths + English album; he was never so forthright in his previous work. The new model Dizzee is just as likely to warn that you'd "better run when you hear the sirens coming" as he is to make some kind of more muted social comment.

Boy In Da Corner's "Jezebel", for example, is one of the set's more thoughtful highlights. Mills still throws up plenty of visceral imagery in his near-knuckle lyrics, but the tale of a promiscuous young girl who ends up pregnant is affectingly told, beneath it all: "Two fatherless kids / One single mum / No longer young / But the boys still come". The same album's "I Luv U", again about teen pregnancies, is also powerfully bleak, and it would be a shame if this relative sensitivity in Mills's work were to be submerged.

Yet here we are with Dizzee Rascal and his MC, stripped to the waist and baggy trousers hanging down about their thighs in gangster style, singing "Excuse Me Please" and cocking their middle fingers in the air come the line "there must be hope... for revolution". He is, of course, still a wildly engaging and entertaining performer, but it seems a shame that he has to play the same game as his US counterparts to have any access to the huge rewards they've enjoyed.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Arts and Entertainment
William Pooley from Suffolk is flying out to Free Town, Sierra Leone, to continue working in health centres to fight Ebola after surviving the disease himself

music
Arts and Entertainment
The Newsroom creator Aaron Sorkin

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Berry (centre), the star of Channel 4 sitcom 'Toast of London'

TVA disappointingly dull denouement
Arts and Entertainment
Tales from the cryptanalyst: Benedict Cumberbatch in 'The Imitation Game'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pixie Lott has been voted off Strictly Come Dancing 2014

Strictly
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
    La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

    Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

    The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
    10 best high-end laptops

    10 best high-end laptops

    From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
    Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

    Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

    The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
    Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

    Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

    The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
    Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

    'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

    After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
    Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

    Homeless Veterans campaign

    Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
    Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

    Meet Racton Man

    Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
    Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

    Garden Bridge

    St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
    Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

    Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

    An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
    Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

    Joint Enterprise

    The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
    Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

    Freud and Eros

    Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum