“Bring forth the Nando’s card!” shouts Dizzee Rascal. The UK songwriter may well have scored three consecutive No1 singles, had a platinum album and won both Mercury and Brit awards, but when ShortList meets him it’s obvious that what really excites him is the thought of free chicken for life via the fabled Black Card.
The reason he needs this endless supply of protein-based sustenance? He’s working hard balancing the day job (tours, festivals and recording a new album) with one-off gigs. Today it’s an advert for Sky’s new iPad and iPhone service, Sky Go. And with only 20 minutes until he’s due back on set, we balanced our Dictaphone on an empty coleslaw tub and got down to business…
You said last year that you were ditching drink and drugs — are you still clean?
Yeah. I still party, but when I’m not recording or touring, I’m avidly in the gym, working out and doing boxing training. I love it. It’s addictive, and it keeps you sharp. I’ve always prided myself on doing a good energetic show, and if you’re hungover and you feel like sh*t, you can’t deliver that.
How do you combat tourbus boredom?
Fifa, Street Fighter and Call Of Duty. Any time I’m waiting around, that’s what’s going on.
Fifa? Not Pro Evo?
Yeah, I like the way Fifa plays. I’m pretty good. I battered [England rugby star] Danny Cipriani three times in a row when I saw him in Australia this year. He wasn’t happy about that [laughs]. The deal was that if I lost, I had to go out with him to some sh*t club. So he went to the sh*t club alone that night.
Are you friends with any other celebrity sportsmen?
I see David Haye quite regularly. I parked my car at his gym before coming here today, actually. I was with him when he was training for his fight in Miami. I even sparred with him a little bit. I did OK. Well, I didn’t lose any teeth [laughs]. He’s a good dude and a great teacher, too. I think he’ll make a good coach one day. He gave me some decent tips on my stance and my jabbing.
You’ve already been in one film, Rollin’ With The Nines. Is acting something you’d like to do more of?
You know what? I saw Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Jason Statham’s girlfriend, the other day and I told her that I wanted to be in a film with him. I’ve liked his stuff since I saw The Mechanic, so if I could hook up with him, that’d be amazing.
Do you think you could pull off a part as an action hero?
Yeah. I’ve trained with the guy who did the fight choreography for 300. It’s all just memorising moves, which is the same as memorising lyrics, I guess.
Sort of, we suppose. Is it true that you met Prince Harry at a gig last year?
Yeah, I was at a festival in London and someone said, “Prince Harry wants to come and say hello.” So he came backstage and we had a little joke about, then he watched my show. There was a rumour that he went to see Basement Jaxx after that and ending up dancing about in a bunny suit. I met Prince William and Kate at another festival as well. They’re all ravers, man [laughs].
Your last two albums have seen quite a switch in style from your early material — what can we expect from your next record?
I’ll be releasing another album next year, so you can just expect more big, banging sh*t. I won’t stop making music until I’m the biggest artist in the world. For however long that lasts.
You’ve collaborated with some big names, from Alex Turner to James Corden. Are you still in touch with them?
Of course. I spoke to Alex on the phone not long ago and I saw James recently. And do you know who else I bumped into the other day? Elton John. I saw him at The Ivor Novello Awards. He came up and told me that he listened to Bonkers every day in the shower [laughs].
Is there anyone you’d love to work with?
The Prodigy. They’re my favourite live band. That’s the ultimate in rave music — just the hardest, most banging sh*t. I’ve toured with them, so I’ve seen the crowd reaction they get.
You’re playing V Festival this year — what’s your essential festival item?
Wet wipes [laughs].
Finally, do you have any guilty pleasures?
A Fox’s biscuit in a cup of tea. One dunk, then out. Perfect.
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(Main image: Getty, Rex Features)