When it comes to being a pioneer of the game for 20 plus years, D Double E is the man that makes it look easy. Despite the fact that Grime has evolved a long way since then, D Double E has not only stayed relevant, but remained a constant throughout all of its evolutions. Double E’s mentality has showcased the importance of being persistent and staying true to your sound as an artist.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane to the early 2000s, where D Double E entered the game and helped to birth Grime. Even in the early stages, D Double E was seen as a veteran, recognised by the likes of Wiley and Dizzie. This period marks not only Grime’s inception but the discovery of the sound. Rather than it being a business venture, the early days were about pushing the genre and creating awareness of its existence.
D Double E’s pivotal role as part of the Newham Generals, showcased that the genre was not just a group of musicians, but a family unit. Right from the beginning, D Double made clear that being successful was not about competing, but about supporting other artists. As a man who could write books on the genre, it’s no wonder he was a very well deserved winner of GRM’s legacy award in 2018!
D Double E also provided fresh originality to Grime by connecting the dots between sound aesthetic and character. Establishing his own label Bluku Music in 2009, which came with a great amount of acclaim and also saw the release of tracks “Street Fighter Riddim” and “That’s How I Like It”. The arrival also unveiled the debut of D Double E’s iconic ad- lips like ‘Bu Da Bup Bup’ and ‘Bluku Bluku’. D Double’s instantly recognisable flows showcase his unique identity, something which is paramount if you wish to maintain longevity in an industry awash with carbon copies.
Fast forward a few years, and it’s 2018. This was a big year not only for Double E’s fans, but the genre itself – as it came with the long-awaited arrival of Jackuum! When exploring the meaning behind the album’s title, D Double E explained to fans that it’s definition means “to reload”. The project showcases how to cook up a recipe for success, projecting a signature style through iconic ad-libs and catchy bars specially made apparent in tracks; “Dem Man Dere”, “Nang” (which features Skepta) and “Better Than The Rest”.
D Double E has been making history outside of the genre, in ways which we would never have expected. In 2019 he teamed up with Swedish brand IKEA, to create a soundtrack for their Christmas advert. Just like when Snoop Dog took on Just Eat, Double E’s appearance saw him breaking into the mainstream, without sacrificing his integrity. This marked the first time the genre had featured in seasonal advertisements. More recently, D Double E can be heard providing his iconic voice to Camden Hells, in their recent Christmas advert. Even when D Double E isn’t duppying sets or setting the stage alight, the ripples of his influence can still be felt far and wide.
Naturally of course, D Double E feels most at home when he’s making music. D Double E certainly has a case that he has some of the best verses of all time. From “Street Fighter Riddim” where he rhymes about brands Honda and Dyson to “Better Than The Rest”. Despite Grime forming a path into the mainstream, D Double E’s verses reflect the artist’s desire to stay true to his sound and character. Of course, this is most evident with 2019 release “Fresh N Clean” which blends the artist’s classic ad-libs with a catchy rhythm whilst also telling the story of the state of a woman’s messy home.
Another project that proved he was not going to disappear off the radar anytime soon was D.O.N, which stands for “Double or Nothing”, released in 2020 just before the artist’s 40th birthday. On the album, he teams up with a roster of artists including; Splurgeboys, Ms Banks, Giggs, Ghetts and JME. When expressing to fans why the body of work was so “long-awaited” he explained that doing things differently was the key to “maintaining a legacy” he says “I’ve always had an album, but no one’s been ready to hear it as one collective body of work. Putting out an album shows a legacy”.
D Double E is still the man to prove how to sell out without selling out. Despite the longevity of his career, he recently took to Twitter to announce his December tour which marks an exciting milestone for the artist, being the first time he has toured the UK. The tour will take place in cities across the country including; Bristol, Leeds, Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, and London. The artist, who recently tweeted that he is now in “tour mode”, has also announced Novelist, a musician he had a significant role in the growth of, as his special guest.
It’s no surprise that D Double E’s success in staying authentic and original has led to notable figures like Skepta recognising him as “the greatest of all time”. With his catchy, yet creative flows and the influence that he has had over the growth of Grime over the last twenty years, he leaves a legacy that can never be touched.