"Queen Elizabeth don't know me, so how can she control me/ When I live street and she lives neat," raps British hip-hopper Dizzee Rascal on "2 Far," off his freshman CD, which won the U.K.'s prestigious Mercury Music Prize for best album last year. Hardcore rap fans in the U.S., however, are about as likely to embrace Rascal (real name: Dylan Mills) as Prince William is to go clubbing with 50 Cent. While Rascal's futuristic sound is innovative, with edgy electronica beats that can make you feel as if you're inside a video game, it doesn't come off as real, unlike his gritty rhymes. The 19-year-old, who grew up on the streets of East London, is also hard to understand at times, rhyming with a thick British accent.
To American ears, it can seem veddy proper, not what we really want from a rapper. Still, you have to give Rascal props for what is surely one of the most original discs to hit this side of the pond in some time. He may never make it big over here, but then again neither has Robbie Williams.