D Double E-bio
‘The Greatest Grime MC of All Time’, ‘the most legendary Grime MC’ and ‘the MC’s MC.’ These are titles that could only have been bestowed upon one person; an MC of such high calibre that he was voted top 10 in MTV UK’s ‘Hottest MC’s of 2010’ poll and is acclaimed as being one of the most innovative and influential figures on the UK Underground for over a decade.
That MC is of course, the one and only D Double E.
D Double E was born Darren Dixon in Forest Gate, East London and thanks to his parents, was exposed to a variety of Bashment, Reggae and Rap music from a young age. However, it wasn’t until Jungle exploded in the mid 90’s that the youngster took a personal interest in music, buying his own Jungle records and mixing them on a friends’ decks.
Fascinated by this new, home-grown Black dance music, DEE spat Bashment and Rap vocals learned years earlier over the riddims, emulating Jungle stars like General Levy and Shabba. Little did he know that these fun and frivolous sessions with his cousins and friends would become the bedrock of his music career.
Becoming more confident and adept with the microphone, DEE started to write his own lyrics, two of which – “If you-you, you-you/ wanna come against I-I, I-I” and “Me nah ramp/ me nah skin” – have become two of his most renowned bars. Gaining notoriety amongst his peers, a mere three years on from buying his first Jungle records, D Double E had become a fully-fledged Drum ‘n’ Bass/Jungle MC.
Linking up with school-friend Terror Danjah, an established Jungle DJ on pirate station Rinse FM, DEE was able to side-step the mass-migration to vocal Garage at the turn of the century and continue doing what he loved. As feminine pressure in Garage peaked, a glut of new bass-driven riddims caught DEE’s ear. These early riddims provided the catalyst from which Grime would eventually emerge.
Through fellow artist Jamakabi, DEE met producer Jammer and began recording in his famous basement studio, sparking a kinship that would culminate in the formation of 187 Crew, alongside MC Hyper and Ebony J. Although they endeavoured to make music, personal differences took hold and 187 quietly disbanded.
However, living in East London, a hotbed of MC talent and Grime activity, it wasn’t long before DEE Jammer and Hyper were extended an invitation to join another unit, NASTY Crew, who had already been building a fearsome reputation on the pirate radio airwaves. Flanked by a dozen fellow MC’s, DEE revelled in the Crews’ rising profile, feeding from the group competitiveness to write some of his best material.
It was on the pirate radio circuit where he met Footsie, another former Jungle MC and Grime producer from Forest Gate, who he later introduced to the NASTY fold.
The NASTY bookings rolled in, and for the first time DEE could see how much impact his music was making nationally. His distinctive ‘echo’ vocal style soon became a focal point in NASTY, and crowds would light up in anticipation of his turn on the mic, earning him a reputation as being one of the most formidable live MC’s in the Grime scene. A reputation that still holds strong today.
Demand for his vocals rocketed and 2004 saw DEE collaborate with The Streets, Kano, Shola Ama, Dizzee Rascal and Lethal Bizzle, whose top 20 smash, ‘POW!’ exposed him to mainstream audiences for the first time. When NASTY split under internal pressures, DEE, along with Footsie, Monkstarr and DJ Tubby formed a new group, the Newham Generals.
Free from the ensuing chaos of the NASTY break up, the Newham Generals concentrated on their Rinse FM radio show and releases, of which ‘Prangman’ ‘Frontline’ and DEE’s solo effort ‘Signal’ were declared instant classics, each receiving heavy radio rotation. Hype built around their debut album release, and in 2006 they signed to Dizzee Rascal’s Dirtee Stank imprint.
Keen to expand their musical horizons, the Generals took to the tour bus to support Dizzee on his worldwide tour, working intermittently on their anticipated debut album ‘Generally Speaking.’ Halfway through recording, Monkstarr left, and so DEE and Footsie went back to the drawing board, interpolating their touring experiences with Dizzee for a much harder sound.
Released to much critical acclaim in April 2009, ‘Generally Speaking’ was the platform that launched the Newham Generals into orbit. Its’ exciting fusion of Grime, Electro, Rave and Hip Hop attracted new audiences and Newham Generals were soon performing at festivals across the globe. Their Dubstep smash ‘Hard’, produced by Shy FX protégé Breakage, support slot on Dizzee Rascal’s ‘Tongue ‘N’ Cheek’ tour and appearance at T4’s ‘On The Beach’ festival towards the tail-end of 2009 book-ended what had been a fantastic year for the Generals.
2010 saw no let up in work rate as both DEE and Footsie vocalled respective versions of S-X’s huge ‘Woooo Riddim.’ DEE’s version ‘Bad to the Bone’ decimated raves and radio, leaving the other MC versions for dust and producers once again clamoured for a D Double collaboration. KISS FM’s DJ Swerve caught DEE’s ear with a Dubstep-tinged beat that sampled a certain CapCom computer classic. ‘Street Fighter Riddim’ was born.
With its’ catchy character-referencing bars and clever wordplay, ‘Street Fighter Riddim’ blazed up Augusts’ charts and radio schedules, earning DEE his biggest solo hit yet. Mainstream TV and Radio audiences alike were transfixed by this MC’s charismatic flows and vocal nuances, prompting a massive performance at Notting Hill, a European tour, and widespread anticipation for his solo debut.
The creation of Bluku Bluku TV, DEE’s inimitable YouTube show, grants fans precious behind-the-scenes access to his life both in the studio and on the road. Seven episodes deep, the show has grown a wide and loyal following since its launch in August 2010, testament to DEE’s charisma and talent.
The ‘Bluku Bluku E.P.’, on sale later at the end of July, will undoubtedly demand yet more attention for the veteran MC as he puts the finishing touches to his as yet untitled solo album, scheduled for a 2012 release. After what has seemed like an age, D Double E, with his unique vocal style that has been instrumental in exposing international audiences to Dubstep and Grime, looks set for stardom.