Believe it or not, last week Dizzee Rascal marked 20 years since his legendary album Boy in da Corner came to life in an East London school’s music room. Dizzee Rascal’s music teacher at the time, Tim Smith, allowed him to spend his time there as he kept getting kicked out of other classes. Before either of them knew it, a project that was going to mark at least four generations, become a main pillar of the grime era and influence the UK sound for the next two decades was born under the symbolic name of Boy in da Corner.
The timeless record aged finer than wine and it seems to steadily become stronger with every year that goes by. The sold-out show at the O2 Arena last week only proved the power that this album holds as not only it filled up 20,000 seats but it also brought together a mix of people of all age groups and cultural backgrounds – from 12-year-olds who came with their parents to groups of baby boomers who came together to enjoy a futuristic version of what resembled the good old days. Besides the pristine sound and raw energy it holds, Boy in da Corner has the power to bring four different generations under one roof and make them enjoy themselves in perfect harmony.
The era that this masterpiece represents was portrayed beautifully by the intricate stage production that created a time bubble and teleported everyone in the early 2000s – from packed tower blocks to bright yellow screens that resembled the Boy in da Corner album cover, the audience was instantly sucked in Dizzee Rascal’s universe.
The iconic night was filled with special moments and guest appearances from the likes of the grime generals of BBK who delivered energetic renditions of their legendary hits, creating crowd waves that saw millennials and gen X jumping up together. Prior to that, the audience was warmed up by no other than Backroad Gee, Lady Leshurr, JME and One Acen, who skilfully prepared the arena for what was about to become an unforgettable experience.
Dizzee Rascal’s Boy in da Corner 20th anniversary is testimony to the weight it holds in the history of UK music as a staple project that continues to influence the sound of British rap and effortlessly move masses in the form of mosh pits with the same energy it did in the early 2000s.
Photo Credit: Anthony Saul Photography