Dizzee Rascal coming through my headphones with his strangled cockney desperation; gunshots and sirens faintly audible under the eerie Asian-sounding instrumental:
I'm just sittin here, I ain't sayin much I just think
And my eyes don't move, left or right, they just blink
I think too deep and I think too long
Plus I think I'm getting weak cos my thoughts are too strong
You can almost see him by a windowsill, looking out at a dirty street in the bad part of town. Simon Reynolds calls this nascent genre "grime"; its sonic murkiness and dismal subject matter lives a thousand miles from the bling-bling world of Biggie and Jay-Z. Which is not to say that Biggie and Jigga never touched on darker topics-- but even when they did, it was big screen drama. Dizzee's Dogme 95.
How many hot British MCs are poised to come up in the US of A? You can fit them in a matchbox with room left over for the matches. But if you're inclined to toss Dizzee a few bucks for chips and lager, or crumpets, or whatever the hell they eat over there, you can buy tracks from Boy in Da Corner. I suggest "Sittin Here" and "I Luv U".
On the flipside, the new Ludacris is great. "Hip Hop Quotables" is my favorite.
The #1 chief rocker, clean out your rap lockers
I'm as stiff as a board, y'all more shook than maracas
But my Trix ain't for kids, if you dig em you'll get smacked
I'll clock ya-- I'll spring forward, you'll fall back