D Double E is back with his follow-up to 2018’s Jackuum which was a great debut LP from an MC who’s been making tracks since the early 2000s. D Double’s sophomore album is titled Double Or Nothing which doubles as an acronym of “D.O.N.” and it contains more bass-heavy beats and matter-of-fact delivery. I’m glad that the bags he may have made from the Ikea advert hasn’t gone to D Double E’s head; money or mainstream appeal, this is the same ol’ Newham General with another highly re-playable album.
The album starts with “Contact Us” with its industrial beat. D Double E brings us some near-rhymes with “contact us, contractors, contactless, contact lens”. Aside from simplistic couplets, fans are also offered some characteristic humour with the second song “Catch Of The Day” which features a hilarious opener and hook, and a run-though of double-meaning slang.
Being an ’80s baby, D Double E mentions Reebok Pumps in “Outta Order” and “What You Want” (featuring Giggs) has a Spice Girls reference but what’s for certain is that this 40-year old hasn’t lost touch with contemporary music, in fact he’s making tracks that might make some young-uns reassess their output. One of the first truly memorable songs is “Deeper Deeper” which sports a simplistic but effective hook (“deeper, deeper, darker darker”) and “Tell Me A Ting” is a brilliant track with an impressive verse courtesy of Kano and a great use of the “dun-dun-dun” radio-play reveal sound thingumabob…
There are a few weaker songs such as “Ring Ring” featuring Skrapz and “Grinding Away” featuring JME which also features some Fruityloops-sounding production. “Where Do We Come From?” featuring Ghetts is reminiscent of noughties grime-pop but these slightly limp tracks are offset by the harder “Trouble” featuring Triggz and Jamaican-tinged “Bedroom Bully” featuring Ms Banks.
The start of this release is a little bit of a mush without a distinctive track. There’s also arguably too many featured artists. For the most part however, Double Or Nothing is a satisfying listen. A 38 minute, 12-track album from this Grime legend is a welcome release but like many artists (from any genre) a follow-up to a near-classic LP is always going to suffer from the dreaded sophomore album curse. With four standout tracks (“Deeper Deeper”, “Tell Me A Ting”, “Bedroom Bully”, and “Trouble”) and a handful of above-average songs, not to mention no filler or any sellout, switch-siding pop-shite, this is proof that D Double E is indeed the don.
My god this album is like the light at the end of the tunnel of shit music during the pandemic…