Dizzee Rascal has been named the Mercury Prize winner of 2003.
The prize of £20,000 is one of the most prestigious in the music industry.
Judges had to choose from albums by 12 acts - including eight debuts - for the award at the 12th annual ceremony in London.
The shortlist covered diverse styles such as rock, garage, soul, jazz and folk.
Dizzee Rascal's prize winning album, Boy In Da Corner combines stark urban lyrics with experimental beats.
Did Dizzee Rascal deserve to win? Is the Mercury Music award a worthwhile prize?
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
Hmmmmm..., nothing against garage, which I think is the most exciting thing to happen in pop for ages, BUT I get the feeling that the judges are in danger of being Turnerised a la "Emperor-new-clothes". This is always a problem when the judges know themselves to be distinctly less "hip" than those they are judging, and this will always happen when prizes are awarded on subjective judgement.
Connor Morrow, UK
I love rap, and hip hop, and whilst I don't see Dizzee as my particular choice of music, who are we to say if he is worthy of some recognition for his obvious hard work. After all, unless we want to try and attempt it ourselves, how can we judge?
Kelly Scott, UK
Not sure if he "deserved it" or not. All the artists were there for their accomplishments in their own fields. However being singled out as the best of the 12 is a bit far fetched. The sax of Soweto Kinch and the poetry of floetry, even the very recognisable guitar of the darkness have much more talent than his noise making machine over a layer of unrecognisable lyrics. Big bands like cold play and Radiohead surely don't need the boost and the rest are talented enough to make it on their, i guess in that sense, he did "deserve it"!
Perhaps they all deserve the prize...but unfortunately only one can get it. If it evoke emotions, brings something origin to music, and is inspiring, then well done to all of them. Though I'm a great fan of the Darkness (I love guitars!) Coldplay does it for me this year...the album is one of the best produced for a long while - nearly every track is a great one.
Michael Wong, England
Awful, just awful. Hasn't this man learnt to speak English yet? What a horrible and vulgar noise created by a totally talentless man.
I think Dizzee Rascal's selection just goes to show that the Mercury prize is NOT that prestigious and indeed meaningful. £20,000 in music industry is not a lot and having heard the album there is nothing there that shows real talent. I think this maybe just another futile attempt at political correctness. PS Coldplay's album is awesome with really talented musicians and creators.
Wow some people really DON'T understand what this award is all about - if you haven't heard of him then obviously you don't have ANY right to judge him. How can you? This is all about the music as an art form i.e. whether it pushes the genre of music. The Darkness don't do this. Dizzee did deserve to win 'cause he's doing something fresh and exciting. Music is simply sound so why isn't rap music. The argument is rubbish. Throw your preconceptions away even if you never listen to this: try and understand what makes this music attractive to some people.
I find it hard to believe some of the ludicrously ignorant comments people have made about hip hop and urban music. Why is music made with guitars any more real than electronic or rap? Of course Dizzee Rascal is a talented artist - in fact he's one of the finest rappers this country has ever produced. His album is fresh, and musically-speaking far more original and interesting than the tired old hair metal re-runs that The Darkness are peddling.
How can people say he did not deserve it because either: a) they have not heard of him, b) there were bigger bands there, c) they do not like MC'ing or the style? I detect undertones of ignorance, closed mindedness and fear. I bet they are all middle class, middle of the road and middle England. You sound like a broken record. FIX IT!
The whole point of the Mercurys as an award was illustrated beautifully yesterday.
Joel H, UK
I hadn't really heard of Dizzee before but after listening to Fix Up Look Sharp, he sounds talented. I think to judge him as a producer I'd have to listen to his album against the other entries. I mean The Darkness, Coldplay might be big bands but how original is their music? Not very. Congratulations to Dizzee.
Mercury MUSIC Prize? Rap isn't music, it's rhythm with shouting over the top of it. Ok, so occasionally there's samples of other people's music crowbarred in, but apart from that, there is little that's musical about rap.
Jon Talbot, UK
Many people have made unfair comments about Dizzee Rascal based on their own musical tastes. The judges have to take into account how good an artist is within their own genre and then compare it to how the other entrants perform within theirs. By that rationale perhaps Dizzee did deserve to win, sandwiched in among the bland chart-rock of Coldplay, the entertaining but self consciously retro glam of The Darkness, the obviousness of Radiohead and of course the persistent obscurity of the remaining entrants. Having said that do you think that he is truly representative of the massive and vibrant underground hip-hop scene in Britain? Or is he simply the one that is lucky enough to be marketed hard by his label?
Music is not athletics. It is ridiculous to pick one album over another, it's all down to personal taste. However, if Mr Rascals' music reflects the personal taste of the judges, I'm a saucepan. They are making a statement in awarding the prize to him, about being inclusive. After years of white boys with guitars from Chelmsford and Manchester, why not a black kid from London?
What is so good about the winning album? It's Poor compared to the other bands. And if people think Dizzee Rascal is highlighting social problems, check out Grandmaster Flash who did the same thing but much better in the 80s.
Since I have never heard of Dizzy, or his music, I realise how out of touch these awards are with the music buying public
Cathryn , UK
Who is he?
Definitely not! The Darkness should have won, they have talent, they're new, and fresh, they're brilliant!
This kid should have stayed in the underground 'hip-hop' scene to save the ears of those who actually have taste in music! I think it's terrible that he even got nominated in the first place.
