Dizzee Rascal has finally ran out of road. The UK grime legend’s career, which started with the truly seismic Boy in Da Corner in 2003, has had its ebbs and flows over the 20 years that followed. There was the Robbie Williams collaboration, submergence into dance-pop and the very long period where he turned his back on grime, alienating his legions of fans and the UK scene.

After re-emerging in 2017 with the gloriously throwback Raskit, the old Dizzee was back. No more chasing trends or pandering to an audience that was never there, just pure grime. He followed it up with the similarly electric E3 AF in 2020.



Which brings us to Don’t Take It Personal, his first album in four years. It’s also Dizzee Rascal’s first since his conviction for assaulting his ex-partner in 2022. It’s on that point where Don’t Take It Personal – an otherwise middle of the road record that celebrates grime and its predecessors jungle and garage – sinks to a nadir.

“You Can Have Dat” is dedicated to his view of the violent episode that saw him sentenced to a community order. On the track, he crassly raps: “Let me see my kids, you bitch, ’cause I’m thеir father/ Let me play my part, it’s bеtter we’re apart,” which makes him sound like he’s about to climb up a London landmark dressed as Batman.

Then on the second verse, Dizzee, who is about to turn 40, accuses his former fiancée, with whom he shares two children, of being a gold digger.

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Dizzee, who was always lightyears ahead of his time, appears to have been left in the dust by men he paved the way for. He no longer has the insight of Dave or the urgency of Central Cee, and other elder contemporaries such as Skepta, Kano and Giggs have matured with greater vitality.

The frantic single “What You Know About That” which features JME and D Double E is a high point and a purified throwback to Dizzee Rascal’s mid-2000s heyday as the trio exchange bars with effortless bravado over a grime beat beefed up for the stadium crowd.



Dizzee still sounds like the Dizzee that revolutionised the British music scene (he takes several opportunities to remind people of that fact on the album) but like a boxer who has gone on too long, the grime legend has lost his punch and all that remains is lingering bitterness.

RELEASE DATE: February 9, 2024


Listen to Don’t Take It Personal below: