Bee Mick See (AKA Brendan McCarthy) has a unique perspective on the world. Having moved from Portland, Oregon to Belfast when he was younger, he earned himself the title of the Belfast Yank. On this album of the same name, the catchy melodies and witty observations act as an introduction to his wacky style. His Belfast accent, a prominent and sometimes abrasive feature throughout, grows on you with each track and as you begin to listen to what he is saying, rather than how he is saying it, is when you can fully appreciate Bee Mick See for the wordsmith that he is.
He proves time and time again on the album that he is greatly gifted in the art of storytelling. Whether it’s explaining the journey from America to Belfast and the hesitation that came with it, or telling an alarming story of self-harm (‘Death’), he immerses the listener into his world with detailed imagery. His strong accent also allows him to construct rhymes with his native turn of phrase, and due to the lack of Northern Irish rap acts, it looks like he’s one of the first to do so with such professionalism.
Production wise, it is an eclectic mix of sounds, most of which are formed around pop infused melodies. It allows for an accessibility to his music than may not be as easily achievable for other hip hop artists. McCarthy never settles for a simple loop to carry the track either, always progressing the sound the further into the song you get. ‘Alphabetic Blocks’ is perhaps the track which best encapsulates the aesthetic sound. Its stomping beat wouldn’t sound out of place on an 80’s fighting game load screen.
The album can be hit or miss, but it is never a full track that falls short, more so a hook here and there. ‘Awkward’ initiates with all the ingredients of a captivating hip hop song, a menacing beat that compliments his fast paced rhyming. However, by the time the chorus hits, it becomes more of a dish of generic rock, served up with anthemic drums and a side of cheesy lyrics.
That aside, there is no denying that the whole project is oozing with massive amounts of potential. While the accent may stand in the way for some initially, it is actually what makes Bee Mick See such a stand-alone artist. His cheerful disposition, even during the more serious tracks, is a refreshing one to see in a hip hop artist. If his potential is realised to the fullest, don’t be surprised to see a surge in Belfast rap acts, with Bee Mick See firmly at the helm.