It's not a rumour. D Double E is a bonafide grime scene legend in the very truest sense of the word. To put it simply, he's your favourite MC's favourite MC. And despite being one of the most referenced and imitated MCs in grime history, he still manages to maintain a unique and distinct style which immediately separates him from those around him.
Watch D Double E take the mic at a rave or on a radio set and you'll see why he's held in such high regard. This is a mic man at the top level, regarded as the greatest by Skepta - who named his "heads get mangled" bar as his favourite of all time. The only MC who's ever dared to clash him was Flirta D at Eskimo Dance, and he got dealt with quickly. He's never released an album, but he's never had to. Watch the reaction in the crowd when they hear any of his trademark catchphrases and you'll understand.
One of Double's finest moments in recent years was his barnstorming vocal, "Street Fighter Riddim", produced by Swerve, where he rides the bass-heavy beat effortlessly, peppering his bars with references to Street Fighter characters, combos and special moves. Last week saw the release of the "Street Fighter Riddim V.I.P (variation in production)", where Swerve's original beat is turned up to 11, switching from a slow, rattling dubstep stomp into a Spooky-esque grime banger.
Grime has always maintained a loving relationship with video games. And whether it's JME threatening to hit you with the ha-do-do-douken in "96 Fuckries", or Yomeiriland injuring themselves practising Qi Gong Fist, there's been an extra special interest in Street Fighter. So we caught up with D Double to ask him about some of his favourite Street Fighter moments, game tactics, and who in the grime scene can beat him...
Noisey: We've heard a rumour that you still play Street Fighter online, is that right?
D Double E: I don't play it online, but I play it whenever I have a little get-together with friends and family. It's not an online ting anymore, but yeah I still play it a lot.
When did you start playing Street Fighter?
199...6? I was playing it in arcades a lot from about 1994 but then in 1996 I got a Super Nintendo for Christmas and it came with Street Fighter. I've still got the box for it and everything.
Who are your favourite characters?
My favourite character is Sagat, after that probably Ken, Ryu and I play as Balrog quite a lot too. Same characters I played with when I was young.
What is it you like about Sagat?
I liked Sagat cos he had the fireball. I felt like his moves were all about giving the enemy pain, innit? The Tiger Knee, them moves there, I felt like I was doing more work to the enemy than with Ken's high kick or some little light punches or something.
You've got to give them that work. Do you have a favourite combo?
My regular combo with Sagat is the uppercut and the Tiger Knee straight off. I might hit you with some light punches first just before the uppercut then straight into the Tiger Knee. Pow.
Do you play regularly with people from the grime scene?
Not really. I've played with people from the grime scene before, but not regularly.
Can anyone in the grime scene beat you at Street Fighter?
Yeah but only about 4 people I'd say. JME, Logan, P Money and Footsie probably, but that's it. Nobody else is a match. They're skilled gamers. There are a couple slow guys in the scene and when the pressure gets on top they start button-bashing. I don't really watch how other people play but I see them getting frustrated, and that's when shit starts rattling about and that.
Who's the most underrated character in Street Fighter?
I think Blanka man. I think if you're using Blanka properly, like 5 years strong, then you could do some damage. He's a strong character and I use him sometimes but I really don't think I use him to his full potential.
Whose story do you like best?
To be honest I wasn't fussed about the stories at the end, I used to just start again. I couldn't wait to start again. I remember completing all the endings back in the day, there are a few funny ones, but I don't remember them. I completed them all straight away, within a couple weeks. After that it was just training, I made it harder and harder til I kept dying and it was like ah mate. I've played it on hard before but I kept dying at the end. M. Bison, man. I had to keep starting again and starting again.
M. Bison is nails, there's no shame there. What console do you play it on now?
I play on Playstation 4; I play the newest version of it. It's good because it's not too crazy. There were a couple crazy ones back in the day where you could do mad shit in the air and all that, all these turbo moves, then there were those X Men games too and I didn't feel that, you have to be a button basher for those ones. This one's nice once you're used to it.
You know there's a pub in Clapham where you can play Street Fighter on a giant projector against the wall?
Seriously, me and some mates did winner-stays-on there...
Boy, it sounds like if I don't know about it then there'll be guys who've been banging it out for months. Sounds like I'll have to get the computer back on, put some hours in, get over there and look for some war...
Good luck. You must defeat Shen Long to stand a chance!
You can find Paul on Twitter.