London-based rapper Dizzee Rascal will release his next XL/Beggars Group album, “Maths & English,” June 5 in the U.S. Billboard.com has learned that, in a first for the label, the album will only be serviced to digital outlets in North America, and the company is not planning on releasing a physical CD outside of the U.K. and Europe.
“Maths & English” will, however, be released as a physical product overseas, where Dizzee Rascal has enjoyed greater success.
“This has a lot do with Dizzee being so hugely popular in Europe,” says Rusty Clarke, national sales director for Beggars Group USA. “He’s committed to doing all the promotion for his album over there. We’ve always had a difficult time getting him to come over here and do promotion here, and with this album, he’s even less available for that.”
The 14-track “Maths & Sirens” sees Dizzee Rascal collaborating with Southern hip-hop duo UKG (“Where’s Da G’s”) and U.K. pop singer Lily Allen (“Wannabe”), among others. Allen and Dizzee Rascal trade barbs on the latter cut, with Allen declaring, “Your mum buys your bling.” First single “Sirens” mashes up heavy metal guitars with a flurry of cymbal-driven beats, the latter played live by Dizzee Rascal.
“Maths & English” is the follow-up to 2004’s “Showtime.” The sophomore effort has sold 16,000 units to date in the U.S., according to Nielsen Soundscan. The number was a significant dip from the 58,000 copies shifted by his 2003 debut, “Boy in da Corner,” which arrived Stateside amid massive amounts of buzz.
The two varying statistics persuaded XL/Beggars to go the most cost-effective digital route with “Maths & English” in the U.S. “Many of the sales of the first record were a lot of impulse buying,” says Beggars Group VP of marketing Matt Harmon. “It was the feeling that people were missing something if they didn’t own that record. That didn’t mean that everyone was a fan. It just meant we were selling a lot more records. So coming to this album, we’re going into it with a readjusted, more realistic view.”
Harmon says “Maths & English” will be available at every digital retailer the label has a deal with, ranging from Apple’s iTunes store to eMusic to the recently launched download outlet for New York-based retailer Other Music.
Dizzee Rascal will spend much of the summer touring the U.K., with a number of festival dates sprinkled in, and there are currently no U.S. tour plans, says Harmon. A Dizzee Rascal documentary, “Dizzee Rascal: Bow Selector,” will air June 3 in the U.K., pieces of which will be used to promote the album via the XL/Beggars site in the U.S.