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Dirty Dike

Dirty Dike – Sucking On Prawns In The Moonlight [Review]

SOPITM ArtworkWhen we think of Dirty Dike we rather unfairly think of an uncontrollable hurricane with a drinking problem that also happens to rap and make beats. Yes, he’s a bit weird and even Dike describes himself as a “simple weed smoking alcoholic tosser” but that’s why we’ve got a soft spot for him. He raps about alcohol, sex and drugs aggressively, yet effortlessly, and to a certain extent it’s probably just an act but doesn’t stop us appreciating it any less. Furthermore, and especially on Sucking On Prawns In The Moonlight, he demonstrates that he’s a versatile lyricist and can offer more than the belligerent content and style described above. In a short interview with SektionRed at Boom Bap Festival, he alluded to the fact that his latest album is “very honest and less turbo-drive wanker because that’s quite easy to do, it’s a bit more introspective and sort of strange. There’s no obvious themes“. We find that to be largely true but there are still elements of cocky passive-aggressiveness that have carried over from his previous projects like Return Of The Twat and that is by no means a bad thing. The album was released on High Focus Records on 21st September and now that we’ve listened to it enough to give it a thorough analysis, we present to you our in-depth review. Before we get down to the music, we must mention the incredible artwork on SOPITM, it’s painted by the wonderfully talented Mr SORN who has also done the artwork on Dike’s previous LPs. The only way you could describe it is as a visual acid trip.

Starting with the rather mellow Great Attempt featuring High Focus label boss Fliptrix, we found the intro to be a contrast to what you end up hearing on the rest of the record. Alcoholic Tosser, possibly a nod to Jehst‘s classic Alcoholic Author (or not), picks up the pace and it’s in line with the Dike’s we’ve long been familiar with. Produced by Chairman Maf, the instrumental has so many intricate samples and instruments within it that it’s truly captivating. That appears to be a constant theme throughout all of the songs on this album, all the beats appear complex with multiple layers of samples inter-weaved into the drum loop.

“I’m a self-searching man at least I thought I was in those days, I’m OK (was) but still I snort a load of cocaine, they say it’s down to mistrust, abandonment and self-hate.”

Ain’t Got A Clue was actually the first song we heard from this project when we saw Dirty Dike perform it at Boom Bap Festival all the way back in June. The begins with some rather sinister sounding strings and then sprinkled with a really subtle hi-hat. The vocal aspect of the track is a bit all over the place but that’s the theme of the song. What came across to us from I Ain’t Got A Clue is that Dike is confused, lost and rudderless: “money, trust, drugs, love, debt, sex and I ain’t got clue why I live here“. Mallory & Josephine is a tale about a young lady who has been raped by her father as a child. That trauma led her down a road of being misunderstood, ignored and ultimately to prostitution. Dike tells this story from a perspective of directly knowing her directly and even suggesting getting revenge on her dad but all she cares about at that point is her clients. Despite the depressing tone of the rhymes, the Dr Zygote instrumental is in contrast rather upbeat with Jazz T providing the cuts (including the very appropriate Sally’s Got A One Track Mind cut). The drum loop is sublime and it sounds like Dr Zygote has chopped up some sounds from a porno and interlaced it into the loop.

Isleham Swamp has got an instrumental that you could easily listen to on loop for the rest of the week and not get bore; soft piano keys, lazy drums, a sprinkle of a trumpet and some beautiful vocal harmonising give you every you could possibly desire in a hip hop beat. Lamb Shank Intermission not only makes us hungry, the short intermission is a reminder that Dirty Dike makes some incredible beats (keep an eye out for Ocean Wisdom‘s debut album that will be wholly produced by Dike).

Prawns was the track that first had a video from this project (see above). Frankly the whole project is a bit of a trip from the title, the artwork, obviously the music and even the music videos as demonstrated above. The rhymes on Prawns should in some way embody the general tone of the whole album and to a large extent it achieves that goal. It consists of complex metaphorical rhymes, a rather intriguing and enjoyable instrumental and really trippy visuals, which is basically what you get with Sucking On Prawns In The Moonlight. On Prawns, Dike covers the subject of people chasing “money and sex” and generally those stuck in the hamster wheel of modern life. He’s also holds up a mirror to his true character, which is not something you have previously got very much of with Dirty Dike:

“There ain’t a flying pig or universe I could ignore, I simply see the purest love in everything you’re looking for. There ain’t a friend I could abandon, I would die for mine… There ain’t a simple pickled reason why I’m such a dick, maybe it because the times you see me I’m just fucking pissed. There ain’t an evil bone inside my skin and I ain’t here to cry alone and play the tiny violin.”

