Up close at the intimate show...

Kano is living testament to the success hard work and excelling at your craft can bestow on a person.

As an MC, he’s one of the most flexible, and traditionally music, voices of his generation, someone respected across his peer group. Yet he’s also excelled as an actor, with 2019 bringing his excellent album ‘Hoodies All Summer’ and a role in the returning Top Boy.

A drama set in Kano’s very own East London, the rapper teams up with Wray and Nephew for this extra-special show. Part of their Wray Residency, they’ve outfitted Newham Leisure Centre as a state of the art venue, with an impeccable soundsystem, arena-level lighting, and a bar packed with rum cocktails.

Kano couldn’t resist, and neither could the lucky fans who managed to get tickets. Beaming throughout, the rapper is a figure of pride and contentment – his family are right at the front, and he reminisces throughout about his childhood in Newham, and what the place still means to him.

It’s only right to experience Kano’s music in this locality. After all, he came up through the hyper-localised ranks of grime, and Newham forms such a potent backdrop to both the lyrical themes and sonic templates that rivet together on ‘Hoodies All Summer’.

Deconstructing the set up from last night’s show – at North London’s Drumsheds – Kano literally packs a far larger set up into the ad hoc venue. Somehow, though, it all works out, from the gorgeous choral contributions, through to Theon Cross on sousaphone adding some bold brass flavour.

Naturally, there’s a few guests, too. D Double E and Ghetts are greeted as returning heroes on ‘Class Of Deja’, and the natural interplay between the three artists is a sight to behold – spitting bars with real grace, it’s like watching Ronaldo leap over the fence of the nearby football pitches for a quick game of five a-side.

Ending the set by inviting every single musician involved to take a bow onstage, the evening becomes a testament to group endeavour over the individual, honouring a culture instead of individual achievements.

Humble throughout, it’s a typically self-effacing gesture from Kano on the soil he calls his own.

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