Kano has long been viewed as the undercard warrior in the Grime scene in Britain, his raw individual style triumphing over more established names such as Wiley, Skepta, etc.
He is perceived by the watching Grime faithful in similar comparison to Jay Adams (the influential figurehead of the Z-Boys skateboard movement that exploded in the mid-70s), able to draw in jaw-dropping crowds of fans due to his originality and awe-inspiring tenacity yet who will always remain behind the prominent players of the game. This is what gives Kano that romanticist allure, and why he will always be the people’s champion of Grime.
His new album Made In The Manor abides by these objectives, whilst firmly establishing himself as a pure architect of genre-bending, boundary-breaking, era-challenging music. Simply put, Kano is an artist who comes around once in a lifetime and this album summarises justly why.
Made In The Manor delves from the rough East London streets where Kane Brett Robinson cut his teeth, to the chambers of government officials dictating society’s every move. The album kicks off with the heavy “Hail,” dragging the listener into a dark world of truth and irony: “Welcome to the jungle, king of this s*it, royal blood, welcome to the rumble,” it reads like a boxer’s thoughts before he’s about to enter the cauldron, wreaking of panache and swagger with a subtle hint of fear.
This is what makes Kano so critically acclaimed, the force of his lyrical content tells us of his character and what he has become whilst also echoing a little something of ourselves. This is incredibly rare in Grime, wherein coming across as the hardest battler and the toughest soldier is the be all and end all.
Split across 15 tracks, Kano delivers his profound artistry through an array of twisting emotions and subjective matter from the beauty of the summer months on “T-Shirt Weather in the Manor” to traditional East London culture on “This Is England”, backed up by socially conscious almost un-Grime like beats taking influence from rock, psychedelia and even classical.
The fact track nine, “Deep Blues,” features Britpop pioneer Damon Albarn gives you some idea of the high regard Kano is viewed upon by musicians across all walks of life. Instead of spitting about how much money and weed a man makes (which litters the Grime movement almost daily), Kano distances himself from that diluted sense of issue, preferring to speak on important socio-political topics with intelligence and leadership.
This album is truly Kano’s magnum opus, packed to the brim with track after track of immaculate songwriting. He takes Grime past its stereotypes and broadens its horizons unlike any Grime LP of the past.
Salute to man who was brave enough to try it, you executed it to perfection.