Much like most of Dike’s work, there’s no cutting corners on the production front and he’s given a lot of empty space for the beats to shine on SOPITM; the latter half of this particular track is just the instrumental with DJ Sammy B-Sides doing cuts over it.

Take Over is produced by Dike himself and features the fire-breathing dragon that is Remus. For those of you of an older generation, you may immediately remember Remus as son of the legendary Farma G of Task Force. Remus is most certainly stepped out of his father’s shadow. He more than holds his own as a standalone artist and he demonstrates this perfectly on Take Over, clearly Dike thinks the same as well because Remus get’s two full verses on this one. The content of this song is pretty self-explanatory in the title, Dike and Remus are coming to take over the game but frankly it feels like they’ve already conquered it. For Paper Tigers, Dike enlists the help of two seasoned veterans in the form Chester P and Verb T with the end result being as amazing as you would imagine. Starting with a mellow and crackley intro leading into the thumping drums and some delightful horns. The track itself is each rapper looking at themselves and rapping about what they see and how they feel. It does take a few listens to take it all in but it’s one of our favourite songs on the album.

“I’m walking openly wild in a field of paper tigers, reoccupying these skies I deserted earlier. Rise of the ghostly riders unhinged in my psychedelia, signs of a new Siberian cross that will bite inferior minds.” – Chester P on Paper Tigers

Me & You featuring Jam Baxter is a bit of an odd fit on this album but it’s enjoyable enough as a standalone song. By far the most interesting song on this project, and our favourite by a country mile, is Crystal Cindy. Without hearing it’s difficult to explain the genius of this song from every angle. Produced by Dike himself, beautiful calm keys layered with lazy drums, wind chimes and chopped up vocal samples from what sounds like nature documentary makes the beat delightful. The song has a tone and pace that is slower than the rest of the album but that’s what the lyrics demand. Crystal Cindy covers the subject of drug addiction and the unfortunately all too common descent into prostitution. Dike tells this story in a way that truly highlights his ability as a top-notch rhymesmith and storyteller.

“I don’t want to say the word or advertise the crap, or take away your dignity to magnify the trap but it’s a fact, it turns you into nothing but a tramp and the last thing that’s ever going to love you is your wrap.” – Dirty Dike on Crystal Cindy

Despite it being a rather depressing song about drugs, prostitution and urinary catheters w could literally listen to Crystal Cindy all day long. As far as a rap song go, it’s perfection including the rather long and fascinating outro. The album seems to slow down to the pace of Great Attempt by the time it gets to Crystal Cindy, Feast and Hold My Hands. This is where the honesty in the album really starts to shine and it’s a clear contrast to the upbeat, hilarious and offensive material of days past. Rounding off the album is Posse Gang Eight Million, which is basically a cypher including Remus, Ocean Wisdom, Jam Baxter, Lee Scott and Dabbla. It’s fun, it’s energetic and that Dike produced beat sounds like the soundtrack to a steel production plant… not quite sure what we even mean by that but it sounds industrial.

Like we mentioned at the beginning, Dirty Dike says he set out to produce a more honest and inward looking album. Has he achieved that? Largely yes. It’s not honest to the extent that he sounds like he’s on a therapist’s sofa but there’s no doubt that Dike is challenging himself and has released his best album thus far. His beats sound incredible, his rhymes cover a wider selection of subject matter and all the features compliment the album effectively. Sucking On Prawns In The Moonlight is not only a great album in its own right, it’s got us rather excited for what more there is to come from an artist that is still finding himself musically and improving despite his already solid back catalogue.

Sucking On Prawns In The Moonlight is out now on High Focus Records or alternatively you can purchase it from all good digital outlets including iTunes.

Follow High Focus Records on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Follow Dirty Dike on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

When we think of Dirty Dike we rather unfairly think of an uncontrollable hurricane with a drinking problem that also happens to rap and make beats. Yes, he's a bit weird and even Dike describes himself as a "simple weed smoking alcoholic tosser" but that's why we've got a soft…
Rhymes - 8.5
Production - 9
Longevity - 7.5
Overall Delivery - 8.5


User Rating: 4.65 ( 1 votes)


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