Kano – Made In The Manor
It’s hard to believe London grime legend Kano is only 30 years young. Since breaking out with his critically acclaimed debut, Home Sweet Home, he’s been a pillar of consistency in a genre that’s ebbed and flowed over the years. With grime once again making a splash, particular in America, thanks to the crossover success of Stormzy and Sekpta, Kano has returned from a six year absence with his fifth album Made In The Manor. It’s been worth the wait.
If you thought Kano might have softened over the years, he puts any doubts to rest on album opener Hail, declaring himself “King of this shit” over Rustie’s classic UK production. From then on, Made In The Manor is a personal journey through the last 10 years of Kano’s career, taking in everything from life in the council estate (Seashells In The East), broken friendships (Strangers) and personal heartache (Deep Blues, Lil Sis). He also looks at the grime and it’s current place in the music scene (This Is England), while teaming with two other legends, Giggs and Wiley on the crushing 3-Wheels Up.
Verdict: Kano has lost none of his swagger or bravado over the years, with this album finding him at his most focused and introspective yet.
Lil Yachty – Lil Boat
Lil Yachty is on the verge of big things. He’s hit single, Minnesota, got airplay on OVO Radio, he featured as model in Kanye West’s Yeezy 3 fashion extravaganza last month, and has been in the studio with A$AP Rocky and Tyler, The Creator. The Atlanta rapper is looking to make the most of his new found fame by dropping the surprise mixtape Lil Boat.
Sounding similar to fellow ATL contemporaries Young Thug and iLoveMakonnen, Yachty raps and croons his way through 14 tracks of trap heavy beats with a high level of auto-tune, a sound Yachty describes as “bubblegum-trap.” The production is impressive, with Yachty’s raps seemly obsessed with getting rich and slaying the ladies, but guess it’s hard to expect too much from an 18 year old who’s fast becoming the toast of the rap world. Quavo, Skippa Da Flippa and Young Thug make an appearance on the remix Minnesota while 1Night, his most successful release, is also included.
Verdict: This one’s strictly for fans of the current wave of weird, auto-tuned rappers that have taken the internet by storm.
David Banner – Before The Box
To tie fans over while he puts the finishing touches on eight album, The God Box, southern rapper David Banner has dropped the mixtape Before The Box. Comprising of unreleased material, off-cuts and tracks you’ve probably heard, Banner has chosen tracks that are relevant to the current situation of black lives.
Never one to back down from his beliefs or the plight of black America, Banner certainly gets his message across with this tape. Themes of racism, police brutality and the injustice plaguing the black community can be heard throughout Before The Box. Opener Uzi is a ferocious assault on racism and corrupt police, Malcolm X and Swag find Banner wishing young black American’s wouldn’t look at rappers as role models, while Evil takes a swipe at George Bush while highlighting major events spurned by racism.
Verdict: Aggressive, controversial, yet full of truth, this mixtape has me very excited for The God Box.