A return to roots, a call to arms...
'Made In The Manor'

Whether you want your grime emcees to do grime and nothing else, the facts are that Dizzee has done EDM, Wiley/Roll Deep went pop, Skepta followed suit before coming home, and Kano – one of grime’s establishment who perhaps hasn’t converted skills into a chart buster like those mentioned - is a long established explorer of all avenues. ‘Home Sweet Home’ undercut straight grime with softer gloss and pranks. Digitised mishmash ‘London Town’ drafted in Craig David and Kate Nash with pop producer Fraser T Smith in his pomp. ‘Method to the Maadness’ utilised Boyz Noize and Hot Chip better than anticipated, after ‘140 Grime Street’ felt it had to redress the balance of realness.

‘Made in the Manor’ adds a lot of intro/retrospection and referencing to the East End state of mind, as if reciting old diary entries or making commuter observations through tube stops. From the puncturing of innocence (‘T-Shirt Weather in the Manor’), to general people watching across the capital and beyond (‘This is England’, ‘Drinking in the West End’), Kano gets his grown man on. Short of becoming a Pearly King, his travelcard takes you to every kerb and hot/blackspot, reminding that whatever the postcode, street dreams in The Big Smoke stay real.

Unable to leave overdone rock guitars alone with the opener ‘Hail’, Kano resumes his relationship with Damon Albarn on ‘Deep Blues’ in assessing life lessons. Concepts (‘Little Sis’, schmaltz aside, laments a distanced sibling), and grime-horned hammers (‘New Banger’, ‘3 Wheel Ups’ with Wiley and Giggs), put familiarly uneven album flow in a nutshell. Some soft bits, some harder bits, some chart-aimed bits that won’t guarantee a Top 10 finish. Pop or not, Kano’s mic guarantee - the “flow they don’t make no more...not 140 but it’s fuckin’ raw...” - speaks for itself.

7/10

Words: Matt Oliver

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