(Olympics 2012 flavoured!) Single Review: Dizzee Rascal featuring Pepper – Scream

By on Friday, 27th July 2012 at 12:00 pm
 

Editor’s note: All of TGTF’s coverage of London 2012 Olympics is available through this link.

Whilst meaning no disrespect to the other five Olympic singles, out of all the performers invited to contribute, Dizzee Rascal surely has the most genuine claim to personal connection with the Games, as he was brought up in Bow, just a javelin’s throw from where the Olympic village now stands in Stratford. This fact surely didn’t escape the attention of organisers when choosing Rascal to provide a song; his personal narrative neatly encapsulates both the rags-to-riches tale of this particular part of east London, whilst reinforcing the best that its varied cultural mix can produce. ‘Scream’, whilst not specifically written with this event in mind (YouTube shows the tune doing the festival rounds this time last year), carries some particularly apposite lyrical content, with its talk of “Worldwide athletic champion”, even though such sentiment is inspired more by the Rocky films than any explicit affinity with the Olympic movement.

After that the lyrics get a bit hazy – yes, I am a white boy from Yorkshire, not a hood from the East side, so I can’t decipher every word of the rapid flow. But if I’m not mistaken, in the latter half of the song there’s a decent bit of social critique of the culture of his roots, of both male violence and female promiscuity, providing a much-needed voice of common sense where politicians dare not to tread, either because they are afraid of being opportunistically accused of racism by their opposition, or because they misguidedly turn a blind eye to social ills in minority communities, mistaking genuine poor behaviour for the perceived norms of a poorly-understood breakaway culture. The song wraps up with an inspiring evocation to be the “future flame” – very Olympian.

Musically, the piece continues Dizzee’s talent for taking very basic ingredients (a sampled harp riff, a few familiar synth tones, the most basic white-noise snare), and making a decent song out of it. Whilst there isn’t a proper chorus, there’s a lovely female vocal refrain sung by Dirtee Stank signing Pepper to break up the rapping. In fact the song never truly climaxes, but for the TV soundtrack purposes to which it will no doubt be put, that’s probably no bad thing. Overall, this is a decent song, particularly the lyrical sentiment, which covers a lot of ground in its sub-three minutes. A decent shock of individual inspiration to counterpoint to the bland, suffocating authoritarianism of the political and commercial concerns that have so dominated the run-up to the Games themselves. And in that sense, Rascal displays all the qualities of a successful Olympian athlete. Let the Games begin!

7/10

Dizzee Rascal’s ‘Scream’ featuring Pepper will be released on Monday the 5th of August.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZhS_l8c6n8#[/youtube]

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