Kano: Hoodies All Summer

review kano x1 cong

Kano works in the genre of grime and is well respected. We don’t live in London or have to deal with knives and murder on a daily basis so can’t really relate to the world he talks about. As he says: “And these gunshots never reach your town / It’s never on top when you leave your house / But when we go servants / We might run into some beef or somethin’.”

We do know someone who left Tottenham after being awoken by police looking in their yard for a gun used in a shooting; at least they had the choice. The people Kano sings about do not have that choice.

Musically, it’s a mix of testosterone-loaded competitiveness — opener Free Years Later is rapped so fast as to be incomprehensible — balanced by melody, with a slick production tempered by the bleak lyrics, in turn tempered by the lyricism of Kano’s writing. His vocal performances are perhaps a little one dimensional but the lyrics approach the level of modern poetry.

Typical is Good Youtes Walk Among Evil – the “good youtes walk among evil and win” being the point – where he ranges from the political (“Give a penny for the guy / But they won’t give a penny to the streets”) to his own stance (“Life of a lyricist in the times that we’re living in / Gotta speak mind of the biggest things”) to the everyday: “On my nan’s road / They fire 4fizzys / One day she opened the door / To empty shells on the floor / Welcome to my city.” (4fizzys is slang for .45 magnum, but you knew that).

Trouble (quoted at the start) kicks off by sampling campaigner Darcus Howe before again tackling a range of topics, addressing those in power (“These gunshots never reach your town”) to the reality of life (“All our mothers worry when we touch the road / ‘Cause they know it’s touch-and-go / Whether we’re comin’ home”) and even a slightly older man’s bafflement at the beefs of youtes: “Post code war, and that’s the thing now / Young bucks beefin’ over street signs.”

A grim commentary on modern life, for some.

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