Best British Male Artist:
Britain doesn’t have an urban scene, which is why the MOBO awards each year become a self-mocking bed of seething anger. For some reason, even though Britain has the musical talent to back it up (Sway, Wiley… Jamelia (in honesty, I’m not very knowledgeable about British urban music myself, proving that even the most brilliant of pop-culture curators can become part of the problem)) there is very little interest amongst the general public, in regards to supporting and listening to the acts. Instead, America has the monopoly on the market here. Yeah, a cynical industry pumping out act after act with little interest in anything apart from branding has somehow captured the hearts and minds of the British public, which is a rather damning indictment on our modern culture. Identikit artists like Usher/Ne-Yo/Chris Brown, or Ciara/Amerie/Rihanna frequently make a quick dash to the top of our charts, and each time they do the collective soul of the nation fragments a little deeper. It’s been happening for years now, which is why when we reached Summer the hope that a British urban act could ever make it to the top of the charts and be commercially successful without sacrificing their credibility… well, it was almost completely gone.
Earlier on, and perhaps this was in 2007, a young man called Calvin Harris appeared and released an album which was pretty popular with the UK – he was a white record producer who decided to make his own album, and after finding success he moved on to produce for people like, to name the most famous example, Kylie Minogue. That’s not particularly important, but it does lead us on to Mr Dizzee Rascal, who somehow managed to buck the American trend and stomped on the shiny, shiny faces of all those artists who mean nothing. Dizzee is a rapper, and he made it to number one. It was shocking, and surprising, and fantastic. He couldn’t have done it without Calvin Harris, but you wouldn’t know that from seeing his triumphant, jubilatory performances on just about every TV channel imaginable. Granted he didn’t appear to release any other songs, and lord knows if there was an album behind it or not, but Dizzee Rascal became a legend that fateful summer. A legend which only increased in power once he got onto Newsnight and spoke with Jeremy Paxman. It was a magical moment.
Awarded to: Dizzee Rascal