wed 21/02/2024

CD: Kano - Hoodies All Summer | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Kano - Hoodies All Summer

CD: Kano - Hoodies All Summer

A career best for an MC who's been at the heart of grime since its inception

Of all grime's original generation, Kano has a strong claim to being the greatest rhyme-constructor in the old school hip hop sense of dense rhymes packed with multiple meanings. Add movie star looks and a penchant for fur coats in photoshoots and he was most young grime fans' tip for following Dizzee Rascal into the big league.

But though he got the major label deal, MOBO awards, Mercury nominations and Damon Albarn collaborations, and though his 2016 Made in the Manor album hit the top ten, he's never quite parlayed that into becoming a breakout superstar, a household name in that Dizzee or Stormzy sense. 

Maybe this is the album to change that, though. The 18 minute video for “Trouble” and Class of Deja” – a beautifully framed depiction of the joy and pain of black families' life in London, featuring fellow veterans D Double E and Ghetts – has already made a big impact as a manifesto for grime as a fully mature form with wisdom to impart to younger generations. And the album follows through on that brilliantly. Kicking off with the gorgeous string sample from Sade’s 1992 “Pearls” (as also used in Asa Chang & Junray's 2001 bizarro ambient pop piece “Hana”) hints that it's going to be deadly serious and introspective, but the second Kano's voice comes in, it's clear that the seriousness is raging but also pumped up with wit and party ready beats and flows.

As ever, Kano is conscious, angry, lyrically dense – but here he's more focussed than ever. Where Manor kicked off hard, but then meandered in rather worthier old school hip hop territories at length, this is a lean and mean ten tracks, and is full of grime's eerie electronic tonalities – but also its roots in the rave. The presence of Jamaican dancehall star Popcaan and grime-turned-dance genius Lil Silva should give you the indication about how much this is aimed at DJs and dancers as much as broadsheet analysts. Funky and heart-wrenching, furious and funny, often all in the same verse, this easily his best yet and deserves huge success.


Watch "Trouble" / "Class of Deja":


As ever, Kano is conscious, angry, lyrically dense – but here he's more focussed than ever


Editor Rating: 
Average: 5 (1 vote)

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