Dylan Kwabena Mills, better known as Dizzee Rascal, has evolved from cutting-edge grime and UK hip hop pioneer into one of Britain’s biggest pop stars. And he’s done it without compromising one iota of his startlingly original vision and unique persona.
In Bonkers Paul Lester traces Dizzee’s development as the East London rapper, songwriter and record producer, of Ghanaian and Nigerian descent, forged a career, first as a pirate radio DJ aged 16, then as a member of grime collective the Roll Deep Crew, and finally as a solo artist.
It also reveals how Dizzee’s distinctive style – a hybrid of garage, rap, grime, ragga, dancehall and electronica - and skewed observations of low-rent city life helped him become, at 19, the youngest person ever to win the prestigious Mercury Music Prize in 2003 with his extraordinary debut album Boy In Da Corner.
In this no-holds-barred account, read about Dizzee’s stabbing in Ayia Napa, his gradual infiltration of the mainstream: rapping on Band Aid 20’s ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’ in 2004, his three Number 1 singles with ‘Dance Wiv Me’, ‘Bonkers’ and ‘Holiday’, and unlikely appearance on BBC2’s Newsnight where he was grilled about politics by Jeremy Paxman and joked that he could one day be Prime Minister. Stranger things have happened – and they’re all in Bonkers: The Story of Dizzee Rascal.
Paul Lester is the author of acclaimed biographies of post punk legends Gang Of Four and Wire, and pop superstar Pink, all published by Omnibus Press. He also contributes to The Guardian and The Sunday Times.