this is England – kano

It’s great to know East London still swaggers when it comes to summer anthems. Kano’s ‘Rocky Stairway Flow’ has all the hallmarks of ‘Greatest Rapper in the World™’ era Jay-Z. But the accent is authentic Chicken Connoisseur. This song was on at every party, every barbecue and every summer drinks on the lawn I attended last year… In quite posh rural Hertfordshire.

Kano’s always been real about keeping it real and Made In The Manor is no exception. The production is big time fanfare hip hop but the bars are all still home turf. ‘Back when Lethal Bizzle was Lethal B’ might not be throwing as far back as some retrospective music gets because this isn’t ‘The Day The Music Died’.

He’s referencing swinging 60’s London where ‘Reggie Kray got rich’ and ‘Jellied eels, pie and mash, two pints of that pride on tap’ are the touchstones of tradition. Don’t be misled though the major concerns here are butt twerks, cuss words, champagne and house parties.

It’s not exactly a musical Call The Midwife as modern blights creep into Kano’s vision ‘ASBO kids on the crack here, super tenants on a bench, brown packet’ while he’s ‘trying to keep it straight in a town full of crooks’ he’s got time to pay tribute to contemporaries. Lethal, Wiley are name checked. References for telly comedian Catherine Tate and Jazz legend Lucky Thompson creep into the mix too but Kano is more than the sum of his bars.

Kano is a scene leader because of his command of flow. He’s got a golden touch to making the everyday and the esoteric sound like they belong together, in the ‘always the same, always full of change’ melting pot that is E6.

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