Dizzee RascalIt all started when I learnt to use Cube Base at school. I tried to get in the back room where the computers were before and after school and they used to use a studio down the road in Poplar. I’d go there sometimes and invite emcees I knew from outside who were on pirate radio and tell them to come to school and we’d make songs in the studio.
Then I started going on any pirate radio I could and I had turn tables indoors and I used to buy records off DJ Target from Roll Deep and one day he gave me all of his records.
When the time came time for me to take it seriously and make my own songs I’d go and cut dubs in Holloway, but because I weren’t no-one I had to give my dub plates to the DJs. I had to get money by doing bits and bobs and pay £35-£45 to get it cut and then give it away. That used to hurt boy.

Making moves
I had to pay £20 to go on pirate radio and I was doing raves all over the place. I started doing the under 18 raves around London and then went to the Midlands and then headed further up North to Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool.

When I started selling records on White Label that took it to another level. I was doing instrumentals and I was taking them around the shops in the back of my boot and selling them. Eventually it got to a level where we could take it to the distributors ourselves. Luckily I was at such a young age that I learnt a lot early. So I was doing that and getting money for it and then I got my record deal.
When I first got my record deal it was mad. I had loads of late nights when I made the first
album. I was up in the studio smoking loads of weed and trying to keep out of trouble. ‘Cos by this time I’d finished school and I’d dropped out of college so I was floating about.

The worst part was doing promo and having to do eleven interviews in one go and then travel. At first I found it all so tedious. You get asked the same questions over and over again. It sounds like a minor but when you’ve got to repeat yourself and keep your composure and treat every interview likes it’s the first. It’s hard when you just want to go out and play. You have to have discipline. But doing promo has been one of the things that has helped my success. People need to know that you’re reliable. No matter what you hear about me you’ll always hear that I’m a hard worker. I put in the work and I don’t mess about. Reputation amounts to a lot.

Back to the future

The next plan for me is that I’m going to be touring Australia and New Zealand and working on my record label Dirtee Stank. I have the Newham Generals signed to it so I’ll be releasing something with them. I’m recording stuff in the studio so I might even release an album.

Last year all three of my albums went Gold and it signified the end of my record deal so now it’s a whole new phase.I completed the deal and I weren’t dropped. I done more then I was expected to do and made a bit of history.

I may not always have Top 10 hits but when you come to my shows you see how my music affects people. People hold me up as a cultural icon. If you want to be in my position work hard, follow your heart, use your brain and open your eyes.

Words by Annika Allen, Pictures by Daniel Palmer


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