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Kano 'Made In The Manor' review

Kano's unmistakable flow returns after six years and provides reassurances that grime is continuing to reach new heights - Henry Lewis reviews.

Henry Lewis

Last updated: 5th Sep 2016

Image: Kano

The omission of grime’s SAS, Stormzy and Skepta, from last month's BRIT awards was one of the biggest talking points in the world of music so far this year.

After the spectacular rise of the genre it was a shock to many when a remarkably white list of nominees was released, seemingly ignoring the vast wealth of urban talent that came to the fore throughout 2015.

Despite the ignorance of the BRIT awards, 2016 looks set to continue in a similar vein with the recent news that Boy Better Know will headline Wireless Festival this summer, as well as plans for album releases from the aforementioned Storzmy and Skepta.

Before all that comes the release of Kano’s first album in six years, Made In the Manor, and a real indication that grime's reassurance is filtering through to the artists that helped build the genre in its early years.

It’s been over a decade since the rapper’s debut release Home Sweet Home and since then a lot has changed. The unmistakable flow remains, as do the insightful lyrics, particularly in the likes of 'Endz'.

Kano's humility, a rarity in grime, is demonstrated in the words: "I'll make a little less paper and I'll left 'em with that, I get offers everyday, Rich, I ain't effing with that".

The appearance of Wiley and Giggs on '3 Wheel Ups' results in the kind of in your face track more commonly associated with the genre, though this is certainly no criticism.

It's a tune that is brimming with bravado and blaring synths and wouldn't sound out of place on a JME record. After Kano appeared on Gorillaz's 2010 album Plastic Beach, it was up to Damon Albarn to return the favour, leading to one of the most surprising collaborations you're likely to see on a grime album.

The unsurprisingly melancholy 'Deep Blues' is a stark insight into Kano's world which has seen those close to him affected by violence and drugs.

Made In The Manor is a lyrical masterpiece from start to finish, its stark Britishness is refreshing and somewhat surprising (would you really expect a grime artist to rap about pie and mash?), yet the integrity of the genre remains.

This is best represented in closing track 'My Sound', a triumphant ending to an album that takes the listener to some dark places at times.

While horns blare and marching drums keep the beat, Kano's lyrics show his dissatisfaction with grime: "that's the motherfuckin' thanks I get from this scene/ten years deep a thousand 16's" - yet it is clear this has not hindered him.

If this proves to be Kano's last album, it will certainly go down as era defining and as grime continues to reach new heights, It's a shame to think the rapper is becoming disillusioned with a scene that he has done so much for.

Kano plays at Edinburgh's Liquid Room on Wednesday 12th October - tickets are available from the box below

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Words: Henry Lewis 

Read: Drake signs to grime label Boy Better Know