Dizzee Rascal's Dream Analysis

Analysed for:

  • Media language (mise-en-scene)
  • Representation
  • Industry
  • Audience
  • Created by: Notbartt
  • Created on: 26-09-18 20:26

Personal Context

Dizzee Rascal's Personal Background

  • Born and raised in London, was not the best behaved of kids. Got himself into a lot of trouble.
  • Got very involved in crime.
  • Lived with his single mother
  • Very much enjoyed music at school, was reccomended to persure his music by a music teacher


  • "Around the streets...mainly up to no good"
  • "I used to love music, it was my hidden hobby"
  • "Young baby mothers, I got your back as well"
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Social and Historical Context


  • Whole video replicates a real TV show from the time Dizzee grew up: Muffin the Mule. Entirely pastiched to symbolise the main theme of the song, in which Dizzee is confronting his audience and telling them to persure their dreams because that's what he had to do to get to where he is now
  • "Happy Talk" originally from South Pacific musical, then covered by 'Captain Sensible', the cover is the track that is sampled for the hook of the song

London in 2004

  • The police were accused of targeting black people with the assumption of committing crimes.
  • In reality, black people were more likely to be victims of crime than criminals
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Production Context

Dizzee Rascal

  • Garage/grime genre
  • Won the Mercury Music Prize in 2003 for album "Boy in Da Corner"
  • Dream was released as a single from the album "Showtime"
  • Was 14 when he first started making music, record deal at 


  • Video was directed by Dougal Wilson for the Colonel Blimp production company. Wilson is an award-winning director.
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Media Language

Mise en Scene

- Whole video replicates that of a children's puppet show (pastiche to Muffin the Mule)

- Symbolises his message that all things are controlled by the "bigger man", in this case, potentially a message about race and how his fate and stereotyping was decided for him by white institutions. Dizzee went through a lot of schools and was regarded as a troubled child.

- Alternatively, Dizzee is telling a message to his younger fans about following your dreams as it will lead you to success. Putting it in a children's TV show format really created the idea of teaching a meaningful lesson.

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Mise en Scene continued

  • Puppets wearing hoodies to represent gang culture, but also again replicating the type of people Dizzee would have seen growing up.
  • Police puppet comes along and starts beating the 'gang puppets' for doing seemingly harmless crimes - this links to the state of policing in 2003 and how they were accussed of being racially prejudiced.
  • There is a juxtaposition between the seemingly middle class living room,(piano, jewlery of pianist, nice wallpaper etc.) and the deprived city estate that is presented by the narrative and illustrated by the set that is placed on top of the piano (off-licence, graffiti, people wearing hoodies and baggy trousers etc.- not very smart).
  • Iconography of childhood important as it establishes that the story is a fable with a clear moral message, just as children's television shows would do.
  • When Dizzee picks up his microphone he is given (metaphorical and literal) power; to be heard and listened to, and he is at full distant away from the life of crime that preceeded him.
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Mise en scene: Theoretical Approach

Barthes, Semiotics

  • Many of the images seen represent Dizzee's lyrics at face value, but also connote his work to achieve his dream.
  • An example of where something has been placed to induce meaning or at least connotation is the costume of hoodies, which overtime has come to represent youthful rebellion

Levi-Strauss, Structuralism

  • Prominant binary oppositions;
    • young black male VS old white female
    • wealthy VS poor
    • Middle class VS working class
    • police VS gang culture (which is resolved in dancing at end)
  • The woman dissaproves of the antisocial behavior and favours Dizzee's story of his claim to fame, suggesting that following your dreams to greatness and success is much better than a wasted life of crime.
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White woman at piano

  • middle class, stereotypical, intellegent.
  • Fills a matriarchal role and possibly represents Dizzee's mother who did her best to make sure things could work out for him as a single mother
  • Possible represents his music teacher who encouraged him to pesure a music career.
  • Possibly represents the industry which is controlled by white middle class people.

Dizzee Rascal

  • Represented as a rebellious black male through mise-en-scene
  • stereotypical throughout the first few verses but then defies his stereotype at the end when given power, which underlines the entire message of the song and video.
  • The other youths follow is Dizzee's footsteps and start spending their time doing more productive things than getting themselves intro trouble.
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Representation continued: Other Characters


  • Seen as potentially racist? Targetting black/gang culture/social groups out of assumption or more harshly targetting them for committing non violent crimes.


  • Irresponsible, without a purpose in life (until ultimate change at end to follow Dizzee's footsteps)
  • The puppets are also connected and controlled by strings, suggesting of a higher social hirearchy that effects all memebers of society, as if their fates are actually decided for them already (due to vast social stereotyping- see Hall's theory of stererotyping in relation to power)
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Representation: Theoretical approach

Hall , representation

  • Deliberatly contructed stereotyped characters as puppets to show a hirearchy of power, even the police man has been stereotyped as a prejudiced, violent man.
  • However, notice how the lady at the piano is larger and clearly not a puppet, she is given the role of the oppressor and has been able to obtain the larger amount of power because she is presenting these ideas of sterotyping as though she was a presenter of a children's television show.

Gilroy, post-colonialism

  • Narrative embeds positive values and messages, however on the assumption that people from these black, gang-cultured communities are something to be observed and commented on by the white matriarchal figure.
  • it is as though it is the assumed job of the white middle class woman who has to make these deicisons and help them out with life advice etc.
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