Release Date: Mar 4, 2016
Record label: Parlophone
Genre(s): Rap, Club/Dance, Garage Rap/Grime, British Rap
Kano’s position in grime’s pantheon is a curious one. As the genre’s renaissance got underway last year, he was not to be found in the background of other people’s videos or on stage with Kanye West at the Brits. Instead he bided his time and staged a comeback on his own terms. Made in the Manor is a reflection on days gone by in east London: lyrics namecheck roads, postcodes and hairdressers, while musically the production ranges from stabby, Pendulum-style synths (Hail) to pulsating bass and a more minimal sound (New Banger).
Grime’s profile has never been greater, its bond with hip-hop never tighter. At last year’s Brit Awards, Kanye West was flanked by a cabal of UK MCs—including Skepta, Stormzy, and Jammer—when he performed his single “All Day”. More recently, Drake announced on Instagram that he’d signed to Skepta’s Boy Better Know imprint. Grime artists are rightly scrambling to capitalise on this heightened visibility.
It’s a sign of the times that the recent grime ‘revival’ has brought plenty of brilliant songs, but, as yet, no classic albums. While young Stormzy takes his time with his debut and Skepta (hopefully) puts finishing touches to Konichiwa, Kano returns with Made In The Manor - his first album in six years. The rapper, born Kane Robinson, certainly knows a thing or two about classic grime records.
As Made In The Manor reveals, Kano is a deft hand at hopping effortlessly back and forward through time at will, before, inevitably, returning to the streets of London. One moment he's pacing the heady dubplate house parties of the late 90s, the next he flips back to his schooldays full of space invaders, wagon wheels and Super Soaker 2000s. Suddenly he's observing his mother's generation enduring racial tension in a monocultural Canning Town before fast-forwarding to 2005 and reliving his leap to the big time.