Grimewatch: Tinchy Stryder vs Dizzee Rascal

This article is from 2010.

Grimewatch: Tinchy Stryder vs Dizzee Rascal

Two of the biggest names in British music compared

In anticipation of their appearances on the Fringe’s Edge Festival, Nicola Meighan puts two of the biggest names in British music head to head

Real name:

Dizzee Rascal: Dylan Mills
Tinchy Stryder: Kwasi Danquah

Reason for nickname:

DR: A teacher first called him ‘rascal’ during his fairly adventurous schooldays
TS: His diminutive height (5’1) and his command of the computer game, Strider

Date of birth:

DR: 1 October 1985
TS: 10 June 1986

Place of birth:

DR: London
TS: Ghana

Grew up:

DR: Bow, East London
TS: Bow, East London

Started making music:

DR: Age 14
TS: Age 13

Grime apprenticeship:

DR: Self-produced single, ‘I Luv U’, age 16. Teenage pirate radio DJ. Sidewinder Award for Best Newcomer MC 2002. Member of Roll Deep crew 2002–2003
TS: Linchpin of the Ruff Sqwad collective. Teenage pirate radio DJ. Starred on Roll Deep’s Street Anthems compilation with ‘U Were Always’

Notable mentors:

DR: Wiley
TS: Wiley

Record labels:

DR: XL Records and his own record company, Dirtee Stank
TS: Takeover, Island and Takeover Roc Nation (with Jay-Z)

Albums released:

DR: Boy in Da Corner (2003), Showtime (2004), Maths + English (2007), Tongue N’ Cheek (2009)
TS: Star in the Hood (2007), Catch 22 (2009), Third Strike (scheduled for release in November 2010)

Chart achievements:

DR: Number 1 singles: ‘Dance Wiv Me’, ‘Bonkers’, ‘Holiday’, ‘Dirtee Disco’, ‘Shout’
TS: Number 1 singles: ‘Number 1’, ‘Never Leave You’. 2009’s best-selling UK solo artist

Awards / nominations:

DR: Awards include: Mercury Music Prize (2003), Best UK Male (MOBO Awards 2008), Best UK Male Solo Artist (Brits 2010)
TS: Nominations include: Best UK Act, Best Song and Best Album (MOBO Awards 2009), Best Single (Brits 2010)

The accolade that got away:

DR: The coveted Popjustice £20 Music Prize for best pop single 2008: he was nominated for ‘Dance Wiv Me’, but lost out to Girls Aloud
TS: The coveted Popjustice £20 Music Prize for best pop single 2009: he was nominated for ‘Take Me Back’, but lost out to Girls Aloud

Celebrity fans:

DR: Prince Harry
TS: Jay-Z, P Diddy


DR: Florence + The Machine, Calvin Harris, James Corden, Basement Jaxx
TS: N-Dubz, Amelle Berrabah (Sugababes), Taio Cruz, Gang Gang Dance

What the press said:

DR: ‘Some accuse Dizzee of selling out. Better to think of him as a natural storyteller whose scope has widened as his audience has grown’ (Guardian)
TS: ‘If grime was the football world, Tinchy Stryder would be like your Michael Owens and Wayne Rooneys of today’ (Independent)

Best headline to date:

DR: ‘Rapper held in bat probe’ (BBC). On further investigation, however, this article did not concern a hitherto repressed chiropteran fetish, but rather an object more cricket-related
TS: ‘Tinchy Stryder: Rapping with the Lib Dems’ (Guardian). Stryder’s early career was bankrolled by his manager’s father, Norman Lamb MP, who remortgaged his home to drum up funds

Most prescient lyric:

DR: ‘I'm gonna search for big money stacks, top 10s and platinum whacks’. Seven years after its release, Dizzee Rascal’s objectives in ‘Jus’ a Rascal’ have been clearly achieved: Tongue N’ Cheek was recently certified platinum. He’s had eight top 10s. Money stacks, we guess, prevail
TS: ‘You’re number one, in the race, you’re the leader’. Stryder’s hit in cahoots with N-Dubz was the first chart-topper to make actual reference to the phrase ‘number one’ in its title, thus succeeding where the likes of Goldfrapp, Sparks, Garbage, Nelly and Sleater-Kinney had previously failed

Potential alternative careers:

DR: Newsnight presenter: he put Jeremy Paxman to shame on an excruciating Obama special that saw Paxo call him ‘Mr Rascal’. Or Prime Minister: if he ran the country, he once claimed, he’d campaign for ‘more strip clubs, better takeaway food and no congestion charge in London’
TS: Footballer: he played for the Wimbledon Youth Team. Or graphic artist: last year, he completed a BA in Moving Image and Animation at the University of East London. Or fashion designer: his Star in the Hood street clothing company launched last year to international acclaim


DR: Steaks, summertime, female companionship
TS: Diana Vickers, watches, Manchester United


DR: Camping at festivals
TS: Camping at festivals

Pearls of wisdom:

DR: ‘If you’re going to work, you should follow your heart; nothing in life is easy, so it might as well be what you want’
TS: ‘It’s important for me to show that black males aren’t all about looking threatening and robbing your granny’

Dizzee Rascal

Squawking young garage MC who combines the sublime and the ridiculous in his progressive music and has scored some huge hits with 'Bonkers', 'Holiday' and 'Dance Wiv Me'.

Tinchy Stryder

The Ghana-born, London-based musician takes his albums of grime on the road.

Tinchy Stryder

A seasoned MC on the grime and London pirate radio scene, Tinchy Stryder is one of the UK's upcoming pop rap stars playing at this year's Edge Festival. Now with three hit singles under his belt, he moved to East London from Ghana at a young age and soon became involved with the grime scene, working with Wiley and…

Dizzee Rascal

Dizzee Rascal is one of the country's most well-known rappers, and has also firmly established himself in the world of pop and dance following last year's hit 'Dance Wiv Me' collaboration with Calvin Harris. From his beginnings in the underground scene, Dizzee Rascal has reached mainstream appeal through his catchy…

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