Boy In Da Corner
Released: Jul 2003
One of the 00s' unlikeliest success stories, grime pioneer Dizzee Rascal came up spitting on pirate stations in London's projects before winning the Mercury for his debut album, Boy in Da Corner, and proving that U.K. hip-hop was no oxymoron. Bashed out on PlayStations, his chillingly sparse, bass-heavy beats sound like George Clinton knifing Kraftwerk in an elevator, and his raps are just as ominous. Drawing from daily life, his knotty barbed-wire yarns combine braggadocio with doubt; his cracked adolescent squawk is one of hip-hop's most believable -- and likable -- voices.