For so many years, our American cousins had the hip-hop game pretty much tied up. But over the last ten years or so, us Brits have fought back, delivering game-changing acts such as Dizzee, Wiley, and Tinchy. Last year Skepta scooped the Mercury music award, and Kano released his career best album ‘Made In The Manor’. Whilst the success of these artists has paved the way for others to follow, it has also opened the floodgates, making it harder the filter out the emerging talent from the wannabes. Making stand out hip-hop music is about thinking outside the box, and creating something new and original. Enter Croydon MC Loyle Carner, who releases his debut album ‘Yesterday’s Gone’ on AMF Records.
So what we can expect from the South London boy’s first long-player? After several stella single releases, signs wee promising that an equally impressive album could follow. It’s an album packed with many different elements of what makes hip-hop great, mixing chilled-out, and often old-skool, urban beats with more analogue, organic sounds, which will no doubt translate to a great sounding live set. It throws together jazz, soul, and pop with his killer flow. Its well annunciated and clearly delivered lyrics remind us that this genre above anything else is poetry set to music, and from the first play it is the lyrics that stand out.
It couldn’t be kicked off in more style than with album-opener ‘The Isle of Arran’, which uses looped gospel vocals, complete with hand claps to give it a real southern-soul sound; something not really used by many of his contemporaries. It kind of sets the tone for the rest of the album. Nothing seems rushed, and the production really lends to the overall sound. In parts the music is totally stripped back, and the beats minimal. Like on ‘Florence’ for example, featuring vocals from Kwas. It’s a track obviously written with a lot of love and attention to detail, making it one of the stand-out tracks. I can’t remember the last time I heard a song with so many references to pancakes either. Food-based songs always work for me.
There’s so much thrown into this album, and on the first several plays I discovered something new that I had missed the previous time. The album as a whole has a really sweet sound, that in completely engaging right through to the last track. Whilst so many hip-hop artists focus on material things, ‘Yesterday’s Gone’ is an album about real things that so many people will be able to relate with. Even the toughest of soul’s will melt on the epic closing track ‘Sun of Jean’, which features a very special guest vocalist closing proceedings like no one else could. This is a hip-hop album with heart, that really gives us into an insight into who he really is.
Whilst its only January, I think it’s clear to see that this could be one of the most important rap albums of the year.
Yesterday’s Gone is available for you to get your listening gear round from 20th Jan.
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