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08-30-06, 11:51 PM
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South West England tonight welcomes the repertoire of rising MC Kano. A year or so onwards from his debut LP release “Home Sweet Home” I talk to the grime all-star about what it is to be grime, the London-specificity of the sound and Cameron’s (the politician, not Purple Byrd Gang member) invective on Tim Westwood. Grime’s rise in stock and interest has led several quarters to wage the hypothesis that grime, or whatever, is not hip-hop. Such banal formulations appear trite upon engaging with Kano, whether on-stage with the mic or off-stage in conversation. The young adult Kane Robinson (we must not forget) lets the clichés do the talking. Performing at the Exeter Respect Festival 2006, Kano is the headline feature on a bill celebrating diversity and musical ingenuity. The night is not without its hassle-points: there is an unfortunate display of off-stage banter which lulls the set midway. Kano, the ever-adept entertainer, wistfully brings back proceedings on their correct path. Mehul met Kano backstage after the set...

David Cameron some weeks back made an attack on Westwood. Westwood plays hip hop largely American and some UK. The influence of that, Cameron argues, inspires violence and crime. Some mainstream presses have labelled grime as promoting aggressive behaviour, especially at raves. How do you even begin to respond to that?

I don’t know. I wouldn’t say it’s down to the music. Obviously, it might have a slight influence but you get trouble at garage raves man, when they’re not chatting about violence. You get trouble at old school raves and all that stuff. I wouldn’t say it’s directly the music. I haven’t really got anything against Westwood. He can play what he wants to play, and they can say what they want to say on record. The radios are playing it: they can cut out a couple of words but we know what it all means.

The menial stuff: next album?

I’ve just been in the studio. I haven’t got any dates or schedule prepared.

How do you go from writing 16 bars to making a mixtape to producing a full-length album?

I was making songs from a long time ago. First time they kind of heard me was when I made this song called ‘Boys love Girls.’ I was always writing songs. Obviously I’d been writing lines in the playground but I haven’t always been another MC doing 16 bars of no content. You need the ability to write songs in the correct format. I’ve always been practising that. I’m naturally talented in that.

So are you a songwriter in the traditional sense?

Yeah. Definitely. You have to be a songwriter if you want to be an artist. I’m an artist, man. You can’t have 16 bars of nothing.

"... When the music developed from Garage, there was never a name associated with it. The media has kind of caught on with ‘Grime.’ They can call it whatever they want to call it, it’s not up to me

Was the Roll Deep album a compromise between what was expected of grime as a sound and marketable urban music?

I suppose it was. They had their songs like ‘When I’m Ere,’ the standard grime sound and then they had their songs like ‘Avenue.’ It’s just like I had my standard grime songs ‘Ps & Qs’ and ‘Mic Check’ sitting next to songs like ‘Brown Eyes’ and ‘Typical Me.’ I feel that just because you’re affiliated with one thing doesn’t mean it should stop you from experimenting with other things. You know, just because Jay-Z made ‘Reasonable Doubt’ a straight hip-hop record doesn’t mean you can’t do ’99 Problems’ with a rock guitar. It’s like he can experiment and do what he likes, he can do what he’s into, rather than what people expect.

suppose it is a compromise if you’re going to play that game, but you’ve got to have a variation and if you can make it sound good or not.

So what is grime to you? Is it Eski; is it Sublow?

[Laughs] The name just came. When the music developed from Garage, there was never a name associated with it. Wiley was a big part of it: he called it Eski. The media has kind of caught on with ‘Grime.’ They can call it whatever they want to call it, it’s not up to me. But I wouldn’t call myself a ‘Grime’ artist but if that music wants to be called ‘Grime’ then so be it.

http://img172.imageshack.us/img172/6718/1do4.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

What have been your influences into making your sound? You name dropped Jay-Z earlier.

Jay-z is more of an influence nowadays. His lyrical content, his whole movement, the albums that he makes and how long he has been around. Getting into the game, garage has always been an influence. I listen to ragga; I listen to jungle, some early hip-hop like Dre and Snoop, Biggie: they’re the people that I look up to.

The DJ played a Wookie song in your set. How big an influence is that whole 2-step era?

When I was growing up, that’s what I was listening to. Those tunes are what we’d like to listen to when we were going out. DJ’s would play them; we’d spit over them and just to rave to them.

So what is it about grime, about you that has travelled outside of London?

You see here tonight that it has reached far.

I would just say its how people can relate. On the American stuff, not a lot of people can relate to it even though it’s played on the radios. I think someone like me, Dizzee, definitely Mike Skinner, we’re all from homes, it’s easy to relate to us, we can talk about things that they know.

"... You have to be a songwriter if you want to be an artist. I’m an artist, man. You can’t have 16 bars of nothing..."

http://img136.imageshack.us/img136/2008/1il9.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

Do you see yourself as a British Jay-Z?

Ah no, I don’t think so. Maybe in ten years?

Is that the ambition?

Not really. Wherever it takes me, I might go a different direction than him. I might not go there.

