Album Review: Mikill Pane – Blame It On Miss Barclay
For those who don’t know Mikill Pane, born Justin Smith Uzomba, he has had two hands firmly around London based hip-hop for a long time. I first heard him on Ed Sheeran’s ‘No.5 Collaborations Project’ in a version of ‘The A-team’ that shakes me every time I listen to it and deserves as much esteem as the original. Mikill Pane’s reputation goes beyond him with many established artists giving him the limelight a rapper of his caliber deserves. After a few quietly released singles, the man from Hackney has given us a debut album to digest and he doesn’t fail to live up to his reputation.
The title track, ‘Blame It On Miss Barclay’, opens the album with pace and guts. Pane lays out his reasons for speaking up and letting us know that if he were to either enrage or enlighten anyone then he is not to blame, rather his English teacher to which the song is attributed too.His flow is undeniable; firing out puns at a speed Tim Vine would be proud of. But this album is not all about intelligent humour, it also portrays a picture of some of the darker sides of London’s street life. Tracks like ‘Lucky’ and ‘I’ve Realised’ tell us a drug dealer’s side of story with potency and unnerving realism, this is just one of the tales that Pane lets us explore through his honest lyrics. That’s what makes this album special; the real life stories, their meaning and how they all intertwine. With each listen the more you’re drawn into this world of young lovers with family disputes, buskers on the underground and couples that even death won’t part. Even after Pane’s wit has put a smile on your face and the album’s last track has played, his stories will stay with you as if you saw them unfold.
The album, however, has as many highs as it has lows, with the catchy choruses of ‘Summer In The City and Straight To The Bottom’ are bound to lift the mood and would be welcome on a party playlist. It’s great when an album draws you in with as much excitement and brains as this, but it’s the injection of personality and storytelling that truly make this album brilliant. If this is only a glimpse of what’s to come, I only have thanks for Miss Barclay.
Our rating: 8/10