I’m Only Hugh, Man… is an unflinchingly real look into the life of Skank MC and while this EP may be rough around the edges, the grit and lack of pretence that has gone into this record will keep drawing you back for more.

It’s all about location here on Skank MC’s debut EP, and the Northern Territory-bred rapper brings us stories: the good, the bad, and the ugly from a part of this country that so often ends up in our consciousness for all the wrong reasons and so sadly misrepresented.

Hugh Winterflood, AKA Skank MC, is a youth carer from Alice Springs and it seems that all the despair, heartbreak and despondency he faces in possibly one of the most emotionally taxing jobs a person could have is poured out into this record. Raw, honest and unfailingly, well, human, Winterflood’s words flow straight from the heart – and there are some heart-wrenching moments here.

‘Northern TerrorStory’ is far and away a highlight here, and Winterflood is already an accomplished storyteller. If it’s flashy production values and catchy hooks you’re after then look elsewhere, but this track has the true guts of hip hop stamped all over it. Following the tale of a young man taken into care, Winterflood lays it all bare and relies on the story itself rather than cheap emotional clichés to get you thinking.

Perhaps what is most striking about I’m Only Hugh, Man… is Winterflood’s unwillingness to treat his audience as fools – instead, he creates an intimacy that will stay with you long after the last track has played. Winterflood draws much of his inspiration from his hometown and tracks like ‘Alice Kings’ pay tribute to a place he portrays as frustrating yet completely magnetic.

Closer ‘All Ya Really Need!’ is basically a giant exclamation mark around all the things in life that Winterflood, or indeed most people, cherish in their lives, and is well-meaning if a little on the goofy side.

3/5 stars

BY MARISSA DEMETRIOU

I’m Only Hugh, Man... is out independently.

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