Dirty Dike – Sucking On Prawns In The Moonlight (Review)

Dirty Dike, Reviews

First off, what a title. Dirty Dike’s fourth album, his third on High Focus Records (every review I try to find a new way to big them up but you must get the picture by now), is the latest installment in a productive year for the Cambridge rapper. Well, Cambridge musician. With recent projects with Rag N Bone Man and Lee Scott highlighting his talents in the production sphere, and an album with Ocean Wisdom set to be the next in the list later this year, Dike has been expanding his arsenal. This album features a maturer outlook, still with his trademark brand of lyricism, and a couple of production credits too.

Dirty Dike - SOPITM - Front Cover

The opener, ‘Great Attempt’, is a storming start to the album. With a dark, restrained beat backing complex rhyme schemes from Dike, who both exhibits the familiar character traits we’ve come to associate synonymously, as well as a more serious side in a reflective, self-referencing verse. His flow is melodic and musical, and Fliptrix takes the track on a story-telling tangent, using great imagery in his writing. The depth to both MC’s verses is perfectly suited to the cinematic piano based instrumental, produced by Sam Zircon and Naive, and when the drums finally kick in after both Dike and Fliptrix have finished their verses the impact is big. Dike marks his return to the microphone with a bang.

‘Alcoholic Tosser’, produced by fellow Cambridge musician Chairman Maf, who released the quality instrumental album ‘Paint’ last year, is the second tune. The infectious, almost spooky beat, complete with the sound of a creaking door, is really memorable and the crisp drums back Dike’s cocky delivery emphatically. ‘Ain’t Got A Clue’, the first single from the album, marks a return to Dike’s signature lyrical style; aggressive and witty with a healthy serving of attitude. The production on this track, handled by Joe Corfield, is a turn away from his past work though, with a clear electronic influence that helps take the track to the next level.

‘Isleham Swamp’, the second single from the album, is also produced by Joe Corfield. The subtle instrumental backs pensive and retrospective musings from Dike. It’s a world away from ‘Return Of The Twat’, and Dike shows this different perspective and style across ‘Sucking On Prawns In The Moonlight’. The Remus collaboration, entitled ‘Take Over’, is a definite highlight; with an Eastern influence in the Sitar laced beat, as well as incredibly punchy drums, this track marks the first in four adjacent tracks showcasing Dike’s production talents.

‘Me & You’, featuring Jam Baxter, is my favourite track on the album. The beat is catchy and classy, and the theme of comparison is executed in a witty manner by both Contact Play MCs, with melodic deliveries and genuinely funny lyrics. ‘Crystal Cindy’ and ‘Feast’ are both insightful songs, each dealt with skilfully, honestly and passionately. This openness continues on the penultimate track. ‘Hold My Hands’ is slow-paced, with great sample work and production from Klagen. Dike’s electronic influence and direction on this album is refreshing, and it’s a stylistic change that works brilliantly. ‘Remus, Ocean Wisdom, Jam Baxter, Lee Scott and Dabbla join Dike on ‘Posse Gang Eight Million’. Both the previous cypher cuts on Dike’s last two albums have been quality, and the grimy beat and up-tempo verses make the album close out with an absolute bang. I said that at the beginning right?

‘Sucking On Prawns In The Moonlight’ is a fantastic release. It marks a new chapter in Dike’s sound and direction. The album is a lot more personal than his previous work (Sloshpot EP aside), and the change in emphasis is one that is successfully executed, and it remains interesting from start to finish. The style of the album musically is exciting too, with textured instrumentals, with a variety of moods and vibes explored. Dike’s writing is sharper than ever. I could go on but I reckon that’s probably enough compliments for one day.

By Sam Bennett







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