Do Not Listen To Mikill Pane

Everyone likes breaking rules, and I’m going to give you three good reasons to break the one typed above. If I’m writing a feature exclusively on one artist, you know I mean it too.

It’s no secret that we’re big fans of Mr. Pane’s work here at OTU, and there’s little doubt that he’s one of very few UK rappers that can command a microphone in such a multifarious manner, adapting himself to dubstep-influenced beats just as comfortably as brighter productions, and many more in between.

There lies the focus of this feature: ‘many more in between’. With the release of what’s been referred to as his ‘debut’ single, Summer In The City, many will be unfamiliar with his work outside of the few tracks fed to you here, so head below and see just why I regard him as the most listenable rapper in the UK scene. Reviews and downloads available for his three best tracks with one click of your grubby mouse.

Whilst I can’t claim to own everything he’s put out (Soundcloud download limits put paid to those attempts!), I’ve narrowed what I do own into a definitive three outstanding efforts. This doesn’t include the two tracks linked above, though if it did this would forcefully become a top 5. These aren’t in any order as they’re three very different songs, keep that in mind!

Mikill Pane-Late Night Freedom
-Kicking off with arguably his most digestable track as far as a mainstream/majority audience goes, Mikill Pane hooks up with running mate Will Power for a track that is part-dancefloor stomper, part-storyteller and part-chillout. The amalgamation of the three styles results in a holistic, versatile piece that stomps on the usual hip-hop dichotomy of ‘club rap’ or ‘conscious rap’, offering a quietened, head-nodding energy in both the production and the hook that dovetails brilliantly off Mikill’s incredibly descriptive verses.

The beat gives the track a considerable and consuming presence, blending high-tempo drum work with almost ambient synth and sample work, adding a richness and diversity that ensures the track never relies too heavily on any particular aspect of the production. Mikill’s verses come packed into an agile, accelerated flow that rides along with the speedy perucssion nicely, infusing Mikill’s natural laidback delivery with a sense of urgency, whilst his lyrics make for engaging listening as he connects the subject’s mindset with his own socio-cultural observations by virtue of rapping in the third-person. A brilliantly rounded track that will appeal to casual listeners looking for a high-tempo, easy-listening effort, and also to the more concentrated fans with a solid lyrical output.

Ed Sheeran-Little Lady ft. Mikill Pane
-They say first impressions count for a lot. This track served as an introduction to Mikill for Indi, myself and many others, was discussed at length with Ed Sheeran earlier this year in our exclusive interview, and is quite simply one of the finest examples of storytelling from any hip-hop artist. Bringing forward some meaningful issues with each verse, alongside smaller stories within a larger, encircling story, it’s a gripping effort that made an incredible first impression of Mikill Pane.

Remixing Ed Sheeran’s now ubiquitous The A Team (which I believe reached the top 3 of the charts today, congratulations Ed!), Mikill proceeded to construct a dramatic series of verses that painted a vivid, vibrant set of mental images through a combination of simple, uncomplicated lyricism, consistency and clarity. Also, as Indi put it, ‘his constant referral to the protagonist of the story as “you” creates a very clever way of making you relate to the story even if you’ve never been through such hardships’. Crucially, the verses are delivered in a concise manner that makes efficient use of every line he raps, as the story progresses smoothly with every line and unravels a harrowing series of events with a sobering dose of realism. It all builds to a tense, moving and ultimately shocking ‘final act’, where the precision and detail of Pane’s lyrics creates an incredibly gripping experience, and also offers consistency with his opening two lines (I won’t ruin it by quoting them, listen for yourself). The highest compliment I can pay any song is when it moves me to the point of feeling as though I’ve just watched an incredible film, and it’s the truest evaluation I can make of this wonderful effort.

Mikill Pane-Learning To Swim
-Taken from his Shatter EP, this counts as a display of Pane’s storytelling abilities, but adapting his masterful skills in a more metaphorical manner. It also has a solid blend of the above two tracks, combining that descriptive rapping style with a catchy yet meaningful female hook that gives it a wholesome, complete feel in a different manner to the above

The production has a suitably aquatic, underwater feel with the atmospheric synth work and echoed notes, backed by a minimal percussion in the odd bass thump and not a whole lot else. It sounds like an empty production, but it really isn’t: the synth work creates an engrossing soundscape by combining a dark, nighttime feel with light hits of bright spots. It provides Pane with a superb platform to weave a tapestry of images with a tale of someone struggling underwater for survival infused with life lessons on the perils of lust, greed and more, almost completing the entire set of deadly sins with each couplet of raps, and highlighting the parallels of the underwater struggle with many struggles in a less physical sense, potentially even those of an aspiring underground rapper. It’s all anchored superbly by a wistful, almost haunting hook that enhances those purposeful messages and rounds the song off nicely.

Summer In The City available now for less than the price of a cheeseburger. Remember, a cheeseburger doesn’t work on iTunes.

Listen To Mikill Pane.

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