Grime’s Court Jester D Double E – *ALBUM REVIEW* Jackuum!

By Cammy Thomas

The unstoppable juggernaut that is the mainstream media (MSM), rolls towards the head of the courtroom to hear the jury’s verdicts. As the judge’s rusty wheels squeak towards the bench it turns to the prosecution – the Daily Fail, and gives a sly smile. The defendant is already in the dock screw facing the judge, slouched, hoodie pulled low. Disgusted at the sight before it judge mainstream media bellows, “GRIME!! How dare you make a mockery of MY court with your utter contempt for authority, “SIT UP STRAIGHT!” but grime refuses to listen and remains in the exact same position, defiantly challenging the status quo. As judge MSM towers over its bench, its mechanical form inhuman, monstrous and hulking, snarls in the direction of the defendant’s witnesses – the staunch girls of grime and the devoted youth, they glare back; unflinching. “ALL RISE!!!” To the judges dismay, Grime does not stand up as ordered, but instead raises an arm aloft and begins to make gun finger salutes! Such was its anger, judge MSM’s mechanical skeleton began to rust with rage. Its mechanics whirred in the direction of the 12 members of the jury – the punk veterans, half of whom could see their origins reflected in their baby cousin; Grime, and half who could not.

The more enraged MSM became, its scalextric like skeleton began to shudder as the steel structure became disjointed and twisted out of shape. “YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO!!” the judge roared at the punk veterans expecting them to find grime guilty. It was at that moment the eerily playful music often heard on the carousel at the fairground, floated into court as a tall slim man dressed in a half green and half yellow costume, with black winkle pickers adorned with bells at the feet began to shuffle into court on his hands! An orange and purple cap sat at a tilted angle decorating his precisely shaped high top. The curious stranger juggled multi-coloured pom poms with his feet, the jingle of bells rang out with an echo. The court jester then began to swap his balance from one hand to the other, as though he were skipping on his hands as he shouted, “Its MEEE MEEE uhhhh uhhhh. dirt-tee tee” to the bemused counsel of the court…

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D Double E and his fresh shape n fade!

D Double E. Former N.A.S.T.Y crew member and current member of Newham generals alongside fellow MC; Footsie, is the court jester of grime, with his comical voices, infamous and instantly quotable adlibs and more charisma than Will Smith at his 50th birthday bungee jump! D Double E is the embodiment of Grime’s class clown, with the addition of extra sharp wit and intellect, which he displayed on the mic during early De Ja Vu radio sets circa 2002. So royal is D Double E’s reload status, It is slightly perplexing that one of the most skilled and lyrically athletic MC’s in the game, took over a decade to release his debut album. One could argue that he was so busy slewin’ his opponents on pirate radio, M.C-ing on almighty ‘Woo riddim’ for ‘Bad to the bone’, ‘Street fighter riddim’ and ‘Hard’, or blessing his friends projects with charismatic features, such as Skepta’s ‘Ladies Hit squad’ and Chips’ sentimental ‘scene’; that there’s a fair chance he was waiting for the right moment to give the mental commitment to a full length solo project. It’s quite possible D Double E wanted to give his fans the best body of work, and we all know you cannot rush greatness.

In keeping with D Double’s’ expert comedic timing, his debut album ‘Jackuum’ opens with D Double E being interviewed by a posh middle class elderly lady at ‘Jackuum FM.’ The ‘interviewer’ approaches dizzying levels of delirium at the mere presence of D double E in the studio! As its D Double E voicing the character it makes it twice as hilarious when the character states in a Hyacinth Bouquet plummy accent, “Oh my GOSH, this is ridiculous. I’m ACTUALLY blushing”, after D double’ delivers a BLUKU! at her request. It took me at least 20 minutes to move past the hilarity of the intro alone!

Only 30 seconds into the creepy horrorcore instrumental of first track, ‘Bark it’ where D Double’ exclaims “A wah di bludclart, a wah di ratid.” I found myself inexplicably wanting to put the hurt on people annoying me that day, armed with only a peanut lion choccy bar! There are plenty of ‘rollin in the whip with your mandem, bally on, hoodie low, sh!ts about to go down on the estate’ tracks on this album; such as ‘Lookman’, ‘Trippin’ and ‘Money back’ (which has D double E spittin’ in patois for the whole track, and I’m sure I clocked a sample of The Beatles classic song ‘Yesterday’ as the track closes!!) The Skepta assisted ‘Nang’ also makes an appearance. All of these tracks allow you to indulge in your dark side, and had me convinced D Double E raided Sin City’s weaponry storage unit in an army tank to prepare himself for Halloween!

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D Double E contemplating whether he’s got time to stop off at Jackuum FM for some bourbon biccies and peppermint tea!!

