Release Date: Sep 30, 2013
Record label: Island
Genre(s): Rap, Pop/Rock
In the decade since he won the Mercury for Boy in Da Corner, Dylan Mills has undergone an unlikely metamorphosis: from edgy grime upstart to festival-pleasing loon with an eye on the global market. Recorded in LA with Madonna and Rihanna producers, The Fifth – Dizzee's fifth album, innit – packs vocodered choruses and guests such as will.i.am into what is essentially one long paean to being young, male and successful, starring the protagonist a sort of crazed Loadsamoney character on a rampage of cash and casual sex. But any whiffs of lordly behaviour or misogyny are dissipated by the Rascal's self-deprecation ("What do you know of LA shootings? You ain't even bin to Tooting") and incorrigibility.
While the press declared The Fifth the album where Dizzee Rascal played for America, the kinetic U.K. rapper told a different story, focusing on the production and how much he enjoyed rapping over these vibrant beats. "Having fun" is what they call it, and when The Fifth hits on all cylinders, Dizzee's explanation fits, as amusement overflows while delivered in the slickest manner possible in 2013.
On Dylan Mills’ fifth album, he’s trying to do what UK rap has never quite managed: make it big across the pond. Artists like Professor Green, Plan B and Tinie Tempah have platinum discs aplenty from chart success at home, but none of them have been able to make a dent in America’s hip-hop forcefield. Perhaps it’s because the US has enough rappers of its own.
2013 in hip hop has been a weird year, a year of extremes. There has been some great hip hop from artists who have been doing it for a while, like Kanye West, Killer Mike and El-P, as well as terrific efforts from newcomers like Danny Brown, Chance The Rapper, Earl Sweatshirt and Drake. But then there’s the lowest common denominator from artists who were once great.