‘Ladies and Gentlemen…’, the album begins, ‘the one and only…’, it continues, ‘Mister fucking Dirty fucking Dike fucking Staaarrrr’. And how true! There is only one Dirty Dike. There will only ever be one. He truly is an enigma of a man – the most eloquent and thought provoking smack-addled ne’er-do-well ever to grace England’s town centres, with his corrosive bodily fluids and even more hazardous spray of brilliant but innocence-taintingly filthy rhymes.
This was actually the first album I chose for our album review podcast as being a sucker for a good turn of phrase myself I’ve been a big fan of Mr Dike’s work for many years. Here is an artist who has it all: the over the top, bombastic personality of a star; plenty of musical talent in his innovative collection of beats (they really are good – most of my favourites are probably on his later album, Return of the Twat); and most importantly truly staggering lyrical ability transforming mundane acts such as taking drugs, pissing and shitting, being a public nuisance, and eating pork pies into a captivating journey down a never-ending rabbit hole of lexical complexity.
I wrote down a few quotes while revisiting the album, and I think this might be the one to illustrate for you its general milieu. From Pork Pie:
‘Pick and mix baby, covered in the future. Juggling the truth like I’m stuck in a computer. Fuck it, you’re in tune to the troubles of a loser. Cuddling the tube, love, and suck it like a hoover. Nothing but the truth. Getting buggered in a room, full of fantasised punishments, smothered on the tune. You’d better walk by, or get force fed a pork pie.’
I’ll readily praise Dirty Dike for his abundant talent and his lovable rogue personality, but he certainly ain’t perfect. Funny as it is, to be honest the themes of necking cans, snorting coke, shouting, fighting, and fucking do start to wear thin after a while, even for a connoisseur like me. For every punch line that had me creasing with laughter, of which there were a lot, there were twice as many of (very competent and creative, mind you) filler.
The guest rappers on the album do help to brake up the uniformity a bit (although they really don’t deviate from that same list of themes), and there’s a fairly wide range of tone on show. My favourite tracks are definitely the upbeat bass-slapping tunes like Hi I’m James and Pork Pie where I think his style really shines. These are contrasted with slower, more melancholic examples like Yeah I Act Like a Freak and Never Seen a Reason which are still good in their own slightly depressing way. But apart from the unnecessary skit tracks, Where Is Scissor Tongue and Inabit (seriously, why do rappers put skit tracks on their records?? It’s just annoying), there isn’t a song on this album that I wouldn’t listen to again.
There’s so much content and style here, and when combined with the magnetic personality of ‘Mr Melon-Skin’ it really does make for a unique and worthwhile experience. My enjoyment of his songs, I would say, comes from the comedic spectacle of the character of Dirty Dike almost as much as from the music itself. He’s just hilarious, especially if like me you spent your teenage years dealing with, and occasionally being an example of, just the type of responsibility-bashing, serotonin-fiending, loud, obnoxious lout that he portrays. That’s not to suggest, by the way, that he’s not really like that. I’m sure he is, just exaggeratedly so in his music.
I’d never suggest that this album is for everybody, but I would recommend you approach it with a robust sense of humour and an open mind and see what you think. I love it, but because of the inherent drawbacks that come with the subject matter and presentation and the fact that my enjoyment of it may be very esoteric, I’m giving it a contextual score of 6.5 out of 10.
The song, Average Wank Fam, however, gets a solid 11/10.
Thanks for reading.
Written – May 2020
Published – May 2020