I do not like rap music so I do not think he should have won. As far as the award is concerned - well it is just another award
I never heard from this Dizzee fella. Not saying his album maybe good but a virtual unknown against Coldplay, arguably the best album of the year so far, I don't think so.
Well done Mr. Dizzee Rascal. A very young talented black brother, credit was given where it was due. Good to hear some positive news about a young black youth.
The Mercury award is becoming the Turner prize for music. The award goes to the pile of bricks rather than the Rembrandt.
The Darkness? Original sounding? Has it escaped everyone's attention that they are essentially a rip off band? Just because the sound hasn't been heard in the mainstream for quite a while does not make it original? Dizzee, whilst not really my cup of tea, deserved to win because he is clearly a very talented musician and his album sounds fresh and new (unlike the Darkness).
Chris Allison, England
Dizzee is just one of the many examples of today's music that just doesn't come up to par. There were many, long serving bands up for the prize, that should have won it by a mile. However plastic pop appears to have won the day (again)!
I cannot comment on Dizzee's music, but I hope he uses some of the money on English lessons after hearing him burbling on the radio this morning.
I can't understand everyone's fascination with The Darkness. Back in 1988 there were DOZENS of bands like that around. You saw them on MTVs Metal Hammer and Head-bangers Ball. The good bands of that period we still like and remember (Guns N' Roses, Skid Row) the cheesy rubbish was immediately forgotten. The Darkness would have been in the latter category, I'm afraid. There's certainly nothing "fresh" or "original" about them at all. So I suppose Mr Rascal does deserve it more than them - whoever he is.
Simon Jones, UK
Seeing as most past winners fade back into obscurity and achieve very little else, I'm glad he won. The Darkness have been saved for us to enjoy in the future!
Ed Walford, Scotland
Of course he did. Anyone who was nominated deserved to win it. Don't let your fear of the unknown and/or prejudice blind you to a true talent. What's a 'real' band these days anyway? Dizzee means more to most than a glam rock outfit. At least he's original!
Coldplay should have won their alum is by far best this year! It's time the best artist gets the award. Urban music gets to much coverage, whereas people making real music are pushed to the side!
Isle of Man
I've never really set much store in the Mercury's, and with yet another undeserved winner preducing sub-standard unlistenable tosh it's going to stay that way...
Rob Lynch, Oldham, England
The Darkness deserved to win, there is too much coverage of rap, and urban music, and it's not like it's anything new or different, whereas the Darkness are!
Yes, Dizzee definitely deserved the prize, because he is the truth. There is nothing fake or manufactured about his music and he represents where he came from to the full. East London Stand Up Tall!
Rajveer Kat, England
No, he didn't deserve it. There were real bands standing for this award, and it's been given to a talentless nomark who rambles incoherently over computer generated noise. I've seen more talented street buskers. In recent years the increasing tendency to award the prize to either the most politically correct choice or obscure artists with little chance of gaining mainstream attention has turned the award into an irrelevance and a joke.
Robert Hill, England
It is no suprise that the judges went for a relative outsider - an attempt to raise this exact debate and thus raise the prize's profile?!
I used to listen to his music, but he will lose a lot of his underground hip-hop fans now due to his ever increasing pop and commercial appeal. What a shame.
No - Darkness rock .. a TOTALLY fresh sound not the same old yeah yeah yeah we hear on every other radio 1 track ....
Dave Morgan, Wales
Big up to Dizzee. Everyone in the underground scene knows he is very talented. Winning the Mercury Prize will give him a wider recognition. Hopefully that won't harm his underground image.
Red X, UK
This just proves that Mercury is all about the latest fad, and nothing to do with acknowledging actual talent.
Im flabbergasted that The Darkness didn't win. They've put the fun & pop back into rock. But the best album of the year wasnt even nominated Girls Aloud should've won it. An album thats reinvigorated pop music. The Mercury Music Prize is elitist and doesn't represent what the people thinks, the TRUE music fans/buyers.
Thomas Ewing, England
Dizzee is the greatest talent British Hip Hop has right now. He deserves every award going!
Of course Dizzee Rascal didn't deserve it. It's impossible to believe that the judging panel own one other garage record (apart from maybe The Streets), in the same way that they didn't own one other drum n bass record other than Reprazent when they won. Fix Up Look Sharp aside, Boy In Da Corner is a depressingly dull album, even by UK Garage's extremely low standards, and its Mercury Prize just stinks of middle aged middle class people tapping the young MC on the head and patronisingly saying "well done talented urban British man". There's been so many better UK urban albums this year and it just proves how well XL's marketing team have done in pushing the Rascal onto the mainstream.
Simon Singleton, Scotland
I think he did deserve it. He is young, creative and talented. I expect to see more from this debut artist
Nana Yaw, US
What a farce! This competition clearly isn't judged on talent or achievement. I'm a big fan of the urban scene, and although Dizzee's music does appeal to me, I can say objectively that his competitors tonight have worked much harder and have achieved a more detailed, sophisticated sound overall.
Anil Vij, UK
The daaaaaaarrrrrrrrknessss were robbed... One last chance to salvage some dignity for the UK music scene has been lost.
paul p0d, UK
Did Dizzee Rascal deserve to win? Certainly not, if the Mercury Prize is supposed to be a talent contest.