Dirty Dike does not and never has tried to project an image that is any different than the truth, instead he’s very much ‘what you see is what you get’ which spurs on his unapologetic nature and love of offence. It is his tendency for realism that gives his music a lot of heart and a charisma that is quite hard to snub. ‘Acrylic Snail‘ showcases an artist who very much knows themselves and plays to their strengths, bolstered by some fantastic guest spots.
Championing one of the most obscene mouths in the UK, Dike revels in his ability to piss people off and has amassed a following of stern supporters of the twat who love his latest rudeness. It is not simply being an audacious loudmouth that has got Dike where he is today, as underneath all the derogatory slander there is a lot of meaning and morality, and he has sharpened his skill as master of the boards to produce some great projects over the past few years.
Most artists tend to draw for more mature content as they grow up as naturally they may not be as full of anger and dismay at the world as they did when they had less and this is expressed through their music, some even go as far as to state in retrospect they are regretful of the music they made when younger and more rash (Tyler, The Creator). This is absolutely not the case with Dirty Dike, who doesn’t seem a day less vulgar.
Now, I’ve GOT TO talk about the features on ‘Acrylic Snail‘. I mean, when I first saw the track-list the impressive list of guests vice gripped my attention, reading somewhat like a UK hip hop dream team line-up. And they are far from disappointing.
Immediately following the ambiguous minute that is ambient opening number ‘The Playground‘, we have the first single that preceded the project ‘Permanent Midnight‘. With the help of a silky foray into hooks from Jam Baxter, Dike instils a stomping impetus and gets straight down to business projecting a decrepit place that is stuck at constant midnight.
‘Whoops‘ is a personal highlight of the project, featuring top-notch spots from Dike and Baxter with Rag’n’Bone Man following up his impressive appearance on ‘Mask‘ on Baxter‘s latest project ‘Touching Scenes‘, eager to prove he can verse with compadres as well as he can permeate the top charts with his rich, soulful singing voice. This couple of recent verses have absolutely got us wondering about the possibility of a full-length Rag’n’Bone Man rap project..
Teaming up with Runcorn’s finest, trouble is the name of the game on fifth track ‘Woah‘ that features Lee Scott. As expected the track is full of humorous quotables and is testament to the charming chemistry between these two, following on from their last collaboration in the form of the Dirty Dike produced ‘Butterfly‘ album by Lee Scott.
The creeping, haunted vibe that ‘I Like My Nights Dark‘ evokes through such a menacing and lingering instrumental conjures up the image of a deserted carnival that’s stayed in town a day or two too long, which is a prime stomping ground for Dike and Jam Baxter to waltz with their words slow and steady, landing at a chorus that’s as surreptitious as it is vibrant.
On boisterous track ‘Dumb‘ which sounds something like a demented organ (in a good way), Dike sways effortlessly through bars of teeming self-confidence with that characteristic ‘don’t give a fuck’ attitude and he gets some help in this department from the man he must have had in mind when crafting the abrasive, knocking beat. Dabbla slides in as only he could atop such an instrumental and instantly graces the cut with supreme flex.
The project does not only gain acclaim for it’s features though, as on the couple of solo tracks dotted across the album you find a slightly mellower and more introspective Dike, with ‘Still the Same James‘ being the best example of this. As Dike has grown as an artist this more personal and revealing side has gained more of a presence, to culminate in his projects being balanced with this musical yin and yang.
More than anything what I take from Dike’s music is the freedom he enjoys to truly speak his mind, which is no exception on ‘Acrylic Snail‘. The structure of the album with the layout of some foot-off-the-gas cuts in between the more hype feature track moments keeps your attention and accentuates the impact of each track to good measure, and keeps a lot of the great content here fresh.
‘Acrylic Snail‘ is out Friday December 14th via High Focus Records, order it here.