Rizzle Kicks – review

Roundhouse, London
Rizzle Kicks's digs against Jeremy Kyle and John Terry offer high points in a gig that plays out like a school talent show

Two-thirds of the way through Rizzle Kicks's show, the duo bring support act and fellow Sylvia Young alumnus, Eliza Doolittle, back on stage for The Reason I Live, a jazz-pastiche duet at odds with the boisterous, ska-inflected hip-hop that forms the backbone of their sound. Doolittle, Young's granddaughter and the epitomy of privileged pop, had earlier underwhelmed by being overwrought and lightweight. As she hams it up with a cartoonishly squeaky vocal, you suddenly realise it's less like a gig than a school talent show, and this has been true of the whole performance.

Rizzle Kicks are the logical conclusion to British hip-hop's belated acceptance within UK pop culture. Is it possible for anything to be popular in this country without being reduced to light entertainment, with eager-to-please cheesiness barely disguising a fear of offending any demographic? In a recent Twitter spat, grime's grumpy godfather Wiley accused the duo of aiming only to become TV presenters, and there's an element of truth in this. They're likable and enthusiastic in a way that Wiley could never be, but they play it so safe – with naff DJ scratching on Wind Up, presumably to signify hip-hop culture, and bland everyboy sentiments that befit Olly Murs collaborators – that their jollity is enervating. Their biggest hit, Mama Do the Hump, feels like the ultimate office-party anthem.

There are bright spots: Lost Generation, with its digs at Jeremy Kyle and John Terry and, even better, its stance against slut-shaming – "What's wrong if a girl loves sex? It's only wrong if it's not with you" – feels like a Trojan horse of radicalism. Throughout, Rizzle Kicks's sharp eye for the quotidian adds some depth to their cheeky-chappie personae. But this is unexciting, CBBC pop-rap. It's harmless enough, but the sooner Rizzle Kicks get on with their true calling of presenting a Saturday-evening, family-friendly talent show, the better.

Contributor

Alex Macpherson

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Rizzle Kicks – review
With their cartoon rap-pop and self-mocking goofing, Brit School alumni Rizzle Kicks had the audience in a frenzy even before Ed Sheeran showed up, writes Ian Gittins

Ian Gittins

16, Dec, 2011 @7:08 PM

Article image
Rizzle Kicks: Roaring 20s – review
This hip-hop duo's second album is irresistible, a reminder of how sharp and vibrant their lyrics can be, writes Caroline Sullivan

Caroline Sullivan

29, Aug, 2013 @7:30 PM

Rizzle Kicks: Stereo Typical – review

Their sprightly pop is clever and infectious – especially if you are going through puberty, writes Caroline Sullivan

Caroline Sullivan

27, Oct, 2011 @9:15 PM

Article image
Rizzle Kicks; Alex Clare – review
Two fusion-friendly Island Records acts share a stage, but it's Brighton hip-hop duo Rizzle Kicks who really shine, writes Kitty Empire

Kitty Empire

24, Sep, 2011 @11:06 PM

Article image
iTunes festival: Lady Gaga; Rizzle Kicks – review
Lady Gaga's return to the London stage was thrilling for its sheer pop-star nuts-ness, writes Kitty Empire

Kitty Empire

07, Sep, 2013 @9:00 AM

Rizzle Kicks: Roaring 20s – review
Light, cheeky and a little banal, this is an album to listen to at the back of the bus, says Hermione Hoby

Hermione Hoby

31, Aug, 2013 @11:06 PM

Article image
Rizzle Kicks: 'We're huge Fun Lovin' Criminals fans'

The Brighton hip-hop duo on Huey Morgan's mug-smashing antics, their pop at Wiley and what they think of Fatboy Slim

Rich Pelley

14, Nov, 2013 @6:04 PM

DJ Fresh – review
The man behind the first dubstep No 1 emerges tonight as the ultimate host of this sprawling scene with special guests galore, writes Mark Beaumont

Mark Beaumont

17, May, 2012 @5:10 PM

London 2012: Olympic torch relay finale concert - in pictures

The arrival of the Olympic torch in London was celebrated with a concert in Hyde Park, featuring an all-British lineup of Dizzee Rascal, Katy B, Eliza Doolittle and Rizzle Kicks

27, Jul, 2012 @2:43 PM

Article image
Tony Allen and Rizzle Kicks join Damon Albarn's Africa Express
Artists will cross the UK by train in September for a concert series featuring music from Europe, America and Africa

Sean Michaels

14, Aug, 2012 @9:06 AM