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Published on November 15th, 2019 | by voxx

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Kano – Hoodies all Summer

The old head’s grime overtures for the youth… 

Kano cuts a curious figure among grime’s elder statesmen. His knotty rhymes initially set him apart, but collaborations with Damon Albarn and Craig David helped seal the movement’s commercialisation. A decade and a half later, Hoodies All Summer, the East Londoner’s sixth album, grimly surveys a future he once coveted, where Stormzy seems a Bond theme away from knighthood yet the communities that raised him remain in crisis.

With grandiose, Motown-catchy hip-hop productions, Kano is determined to prove that, like Kanye West and Jay-Z, Brits can wax cinematic on matters of life and death. While preachiness rarely flatters battle-trained MCs, roller-coaster wordplay here makes the 34-year-old’s sermons fun to untangle, even on harrowing subjects. In a short film accompanying the album, the bouncy soul pianos of single ‘Trouble’ soundtracks a domestic scene upended when a teenager, sent to fetch rice, is stabbed by unidentified rivals. “You ever seen a mother’s tears run down Gucci glasses?” Kano raps. The result of endless beef, he counsels the youth, is wasted creativity and wasted money.

Coming from this older, wealthier grime luminary, moral condescension would be tiring but for his readiness to sacrifice “thug lines” for endearingly earnest overtures. On the chilly ‘Good Youtes Walk Amongst Evil’, he pulls it off with English charm. “I ain’t handing out man no brollies,” he spits, “when I rain on all of these wallies.” When Hoodies All Summer hits full flow, the heavens open.

- By Jake White


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