The uncanny resemblance between the Telegraph Magazine and Dizzee Rascal’s latest album

The Telegraph Magazine cover and Dizzee Rascal's album cover
Dizzee Rascal's latest album cover bears a striking resemblance to an award-winning Telegraph Magazine cover

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. So the fact that Dizzee Rascal’s latest album cover, released today, bears an uncanny resemblance to a multi award-winning cover of this newspaper’s weekend magazine is really rather cheering, if a little bizarre.

Created from a montage of photography by digital artist Justin Metz, the Telegraph Magazine cover showed a driver in a lime-green Lamborghini, marooned on a bucolic-looking country road and surrounded by sheep. The cover of the rapper’s new album, Don’t Take It Personal, meanwhile, is in much the same vein except for the car – a Ferrari in classic red – and the slightly grimier turnout of the sheep.

“It’s quite fun to have someone like Dizzee Rascal, who is not someone I would expect to be inspired by The Telegraph,” says Kuchar Swara, creative director at The Telegraph, who commissioned the cover.

Dizzee Rascal
Mercury Prize-winning grime artist Dizzee Rascal hails from the London suburb of Bow - Mike Lewis Photography/Redferns

Published in August 2021 at the tail end of the pandemic lockdowns  – after most legal limits on social contact in England had been lifted – the image fronted a sternly-worded piece by novelist and journalist Clover Stroud about the gentrification of the countryside: “The new country folk driving us locals mad.”

Months earlier, property website Rightmove had reported a 126 per cent increase in inquiries from people relocating from the city to rural spots – presumably in search of a “Disney-esque” lifestyle, as Stroud put it. Newcomers, she added, were pricing out country folk in the process.

“Every cottage becomes a doer-upper; every barn no longer a place for bored teenagers to smoke among broken mowers, but the place for the hot tub and yoga studio,” she lamented. “At that point, the village shop will morph into an artisan bakery; its Happy Shopper orange squash and Mother’s Pride white sliced bread replaced by almond lattes at £3.95 a pop.”

Swara’s idea was to capture this in a single image, and did so by trying to visualise “the worst possible cliché’’ of a city slicker – an image that went on to spawn parodies on social media.

“It was about them going into the Cotswolds and ruining the place, being really obnoxious. And the most obnoxious thing I could think of was people going there in Lamborghinis – totally impractical but they want to show off their money.”

Dizzee, meanwhile, a Mercury Prize-winning grime artist, originally from the London suburb of Bow, has also used it in fitting fashion, given that the tracks on the album on which it features include Stay in Your Lane and, the even more fitting, Get Out The Way.

As Dizzee himself puts it in the latter: “If you want something, take something, If you ain’t got nothing better…”