Amazingly, Dizzee Rascal churned out one of the most crowd-friendly sets of the day–also one of the funniest.
(left: Dizzee Rascal, maybe the only artist at this year’s Pitchfork Festival who will publicly admonish the soundman.)
It’s been a few years since I’ve seen Dizzee perform live, but in those few years he’s grown as both a performer and entertainer. Anyone familiar with his quick-fire rhyme flow knows that he’s spittin’ hundreds of words per minute, and somehow, he never runs out of breath–the kryptonite of many stateside MC’s. He does have a hypeman, Scope, but for the most part Dizzee carries most of the rhymeload on his own.
After the Fleet Foxes had finished their softer set on Stage A, Dizzee began his set on the adjacent Stage C and proclaimed, “Can you stand that folk shit? Fuck that shit!”
Fleet Foxes shouldn’t take offense, Dizzee’s tounge-in-cheek comment was basically saying in so many words, “Yeah, I’m not your typical indie band, but I’m here to do what I do, and I’m going to do it well!” Seconds later Dizzee scolded the soundman, “C’mon, what kind of festival is this? Turn that music up!” Once again, Dizzee being Dizzee.
Later in the set, Dizzee even poked fun at his thick East London accent by explaining, “You may not understand a word I say, but by the end of today you’ll all know my name.” Dizzee plucked the best songs from his catalog (“Jezebel,” “Jus a Rascal,” “Where’s Da G’s,” “Sirens,” “Fix Up Look Sharp”) and throughout his set had the indie-minded crowd tossing their hands in the sky and participating in all of his call and responses.
I can’t tell you how many hip-hop shows I’ve been to lately, where I’ve been told to make noise and wave my hands from side-to-side, but for some reason when Dizzee requested today, I was able to do it without hesitation. Unlike many MC’s, he actually made me believe that he wanted to hear my “oi’s” and see my arms wave in unison with his.