With gas determined to hover around $4/gal (or if you're in New York or New Jersey post-Sandy, $infinity/gal...), it makes sense that bike culture is getting mainstreamed in a big way right now. Enter UK indie rapper Mikill Pane with his new EP Dirty Rider.
The title track is an ode to fixed gear bikes. It's every bit as ridiculous as it is dope. Rapping over a live band that's equal parts indie rock and reggae, Pane declares himself a “wild fixie punk.” It's the sort of track designed for the involuntary response “oh shit, man! Check this out!” followed by multiple re-watches. For sure, your mileage will vary depending on whether you find a rapid-fire stream of bike puns charming or tiresome. But for real, how can you not love this line: “If you can handle bars / let down your mud guard / and let me in / I'm just trying to peddle shit / but I'm not selling anything.”
The rest of the EP is a less jokey, but boasts the same endless creativity. “Smashing Bricks” and “The Craig Bang” are built from the same pieces as “Dirty Rider.” Dope, clever rhymes over indie rock. Mikill Pane's dynamic presence on these tracks is infectious. It's the collaboration with Rizzle Kicks, “Work,” that really shines though. The production is much more dub and old-school party music. The creative chemistry between Mikill Pane and Rizzle Kicks rivals Mos Def and Talib Kweli at their best. (yeah, I know it's Yasiin Bey now, but he was Mos in Black Star so...)
Mikill Pane is reportedly working on his full length debut now, but in the meantime you can pick up the Dirty Rider EP on iTunes and his You Guest It EP for free here.
- Words by Nathan Leigh