D Double E exists on an astral plane all of his own, and new album ‘Double Or Nothing’ is no exception. Opening cut ‘Contact Us’ is a perfect example of this; an opening fanfare is cut short by spaced-out Splurgeboys beat, punctuated by layer upon layer of ad-libs. It’s hazy, zainy and altogether other-worldly, much like D Double himself.
Much of the album is predicated on two themes. The first is that D Double is THAT guy – whatever you want, he can sort it (“I can pattern a ting just come and see me”) – but don’t cross him. He paints himself as a kingpin, an elder statesman. The kind of looming threat you’d find in a Guy Ritchie film. Nowhere is this more evident than on ‘What You Want,’ which features a Giggs verse that we can’t help but think would have been better placed on the following track ‘Deeper Deeper,’ which feels like ‘Double Or Nothing”s dark and brooding midpoint. The former, it has to be said, is largely quite forgettable.
The same cannot be said, however, for Kano-assisted single ‘Tell Me A Ting’ – a brash, raucous assault that should surely be added to the canon of all-time great Grime collabs, and that summarises the album’s second main theme; that there is nothing you can teach D Double about the game that he doesn’t already know.. Kano’s opening “Man can’t tell me a tingaling / Man can’t tell me a shabba” is quite possibly his best since ‘3 Wheel Ups” “Pussy & rum, that’s a rider for real MCs / Hold tight D Double E that’s a real OG.”
The other obvious stand-out is the Ghetts-assisted ‘Where Do We Come From,’ which now finds a home for the first time since its original release almost a year ago. Elsewhere, JME, Triggz, Skrapz and Ms Banks. add to the impressive roster of features on the project, the latter featuring on another highlight, ‘Bedroom Bully.’
‘Double Or Nothing’ is a hugely enjoyable listen that, although dark and dangerous, doesn’t take itself too seriously. Unlikely to go down as a classic but equally unskippable, fans won’t be disappointed. Our only real complaint is the absolutely unforgivable album cover.