Dizzee Rascal / El-P/ Aaron La Crate Capital Music Hall, Ottawa ON May 12

Dizzee Rascal / El-P/ Aaron La Crate Capital Music Hall, Ottawa ON May 12
Mere weeks after Buck 65 and Cadence Weapon hit Ottawa’s Bronson Centre, the capital was treated to another high profile split headline show as Dizzee Rascal teamed with Definitive Jux label-mate/boss El-P for a Monday night visit. Unfortunately, L.A. rapper Busdriver skipped the Ottawa date, leaving the opening slot to Dizzee’s DJ Aaron LaCrate. The Brooklynite turned the ten o’clock hour from mild background entertainment to an intense DJ set that mimicked Diplo’s stack-em-up beats. Taking the stage with his hype-man Mighty Quin and ex-Atmosphere DJ Mr. Dibbs, El-Producto kicked the set off with an adaptation of "Smithereens (Stop Cryin’)” sounding denser than he has on I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead. El-P, who comes off more Seth Green than Cee-Lo Green in person, laboured though a set of material that included a handful of Company Flow tracks. Trading off verses with Mighty Quin, El-P’s high-energy performance culminated with a theatrical collapse to the floor, remaining there as Mr. Dibbs mixed beats to put the set to bed. Dizzee Rascal erupted to the stage in typical new school hip-hop manner as Dizzee and hype man Semtex walked onto the stage as if they were two of the most confident motherfuckers on the planet. Sensing that most of the crowd was unfamiliar with his set, Dizzee dropped it into high gear, effortlessly spitting out verses while entering a "What’s my name?” and "Dizzee Rascal!” call and response with the audience. As Dizzee wrapped up the night with "Pussy’ole,” he reached his slender frame over the now enthusiastic crowd strategically hanging his thumb above the heads of the first two rows. Perhaps it was a meaningless hip-hop pose, but to the minds of many, it symbolised what Dizzee’s been doing to every critic and city he crosses paths with. Like everywhere else, he had Ottawa under his thumb.