Loyle Carner

by Finn Dickinson

Photo credit: Jack Davison.

When you think of British rap music, who comes to mind? Skepta? Stormzy? Dizzee Rascal? None of these answers should be especially surprising. Grime’s arrogation of the U.K. rap scene and its fans is no bad thing if you like hard-hitting beats and unfiltered braggadocio, but what if you prefer something a bit more restrained? Well, it may come as a bit of a surprise to some, but grime isn’t the only thing that the U.K. rap scene has to offer. British hip-hop is not only a well-established genre, but thanks to Loyle Carner, it’s currently enjoying a well-deserved moment in the spotlight.

Following in the footsteps of artists like Roots Manuva, Akala and Ghostpoet, the content of Loyle Carner’s debut album touches on a broad range of topics, from familial love and the music industry to poverty and crime. The music itself is similarly diverse - from the organic instrumental reverie of Mean it in the Morning and Damselfly to the gritty, sample-based swagger of Ain’t Nothing Changed and No Worries, the music and lyrics are intertwined in a beautiful symbiosis that’s fun and thought-provoking in equal measure. Get yourself down to Phoenix to see British hip-hop’s latest flag-bearer in action.