Dizzee Rascal feat Calvin Harris and Chrome - Dance Wiv Me - Singles - Reviews - Soundblab

Dizzee Rascal feat Calvin Harris and Chrome - Dance Wiv Me

by Rich Morris Rating: Release Date:

He'd a had ample time to prepare for it, and 'Dance Wiv Me' saw Dylan Kwabena Mills finally step up as the first artist to break free of the perpetually marginalised grime scene. This came after the false start that was grindie - a still-born phenomenon that was less legitimate genre than beady-eyed PR opportunity in which 'urban' acts like Dizzee and Lethal Bizzle hooked up with credible and, importantly, marketable indie acts like Arctic Monkeys. But the desired Holy Grail crossover hit didn't materialise and it's pretty obvious why.

See, the twonks pulling the strings fundamentally misunderstood the nature of your average music fan, a problem which has it's roots in more than a decade of vicious segregation of British music into artificially created genres divided along barely concealed lines of gender, race and sexuality: 'urban' for young black men and guys from ethnic minorities, 'pop' for the women and gays and 'alternative' for those of a straight, white, usually male persuasion. If you're a black guy from Surrey who plays the guitar or a white girl who spits like Ice T - forget it. You're not part of the equation. (And it's particular to the UK; America does not have this problem and we, bizarrely, do not have this problem with American music. Whether it's the violence to women fantasies of Eminem, the hipster rock of The Strokes or Scissor Sisters covering Pink Floyd, we seem primed to accept it as pop.)

This thinking is wrong and stupid and, most heinously, underestimates and patronises the average music fan in modern Britain. Yeah, he might be white; he or she might like Oasis more than Public Enemy. They may never have set foot in a grime night or have any intention of doing so. But that didn't mean they had a problem with music expressing a worldview different to their own. Nor did it mean they couldn't connect with culture emerging from a different environment. And it didn't mean they would explode as soon as a young, sexy, smartarse black man from Bow got to number one.

So Dizzee went direct to the public and he used Calvin Harris to do it. Harris a prime gimp but he was smart enough to give Dizzee free reign and a brilliant, witty showcase, kicking off with a classic soul swell, promising smooth seducation, before abruptly switching to a wonky synthetic squelch positively reeking of sticky dancefloors and WKD Blue. Dizzee uses this, which could have been his last shot at a hit, not to brag about money, power or sexual prowess, but to ask a girl to dance. He doesn't bully or objectify her, instead using chat up lines completely devoid of macho posturing, implicitly understanding that her attention won't be handed to him on a plate, that he must use wit to win her over.

But that's only one level, because Dizzee's also addressing pop music itself, eyeing it up across the CD racks from his place in the urban section of HMV and inviting it to take a chance on him. And he's so charming and cheeky, impish and sure of himself… How could pop resist? It couldn't, of course. It succumbed utterly and we got a new, endearingly unlikely pop star.

All those who cried sellout missed the point. "You bought new shoes and you did up your hair/ you made a real effort tonight and it shows," Dizzee chirps, reborn as an everyman lothario, and you can hear he means it - he's noticed and he's grateful. That's why he didn't need the whole contrivance of grindie. He just needed the chance to show us that he understands; that he cares. What a great guy. What a star.

Richard Morris

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