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Dizraeli | The Unmaster

The British wordsmith vaults to the forefront of the rap ranks with his intense album.

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WHO IS HE? A Bristol rapper, poet, playwright, singer-songwriter and all-around wordsmith whose government name is Rowan Alexander Sawday.

WHAT IS THIS? His latest outstanding solo disc that puts him squarely at the artistic forefront of British rap — an achievement that’s all the more remarkable for the fact that he completed the three-year endeavour on a shoestring budget without a label, manager or any other form of assistance, according to his website.

WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? Darkly brilliant. Diz’s ominous basslines, skittery grooves and clattery textures follow in the footsteps of influential, groundbreaking Bristol forebears like Tricky, Massive Attack and Roni Size. But ultimately, Dizraeli blazes his own trail here, indelibly marking these tracks with urgently desperate vocals, irresistibly simple melodies and sharply crafted lyrics that juggle the personal and the political like a backstreet Kate Tempest. And as if that’s not enough, he uses haunting between-song vignettes to string everything together into a 44-minute dream from the sonic underground.

WHAT WOULD BE A BETTER TITLE FOR THIS ALBUM? Master of All He Surveys.

HOW SHOULD I LISTEN TO IT? From start to finish — the best way to experience this 21-track odyssey through a confusing netherworld of drugs, violence and mental instability as he strives for human connection, personal redemption and emotional affirmation.

WHAT 10 WORDS DESCRIBE IT? Intense, bleak, harrowing, stark, gripping, atmospheric, visceral, woozy, dusty, provocative.

WHAT ARE THE BEST SONGS? Disturbing gems like Madness, Ketamine Honey, My Mama and Oi Oi grab you by the collar — then go for the throat.

WHAT WILL MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY SAY? ‘How is it possible that he doesn’t have a manager or record label while Susan Boyle does?’

HOW OFTEN WILL I LISTEN TO THIS? It deserves to be in heavy rotation — and if there’s any justice in the world, it will be.

IF THIS ALBUM WERE AN ACTIVITY, WHAT KIND OF ACTIVITY WOULD IT BE? An escape room in a housing project.

SHOULD I BUY, STREAM OR STEAL IT? If you don’t pay him, who will?