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Shystie Diamond In The Dirt Review

Album. Released 2004.  

BBC Review

Shystie is not there yet, but given half a chance she will be.

Jack Smith 2004

21 year old Chanelle Scott, aka Shysite, has two good PR tips; she's the fastest MC in the UK (that's what they say) and made a "response record" to Dizzee Rascal's "I Love U". The album to launch her is Diamond In The Dirt, and the few glimmers of precious shine come from her lyrical content; stories about money, sex, love and life in modern Britain.

Shystie 'triple-rhymes' with a little strain but she's got good flow, and in storming tracks such as "Woman's World" you get quickly drawn into the quirky originality of her lyrics. Against the backdrop of an old school electro beat she visualises how it would be for women to be 'the men'. 'Think if we went to Amsterdam, and the red light district was only full of man.' Or even better, 'Men live in kennels like dogs, and we only let them out to do the difficult jobs'.

The best beats are those that grab and energise the listener as in the excellent "Step Bac", produced by Fireworkz, and the dog bark sampling "Bank Robbery". Taken as a whole the album doesn'tsound as underground and dirty as you mighty expect, there's one ear here to the commercial market. There are basslines that buzz and woof, balanced by choice eastern melodies, classical Spanish guitar and operatic vocals; but none of this is particularly original or strong.

Although her voice lacks the timbre and depth of some of her contemporaries there's an impressive emotional honesty to her rhymes; 'Now I haven't changed, still slightly deranged, Still slightly outraged and I feel insane, At way I contain so much pain.' The lack of swearing is maybe a tribute to the lead taken by Ms Dynamite, and makes the album perfect for those under-18 garage parties that Shystie once hung out at. Rapping rhymes that speak with subtlety and insight, humour and drama are still rare.

Shystie is not there yet, but given half a chance she will be. Looking forward to the next one.

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