Poignant lyricisms and adept collaborations make Kano's latest offering shine
Matty Pywell
16:28 29th August 2019

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Knife crime has been on the rise in the UK. Nowhere more so than in London, where for every 100,000 people, there are estimated to be 169 instances of knife crime. Perhaps, the most shocking statistic is that 41 percent of people caught for knife crimes in London are aged between 15-19.

On Hoodies All Summer, Kano writes about a culture that few people understand due to its complexity, where people see it as a necessity to carry a knife and are all but ignored by those in government. He is constantly disillusioned with the pointless losses of life involved with gang violence, whether it be shootings or stabbings it all just leads to funerals as Kano details on ‘Good Youtes Walk Amongst Evil’. 

The song ‘Trouble’ begins with the words of Darcus Howe who highlights the abandonment of young black people by society, who are being given less opportunities, therefore forcing them to resort to crime to make a living. Halfway through the track, you are struck by screams as the brutal reality of a stabbing comes to fruition via audio clips. It comes as a knockout blow from leftfield. 

But ‘Trouble’ isn’t all about the horror of knife crime and the oppression faced by black people in society. The contrastingly upbeat keys represent a defiance of accepting knife crime as a societal norm, with Kano delivering a message that it is possible to get out of that life, that there is hope and at the end of the day life is too short for all the trouble. 

While on the surface, the concept of the record can look as dour as rain under grey skies, but there are more levels to Kano’s sound on Hoodies All Summer. ‘Can’t Hold Me Down’ was recorded in Jamaica with Popcaan and the Caribbean influence is there for all to see (and hear) on the track's instrumentals. A song that sees Kano rap about the girls and champagne that come with his lifestyle, while still paying homage to his roots. There are also moments of aggression throughout, such as on ‘Free Years Later’ where Kano’s vocal velocity achieves an effect of falling dominoes, where words begin to stumble over each other as he can barely contain his fury. 

The album closer ‘SYM’ is not quite Aristotle, with its title being an abbreviation of the phrase “suck your mum”, that Kano has used as a means to belittle racist attitudes that black people “enjoy” gang violence and rioting. It is a hilarious tongue-in-cheek takedown of racist prejudice, that references the Windrush scandal and the mistreatment of black people within our society. Yet the theme of hope despite prejudice is perpetual throughout Hoodies All Summer and the final thought Kano leaves you with is that of community and through community comes survival.

Hoodies All Summer features poignant lyricism and discussion around the themes of race and youth violence within British society. There are a couple of brilliant collaborations, particularly with Popcaan and Kojo Funds, with ‘Class of Deja’ being the only real let-down due to the distractingly awful ad-libs and some sub-par vocals from D Double E. Otherwise, this is one of Kano’s strongest albums yet that has seen him take a more extrinsic outlook than on previous record Made In The Manor. 

Hoodies All Summer is released on 30 August 2019 via Parlophone.

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