Of the road rap / Halloween horror tracks on the album the Swifta Beater produced blockbuster, ‘Flatmate’ is a standout as D Double’ is at his reckless best, running through ends with no f*cks to give threatening to “Come to your yard and your flat mate, lick down you and your flatmate, can’t get away ‘cos your tyre’s flat mate, I done it what you gonna do about that mate?’ The complete disregard D Double E displays on this track is thrilling, and his villainous goading of his victims compliments Swifta’s’ production, adding to the adrenaline rush of D Double’s bars. I’m on the verge of handing in my notice at work to offer my services as D Double E’s getaway driver!

‘Better than the rest’ featuring Wiley, is the wickedly braggadocio track we’ve come to expect from our grime MC’s. It’s unapologetic in its cockimness and arrogance and it’s brilliant. The first words Wiley utters “I’m the best MC” gassed me fully as it’s always a treat for any grime head to hear two originators join forces as you know what you are about to hear is going to be a gift to the ears. I didn’t think it could get any better until Wiley delivered the GENIUS bar “I’m a Dallas, Falcon crest MC”, I nearly fell off my chair in disbelief that these titan soap operas which were the first of their kind in the 1980’s, got name checked on a grime album! With one bar, Wiley had transported me back to my childhood, sat by my mum’s feet as she obsessed over the dons from ‘Dallas.’

A sentimental moment on ‘Jackuum!’ is the inclusion of a conversation between D Double E and Stormin (R.I.P), with Stormin asking how D’ keeps his high top looking so fresh. It is a touching moment honouring Stormin’s memory, and leads us smoothly into the track ‘Back in the day’ with D Double reminiscing how we used to watch TOTP and listen to Busta Rhymes before he cut off his locs. The monster riddim ‘Schoolin’ has a rugged b-line with computer bleeps provided by Sir Spyro, as D Double flexes his lyrical prowess over the powerful beat. The 1990’s tinged rap ballad ‘Live Tonight’, serves as a part 2 to ‘Ladies hit squad’ from Skepta’s Konnichwa album, as it encompasses similar elements with its smoochy vibe and plinky plonky keyboard riffs. Listening to the track reminded me of the classic ‘I need love’ by LL Cool J, who D Double E coincidently name checks on the following track ‘Special Delivery’, which has a distinct West Coast flavour; and could pass as the results of a studio sesh with Dr. Dre. A highlight on ‘Special delivery’ is D Double E drawling in a comedic voice “I’m a lion in the jungle, and you’re just a snail.’ Swifta Beata reappears on ‘Jackuum!’ to supply his movie magic on the blockbuster production ‘Shenanigans’, which feels like a relentless, espionage sting operation with a flurry of horns surrounding D Double’s bars.

D Double E has proven time and time again he is a master of merkin the mic, as he says himself “I didn’t come to merk you; I merk.” It’s what we come to expect from him which makes it a welcome surprise when D’ slows it right down to reflect, the way he does on ‘Natural organic’ ft. AJ Tracey. D Double E makes it clear “All my enemies I don’t pally” and he’s “Out for the wealth, just trying to better myself, tryna have good health.” AJ Tracey then saunters in with too much sauce, like he just came from relaxing in a sauna, to drop his laid back yet self-assured bars. The final track on ‘Jackuum!’, ‘Lyrical hypnosis’ is a track to smoke to or have a candle lit bath to, as D Double’ becomes our “Lyrical hypnotist in the mist” as he laments on the pivotal points of his journey so far, to get to where he is today. He divulges there have been times he has been unsure of which direction to take next, but somehow finds the motivation to carry on. The chilled out track serves as guidance for any upcoming MC looking for inspiration. The faded guitar in the backdrop of the track gives it a unique twist.

Apart from the two almighty Swifta beater and Sir Spyro produced tracks, ‘Flatmate’ ‘Shenanigans’, ‘Schoolin’ and the epic, ‘Way back when’ featuring Wiley, Ok the whole darn album is fire in all honesty; I have to give special shouts to the splurge boys foot to the floor skankers anthem ‘Dem Man Dere’ this track is for the day one grime heads who want to skank until sunrise, squinting as the sun hits them square between the eyes as they exit the rave wondering how they are going to get home. D Double E’s skippy flow over the murky riddim, accelerates the gassage levels on this immense track, making ‘Dem Man Dere’ a heavy rotation banger in my Spotify playlist. I’ve even had daily dance offs with my own reflection to its HEAVY riddim.

D Double E has succeeded in creating a complete and varied body of work which sees him shine as a solo artist as he invites us to explore his musical tastes. But what of our jury, the punk vets sat solemnly in court? Through tears of laughter brought about by the court jesters endearing antics, the presiding juror proclaims “We hereby find the defendant, Grime, GUILTY…of unifying generations, races, and cultures. Possessing innovation, creativity and courage delivered in a package of confidence and resilience. What say you?” “BLUKU BLUKU!”, was the court’s unanimous response.

*LISTEN* to ‘Jackuum!’ below