In my humble opinion, Kano is one of, if not the most talented MCs Britain has to offer. His studio career began over a decade ago with an essential part of grime history- Home Sweet Home, which was ‘home’ to P&Q’s and Nite Nite, he then followed it up with another gem- 2007’s London Town. Recent years has seen Kano flourish outside of music, most notably for his lead role in cult Channel4 programme- Top Boy. And finally, on the same day the best rapper in the US (Kendrick) dropped a surprise album, the (arguably) best rapper in the UK blesses us with his fifth studio album- Made In The Manor.
Made In The Manor kicks things off with Hail, production-wise it’s somewhere between Yeezus and Chase & Status, and it gives a solid representation of what Made In The Manor is all about. ‘I guess that’s taking the flipping biscuit / Stealing a living with your sticky fingers / Crossing that pond and fishing for hits / We both gain from a little influence / But how comes nobody credits us Brits? / This ain’t no RP cup of tea music / It’s real east end theme music / No, I don’t know the Queen / But that bitch stays in my jean pocket’. *fire emoji*
Made In The Manor is a venomous grime project, with hard-hitting bars and gritty low-key production often featuring. However, while Kano illustrates the rough and relentless side to grime, he also nails what some grime artists such as Lowkey are known for- storytelling. Strangers, Drinking In The West End, and A Roadman’s Hymn are all toned back tracks giving K-A a platform to rhyme with narrowed purpose and sincerity. Kano’s lyrical and storytelling ability is hard to match on the platform of a full LP, and Made In The Manor is consistently potent: ‘Me and wifey just had beef / She’s tryna marry me while I’m tryna marry beats / Love you unconditionally even if I don’t speak it / First, let me duppy this scene shit.’
Kano’s fifth studio album is a long-awaited piece of music, and I’m certainly not the only one who rates the East-Londoner as one of the finest on the grime scene. Made In The Manor solidifies my already justified opinions. A plethora of superb instrumentals, notably intelligent structure, trademark lyricism, as well as an optimal combo of punchy venom with deft storytelling, Kano has crafted yet another essential grime album.
Verdict – WWWW