E3 AF is the much anticipated new Dizzee Rascal album. Largely a return to his grime origins, E3 referring to not only his own birthplace, but also that of grime; and AF referring to his African heritage. It is apparent that this is an album that is taking Dizzee back to the roots of his career. Early Dizzee Rascal fans will not be disappointed.
The album starts with the self-produced “God Knows”. This is hard, thoroughbred grime track with wonky bass notes and tough snares. P Money is the first of many featured artist on this album. “That’s Too Much” is lighter than the first track, but continues to feature a heavy, rudeboi bass. Frisco’s familiar husky voice features at approximately 3 minutes and offers a welcome gruffness to combat Dizzee’s crisp vocals. Alicaì Harley is also a stand out feature, offering sweet, smooth vocals on “Energies + Powers”, the Steel Bangles produced obligatory trap track on this grime album.
The first single of the album, “L.L.L.L. (Love Life Live Large)”, is instantly recognisable with a sweet pan-flute-esque melody and bass combo, however this is sadly followed by a repetitive chorus combined with dead vocals.
“Body Loose” is a “butchered classic” as my housemate described it. It is evident from this track that Dizzee has not yet said goodbye to mainstream pop– with this tune being reminiscent of his “Tongue n Cheek” days. This track sadly missed the mark, as do the similarly pop-y “You Don’t Know” and “Be Incredible”. I suppose parent label Universal want to sell albums.
Featuring day ones Ghetts and Kano “Eastside” is a return to the weighty bass tracks offered at the beginning of E3 AF. A really heavy Platinum 45 grime/drill production, this is my favourite track of the album. Following this, drill track “Act Like You Know”, and bouncy “Don’t Be Dumb” both offer a combination of cocky, decent rhymes, and a decent features making them all-round decent tracks.
All in all, the occasional uncomfortable pop hit on this album should not put you off listening to what is a GOOD album. E3 AF is easily Dizzee Rascal’s best album since Boy in da Corner and is a worthy follow-up to receiving an MBE.
Header image: Joseph Okpako/WireImage