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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 September, 2003, 13:21 GMT 14:21 UK
Mercury result 'boosts' black music
Dizzee Rascal
Dizzee Rascal won for his debut album, Boy In Da Corner
Rapper Dizzee Rascal's victory at this year's Mercury Music Prize should help more underground black artists get recognised, industry experts have said.

Rascal, 19, beat high-profile groups like Coldplay to the 20,000 prize.

"It means other young black artists out there no longer need to be afraid to be original," Derren Lawford from the BBC's digital radio station 1Xtra said.

"I hope it does encourage record labels to invest in young British black talent - there is so much of it out there."

Rascal, real name Dylan Mills, from east London, picked up the prize for his debut album, Boy In Da Corner, on Tuesday.

He is the second winner in a row to emerge from London's underground urban music scene after Ms Dynamite won in 2002.

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Rascal said in his acceptance speech: "Remember to support British talent - because it is there."

But major record companies have been afraid to back young urban artists for many years, Mr Lawford told BBC News Online.

"I would like to think that this would make record companies look at the ways that they are searching for new talent and think, 'maybe we should be giving more British black music a chance.'"

Rascal stood out from the start because his sound was so distinctive, Mr Lawford said.

"Normally, artists can be punished for that - but on this occasion, Dizzee has actually been rewarded for his individuality."

Ms Dynamite
Ms Dynamite also came up through the underground music scene
But the MC would not be intimidated by the attention or pressure of success, Mr Lawford added.

"I really don't think it's going to faze him. He seems like the kind of person who is hell-bent on just doing his thing - and that's making music.

"He says it's not about the glitz and glamour - and you get the feeling that he means it."

The Daily Telegraph's music critic Neil McCormick agreed that Rascal's triumph would give momentum to the urban scene.

"It really means something to this artist, and it will mean something to this community of artists because it's British hip-hop," he told BBC News 24.

Most British hip-hop is just copied from the United States, he said - but Rascal is "very English".

He will get a lot of media attention - I just hope he's not frightened by it
Eva Simpson
Daily Mirror
"What I think it will do for the community of British rappers and hip-hop is to give them a boost and bring them a little bit more attention."

But Rascal's music may be "too difficult to be mass market", he said.

"I don't think he's going to do a Ms Dynamite and sell all over the world - but if people in this country notice him, then it's a worthwhile thing."

Eva Simpson of the Daily Mirror's 3AM showbiz column said the award could push Rascal's album to number one, and he is likely to be treated well by the media.

"He will get a lot of media attention - I just hope he's not frightened by it," she told BBC News Online.

"He's not the kind of guy who goes to nightclubs or who's likely to go out with other pop stars, so he probably won't get into our column that much."

Dizzee Rascal
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09 Sep 03  |  Entertainment


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