Artist: Mikill Pane
Album: Blame Miss Barclay
Tracks: 15 (19 Deluxe)
Release Date: 6th September 2013
Label: Universal – Virgin EMI
Mikill Pane, or Justin Uzomba is an artist that has appeared on this site before, following the release of his EP Lucky Strike, which you can find here. 5 months later, he’s just released his debut album Blame Miss Barclay. If you know of Pane, then you’ll know how long fans have been waiting for this after 5 EP’s and several singles.
Fortunately for myself and other Mikill Pane fans, Blame Miss Barclay is a piece of modern masterpiece containing tales of tragic urban life but sprinkled with upbeat comic relief. Pane is famous for his wordplay and comedic comments in his lyrics, often choosing simple lyrics to focus mainly on the art of poetry-to-music. However, we have seen The Hackney Wordsmith release a few tracks with outrageous bass, most notably Will Power’s working of Party Animal, featuring Empress. He’s certainly no Lil’ Wayne, but that’s what I like about him.
On the whole I have to say that the album isn’t so much like that, but more like You Don’t Know Me, a song released way before this album was released but was thankfully included on the album. This song, like many others on the album is a dark satirical insight into general life, or the side of life often ignored. It’s a narrative following the events that take place behind closed doors between a black boy and a white girl, and seemingly apparent racism. Mikill Pane tells how the father discriminates against the boy in the song for what appears to be race issues. However, as the song concludes, it’s made clear that it isn’t because “It’s not because you’re black that I don’t want you near my daughter, it’s cause you’re an Arsenal fan, I’m a Tottenham supporter.” On a base level, this shows how capable Mikill Pane is at creating humour, albeit uncomfortable humour, in his songs. However, perhaps I’m reading too far into it but I like to believe this offers an alternate dissection of life, showing that the black boy is prejudiced against the white man for assuming it was because of race, or perhaps the song shows that football rivalry has grown to the same scale as racism. There are a lot of possibilities, but at the end of the day, there’s no denying Mikill Pane’s ability to make you think.
One of my other favourite songs on the album is a re-working of a song that appeared on the Lucky Strike EP by the name of Lucky (Re-work of Lucky Strike). If you read my review on this EP, then you’ll be aware of how controversial and yet commercially viable that song is. The edit on Blame Miss Barclay includes a re-working of the lyrics based around the same subject. The music is more solemn and serious and the lyrics are more thought out and considered. It’s evident to hear how seriously Mikill Pane has taken constructing this record, it’s certainly no half measure.
Here’s a song from Pane’s new album, broken down and acoustic:
One the whole there are very few poor aspects of the album. One of them is that I don’t always feel that the album flows very well, and that it’s more of a mix-tape, or collection songs that Pane is particularly proud of. Naturally, it isn’t easy to flow songs that all sound very diverse and original, which is a great thing in a way, but it just doesn’t have the flow between songs as what you’d expect from a man who prides himself on flowing.
Mikill Pane’s Blame Miss Barclay is in my top five albums released this year and it’s worth every penny. Get your copy now.