It's okay to imitate Dizzee Rascal's accent

Dizzee Rascal is back in New Zealand and has as much energy as ever.

The musician, whose real name is Dylan Kwabena Mills, rose to fame as a pioneer of grime music with his award-winning 2002 debut album Boy in da Corner.

Since then, he's had four number one hits in the UK, and collaborated with artists like Robbie Williams, Big Sean, Will I Am and Florence and the Machine.

Now he's here for two very special shows, headlining Splore festival in Auckland and Electric Avenue in Christchurch.

He's been a regular visitor to New Zealand since 2003, although he can't remember if he's been to the South Island before.

"I feel like it's a privilege to come all the way," he told The Project. "It's like the furthest point you can get from England. 

"It's wicked that I get to come here and people check for my music."

His biggest Kiwi hit was 2009's 'Bonkers', which he says he's "definitely sick" of people singing to him almost a decade later.

He gave The Project a helpful definition of grime, the genre that emerged in London in the early 2000s.

"It's a sound system culture. It's a branch off of hip-hop, but with different influences sound-wise. Up in England, we grew up with drum and bass music and UK garage, as well as listening to American hip-hop. 

"Me personally, I love the dance hall stuff, which is really big now, but at the time, it was called 'crunk'. Today everyone calls it 'trap', but it's the same thing basically. 

"So it's a mix of all those things." 

Famous for his thick London accent, he told Kanoa Lloyd "of course" it's okay to imitate his unique voice when singing his songs.  

"If you feel it that much, then do it, man."

Growing up, the musician was faced with a rough environment that threatened to derail his dream of creating music, a passion he "can't even imagine" living without.

"That's all I wanted to do," he said. "I know you hear a lot of people say 'music saved me from a life of crime', but it didn't save me, I saved myself. 

"I wanted to do music that much. I didn't want to be anything else, basically."

He survived being stabbed when he was 18, which guest host Patrick Gower was keen to hear about.

"There's a few different feelings," the musician recalled.

"Pain would be the main one - regret, shame, anger."

He has no plans to stop performing to packed-out crowds any time soon.

"I just wonder if I'll get to, like, 60, how I'm still going to be jumping around like that. I hope it never ends."



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