D Double E has been in the grime game for over a decade, first as part of the N.A.S.T.Y. Crew and then with the Newham Generals. The man behind last year’s nostalgic “Street Fighter Riddim” returns with his first solo EP, Bluku! Bluku! Released on Dizzee Rascal’s vanity label Dirtee Stank, the EP finds D Double E making his mark, mostly on the strength of its title track.
“Bluku! Bluku!” is everything that’s right about the grime resurgence, matching upstart producer S-X with two MCs vicious enough to take one his lethal beats for a ride. D Double’s rallying cry “bluku bluku” is an anthem onto itself. A revitalized Dizzee Rascal, with his first true grime bars in years, returns from the electro-rap wilderness and can’t help but stealing the spotlight (from one of his idols, no less).
D Double E has the irreverence of a battle-ready freestyler and a distinct, nearly nasal voice. His couplets are simultaneously (and paradoxically) carefully articulated and chewed and spit out. Yet the remainder of the EP has trouble matching the infectious nature of the title track.
D Double’s grime swagger dominates the lyrics. On “Lyrical Farda,” he challenges the listener to “name an MC that spit harder;” on “Put Your Money On It” he’s a “lyrical heavyweight like an elephant.” The latter pumps out some critical sub-bass waves, but lacks a hook. The same problem plagues “Let It Blow,” nearly wasting its death rattle synths.
“Be Like Me” dips its toe in the crossover pool, without sacrificing its grimey urgency. Fueled by a sparse dubstep click track, the song features Dirtee Stank prodigy Smurfie Syco on the auto-tuned hook. The lush, throwback jungle of the Toddla T-produced “Flava” is a surprisingly good pairing for a D Double lust song, but it’s not as surprising as the brutal D-n-B breakdown where lust gets a little rapey (“wanna cock back and pull my trigger / get straight up in her liver”).
The EP closes with the pure dubstep of the run-from-the-cops “Catch Me If You Can,” a track that proves D Double E can slow down and tell stories, too. As the final “catch me if you can” rings out, it’s evident that it’s not just a chorus – it’s a challenge to every grime MC in the UK.