It was 2009 that Dizzee Rascal released his last album, 'Tongue N' Cheek' and took his mix of dance and rap to the top of the charts with hits like 'Bonkers', 'Holiday' and 'Dirtee Disco'.
As well as appearing on the next DJ Fresh single 'Power', Dizzee is due to drop his fourth studio album later this year - and has a string of festival dates lined-up to keep him busy, and on the road, throughout 2012, including a headline slot at this summer's Coca Cola London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay celebrations in Hyde Park.
Ahead of all this, we caught up with Dizzee to discuss his new album, plans for 2012 and whether he'll be taking public transport during the 2012 Olympics...
Dizzee, What's been happening with you?
There's a lot going on with me, i'll have my album out this year. I just shot a video with DJ Fresh, me and him did a track called 'Power' recently, people need to look out for that, it's going to be another big one. 'Power' is just a massive feel good track, a massive club track. It came last minute, we only just finished it last week. It's looking good.
You've got a lot of festivals lined up for 2012. As as dance/rap act have you had to work a little harder to win over the festival crowds?
Not the crowds, more the promoters more than anything. The crowds get it, it's always easy winning the crowds over. The promoters, unless they see a band they can see how it's going to work, especially being just a rapper. But now, I think most of the promoters get it, so its all good.
First of the year is Snowbombing. Are you looking forward to getting up into the Austrian mountains?
That's my first show of the year, yeah! I'm looking forward to that, and that's why I need to start getting ready and getting fit. I think you've got issues with the altitude up there as well. I've been before, I quite liked it.
Do you prefer snow or mud?
Probably the mud, just because i'm more used to it. I haven't done a lot of shows like Snowbombing, but that one's inside anyway, it's not in the snow.
Who have you been working with on the new album?
Mainly producers, not really any other artists than my own, Pepper, who's signed to my label. I worked with DJ Muggs, Fredwreck - who's done a lot of work with Dr Dre and Snoop Dogg, there's another guy called Julius Holiday who's an up and coming producer in the US as well as Cage, who I usually work with. I want to get into the studio and start making some beats myself as well.
Do you think it's better for artists to take some time out between albums rather than churn one out every year?
Someone like Rihanna comes back strong every time, so it just depends what you do with your time, your operation - and for her it is an operation, making sure she gets the best writers, producers - everything. If you can get it done like than then that's cool. Keep touring, keep getting bigger and bigger. I'm just taking my time - and i'm cool with that too. If you have to take your time, it just boils down to you as an artist and where your head's at.
Can London cope with the Olympics?
It will be interesting to see what happens. If i'm honest, i'm not planning to be on a train and haven't taken a tube in quite some time. I can imagine it's hectic at the best of times, so I don't know how they're going to deal with it, but at the same time the East London line extension might help.
Why do you think the Olympics is so important to the UK?
It establishes us on the world stage again, creates jobs, more opportunities and you know what? It's just a nice thing to see in my lifetime. I like the idea. And it's in the area I grew up as well. I like seeing the area, it's not always been the greatest of areas so it's great to see something like that and having the whole world watching.
Is there a sense of pride in the area around the Olympic stadium?
I suppose. It depends who you ask. Some people who live round there, and have done their whole lives maybe feel different about it. But i've seen the area looking a lot nicer, with more houses and look better in general. It's a balance I guess.
Are you big on sport yourself?
Yeah, I go through phases. Sometimes i'll chill out and party and other times i'll go thai boxing two or three times a week. I'm about to get back into exercise next week because i've got shows coming up in the next month. Right now i'm just kicking back and relaxing.
What are your plans for the rest of 2012?
I just want to make another classic album. It's not enough to make a good album, it needs to be a classic album. I need to get a few more tracks done. I think you'll hear some new music from me over the next few months.
Dizzee Rascal will perform at the Olympics Torch Relay celebrations at London's Hyde Park on 26 july 2012. For more information visit Gigwise Gig Tickets.