Pit Closure


f there’s one thing that 25 years of hip-hop culture has taught us it’s that rappers can take a joke as long as they’re the ones telling it. From Eminem down to that guy who insists on rhyming at your local drum n bass night, MCs are more than happy to make like Oscar Wilde when they’re in control of the situation, but if you, or a cigar smoking puppet dog, happen to make with the laugh laugh at their expense, then there’s usually a small degree of hell to pay. Thus, the music industry, and more importantly us poor bastards that have to listen to its output, need Pitman.

The shortened bio doesn’t do the man justice: longtime UKHH no-hoper Styly C back in 2002 decides to pretend to be a miner and shouts random semi-formed catchphrases over the “Simon Says” beat. Then as a follow-up he perfects his style on “Phone Pitman”, a kind of parallel universe take on “Stan” wherein “Stan” isn’t a mediocre dirge, wherein Pitman takes an aspiring MC to task for attempting to kick a verse down the phone to him (“You think Jay-Z’s blowing up? He’s blowing something” and “You’re about as hardcore as Brian Harvey / On a Sunday I like to go for a carvery” being quoted ad infinitum over internet message boards for the following six months). Said singles become much bigger on MP3 than they did on actual real world, allowing the rapper to enter the lower half of various year end polls and get played by wacky radio DJs. He then steadfastly refuses to release some more novelty songs in order to have a cheap cash-in on this five minutes of fame, and thus releases It Takes A Nation of Tossers, in which he takes his entire fanbase to task (“Bought my seven inch, played it to your friends, laughing like you know me”), ending the entire album with the brilliant “Two Twats”, a tuneless skit featuring people reeling off a long list of Pitman catchphrases in Joey Deacon voices, as big a “Fuck you” as Pitman could have given to those who’d plugged his stuff at the time. The radio stopped playing him, and instead found Goldie Lookin’ Chain, who were only too happy to take their own fifteen minutes and lower the standard for hip-hop humour nationwide.

The thing is that It Takes A Nation of Tossers was a minor masterpiece. Ignoring the lyrics, the beats were sparkling, matching Pitman’s “Everything nowadays is shit” attitude with Run DMC style backings (even going as far to reuse the “Sucker MCs” beat at one point). So people didn’t “get it” then, but, as stated previously, these people now have GLC to soil their pants. The rest of us can sit back and enjoy the work of one of the most astute cultural commentators rap music has ever produced. And, more importantly, one of the funniest.

Longtime targets like The Streets, Tim Westwood, Jamie Oliver and students receive fresh batterings here, alongside new irritatnts such as ragga (“I don’t wanna dance just like I’ve shat”), Kerrang readers (“Inbred banjo players”), Tony Blair (“Let’s have an investigation into why you’re shit”) and Samantha Fox’s musical career (“Please keep singing, but do it in India”).

And, yes, a review of this tends to revolve around me just listing my favourite lines from the album, which lose so much when they’re not accompanied by the delivery. So whilst his views on Kylie (“Strewth, you’re the size of a child / Where’s Donovan gone with his long blonde fringe”) may just raise a smirk from you as you read this, rest assured I haven’t laughed as much since I heard Mark Thatcher might be going to prison for twelve years.

He’s extended his schtick from misanthropic monologues though. Now we also get extended musical parodies, under the guise of his “Soot FM” radio show. So we “your favourite pub boy” The Roads, who raps arhythmically in a spiv’s accent over a strangely familiar piano beat (“I was walking down the road / The road was green just like the man”) leading to a chorus of “He’s The Roads, he needs to rap and sing / From the London Eye to the Bullring”). There’s also Pitman’s take on grime, which to even attempt to write about would be doing it a disservice. Rest assured, all members of the blogsphere who hear it will be sobbing into their iPods.

There’s more. Tearful reminisces by an elderly man named Boris about his role in the birth of hip-hop. A reworked version of Pitman’s Giles Peterson diss, this time expanded to advocate the kicking of Trevor Nelson in the shins, but thankfully retaining “I bet you all go round Westwood’s house / Get into his big bath and listen to your’sen on minidisk”. And “Tony and George”, which does the work of a thousand Bruce Springsteen’s (“Trying to be cool, you ain’t got a clue / Having dinner with that twat from U2 / Give him a slap and snap his glasses / Get him in the sun a bit, he looks ill”). You really shouldn’t be reading me typing the entire lyric sheet to this album. You should be making moves to purchasing the damn thing and single-handedly raising the quality of your CD collection.

“You don’t get me one bit / That comes across when you review my shit” opines the erstatz colliery worker at one point. Get it, maybe not. Enjoy it, definitely.


Reviewed by: Dom Passantino

Reviewed on: 2004-11-08

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