“It’s far more acutely-fashioned to tap into a subliminal and often not-so-subliminal critique about society than it first appears”
Digital Release: August 5, 2012
Physical Release: N/A
Few people ever manage to turn doe-eyed optimism and wild ambitions into a musical form that’s actually likeable, especially in the field of staunchly home-grown US hip-hop. But if Rizzle Kicks teach us one thing, it’s how hip-hop’s comparatively whimsical cousin, Brit-hop, extricates itself from the norm. In fact, very little in terms of theme connect the two. Important life lessons and broken homes become complaints about missing the bus or not having any milk in the morning; street violence and drug warfare turns into who stole who’s iPad and questionable fashion sense, and songs that usually feature outlandish bravado, spinning off hotly anticipated accomplishments awaiting up-and-coming stars who’ve risen out of the rubble against music industry adversary and conformity pressure dissolve into hyperactive, blue-skies imaginings of two men who, even at the age of twenty, still refuse to let go of their childhood dreams.
That might sound like a bad thing, and sure, it would be if Rizzle Kicks weren’t fully equipped with a pop know-how and musical charm that you simply can’t teach; a figurehead act for tag-team verbal antics that spans the whole of their début LP ‘Stereo Typical’, which opens with this – the sixth single to be lifted from it – ‘Dreamers’. If you never understood Rizzle Kicks beforehand, ‘Dreamers’ is the perfect catalyst to welcome you – or rather, grab you by the hand and pull you – into their world. Over a circus-esque myriad of sounds, they introduce themselves with Jordan asking the question “Do you believe us?” before Harley takes over and manages to set the wide-eyed naïveté in a single line – “I can find my place in my dreams”. The two goofballs banter their way through the song, proving themselves masters of rhythm and melody once more, with earworm vocal and melodic hooks popping out in every possible direction as the lavishly exuberant energy they both exude so effortlessly is channelled in such a way that the winking self-deprecation and overwrought campness of it all makes it damn hard not to like them, or even just smile at how easy it is for them to laugh at themselves – “Check out all the grit on my Nike’s/Delivering these lyrics like I’m big in the 90s”.
On the surface, it’s the dumbest and most frivolous music-as-music-criticism ever recorded, but it sure as hell doesn’t stop Rizzle Kicks from recognising potential for slack-jawed, eye-rolling satire that’s available when you simply point out the hypocrisy and ridiculousness of, as they demonstrated, pretty much any section of British culture; it’s a song that sounds like another foolish romp-around like ‘Mama Do The Hump’ or ‘Down With The Trumpets’, but much like the rest of the album it helms, it’s far more acutely-fashioned to tap into a subliminal and not-so-subliminal critique about society than it first appears.