Hip hop artist, Kano, is one of the UK grime scene’s godfathers. He’s had hits such as ‘Typical Me’ and ‘This is the Girl’, and has appeared on albums by Chase & Status, Gorillaz and many more. Made in the Manor is his fifth album, and pulls no punches in reaffirming the MC’s greatness.
It took them a while, but they made it in the end. And they’ve done good.
Soon at the Latest is the debut album from Fur, an eight-piece hip hop-jazz collective from east London. Similar to the music of BadBadNotGood or El Michels Affair, this an album cramped with verdant instrumentals for late nights and crosstown journeys. It’s cheeky, it’s charming and it’s wildly refreshing.
For those who have been living without internet access for last three years, here’s a brief update on the state of the planet to put British rapper and spoken word artist Kate Tempest’s second album in context: the Earth is in a dire state. Rising divisions between rich and poor, and intolerance and miscommunication are everywhere. Meanwhile, the rise of big business continues, while the culture of the self quietly keeps the “modern revolution” – helpfully prophesised by voting-sceptic Russell Brand, among others – pacified.
Kate Tempest came to the attention of many in 2013 with her Mercury Prize-nominated debut album, Everybody Down, an effecting concept album that focused on a young couple, their troubled relationship and hard-bitten city living. With her second album, Let Them Eat Chaos, Tempest has built on her experiences to produce a powerful reflection of life in Britain today, from the high-stakes city workers to the down-and-outs living on the breadline.
Twenty-year-old Loyle Carner has a disarmingly truthful way of describing the hardships of being a young urbanite in a nation where the cost of living is slowly choking so many.
Today I took a trip to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford, and, thanks to the curiosity of my companion, found myself standing on the circular observation deck of the ArcelorMittal Orbit.
It’s a stirring rallying call to hear music representing your town or your neighbourhood especially. Unlike the US, however, we tend to be reserved when it comes to bigging up our roots, humble or not, here in the UK. It’s often dissenting voices – be it the rebellious words of The Clash’s Joe Strummer or Lewisham grime artist Stormzy – who are the first to shout about their home turf, why they love it and why others should respect it.
Yet this is nothing new to punk-ska group The Skints, whose roots lie amid the bustle of the multicultural marketplaces and marshlands of London’s east end. ‘This Town’, the lead single from their forthcoming third album, FM, is a stupendous celebration of London’s vibrancy and people, and of the suburban neighbourhoods at opposite ends of the Victoria line.
In the last four months, I have seen London in completely new ways.
I’ve been down on the streets, high-tailing it across town on all manner of transport and discovering the city after dark. As the saying goes: you live in the city, but you never do these things until somebody comes to visit – or in my case, until I started a postgrad journalism course that required me to get out and meet people.