5 years ago the grime scene was very London-centric…

I know, that’s what I’m saying. It’s travelled a lot since then. We now go to all sorts of places. We go to Scotland, they love it. Europe: Berlin, Amsterdam, Sweden, we go to loads of places. Its spread and what’s so good about it is not just that they are familiar with the music but that they have started their own little cliques and they produce their own little beats. Hopefully it will set off in there own way. The movement will be massive, so to the music. I’m not concerned just about me getting big, but the scene as a whole, the people after me: I think they’ll be the real big ones in the future.

So do you see yourself as belonging to something, to some kind of scene?

I feel that I belong to the UK. I wouldn’t say I belong to some form of music. I just belong to the UK and that’s why I’m so loyal to them, as long as they’re loyal to me. I’m not one of those that leave the UK to go and conquer America.

How do you see grime going in the not-too-distant future?

I see it just like garage. We developed it into our own, progressed from it and grew from it. The next generation will dig into what we are doing now and start putting their own twist on it and doing their own thing. The music might change and they might do whatever under a different name. You never know what will be coming next. But I’m here for a while.

To end on a non-musical note, who do you want to win the world cup?

[Wearing a French away-shirt] I want France to win the World Cup. Zidane is too good. I don’t want Italy to win.

[Kano’s DJ fires in] Italy are racist, bruv.

France isn’t that better than Italy for racism?

I know, even England isn’t good for racism, so we shouldn’t support them

So who do we support then?

Jamaica, init? But they aren’t even in it.

[I]On that, I finish. The interview was brief but knowledgeable. Kano comes across as dextrous off the mic as he is on record. He’s not here to dispel myths, but, simply to perform. His quiet demeanour back-stage is in contrast to the firebrand he is on stage. For a primer into grime, or whatever you call it, pick up his debut LP “Home Sweet Home” or the “Beats & Bars” mixtape....

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doodydean
08-31-06, 08:31 AM
Nice read man thanks for this!

For anyone who hasnt checked out kanos album 'home sweet home' here it is

http://www.sendspace.com/file/59tqem

DJC
08-31-06, 12:59 PM
"I wouldn’t say it’s down to the music. Obviously, it might have a slight influence but you get trouble at garage raves man, when they’re not chatting about violence. You get trouble at old school raves and all that stuff. I wouldn’t say it’s directly the music"

Truth...Its Not Down To The Music...Cuz Dudes Who Can Actually Get Into Raves Legally Are Grown Up Enought Not To Actually Do What Mc's Spit In There Songs...David Cameron Was A Straight faggot For Making That Statement A While Back Though!

"So what is grime to you? Is it Eski; is it Sublow?

[Laughs] The name just came. When the music developed from Garage, there was never a name associated with it. Wiley was a big part of it: he called it Eski. The media has kind of caught on with ‘Grime.’ They can call it whatever they want to call it, it’s not up to me. But I wouldn’t call myself a ‘Grime’ artist but if that music wants to be called ‘Grime’ then so be it"

Haha Even A Dude That Makes The Msuic Doesnt Know What To Call It, It Does Get Kinda Confusin With All The Names Floatin Around...But To A Point Eski Doesnt Get Made By Wiley Anymore, Cuz His Last Album Had No Eski On It...So Thats Pretty Much Non-Existant Now :undecided:

And Them Last Few Questions...About The Foobtall...I Read Them A While Back In HipHop Coneccetion Before The world Cup Started!
Anyway, Nice Read Man! Propz For Postin!

doodydean
08-31-06, 01:03 PM
I didnt know grime was called eski....not up until that interview lol

DJC
08-31-06, 01:11 PM
^Haha...Yeah Theres A Few Names, They All Refer Back To Garage (The Same As Grime)...The Only Thing That Really Stands Out As Eski Msuic Is Treddin On Thin Ice Album By Wiley And Some Of The Old Stuff From JME When He First Broke With Wiley! Wiley didnt Make Any Eski Tunes On His Last Album (Da 2nd Phaze) Though, Thats Why I Said It Was Kinda Non Existant, He did Do One Or Two Songs Off Of JME's Poomplex Witch Was Pretty Close To Eski Though!

The Names That Have Been Used To Describe Garage/Grime Are:

Grime, Eski, 2step & 4x4...And Then Theres Other Witch People Are Trying To Incorparte As A Whole Music...Like Skank Music (Eventhough Thats Just A Dane)

doodydean
08-31-06, 01:14 PM
haha that explains a few things man...and as for the skank thing aint that what like dudes do at gigs...skanking or whatever ?

DJC
08-31-06, 01:19 PM
^Yeah Man...Thats Right!

doodydean
08-31-06, 01:34 PM
didnt knwo cats did it at raves....saying that i aint been to a rap rave...only been to like a dance music one :( thatwas a few years back though

DJC
08-31-06, 01:40 PM
^Yeah Man...They'll Do It At Any Event...If You Go See A Grime Artist At One Of The Carling Apollos...I Garuntee everybody Will be Skanking...Its Crazy Man! You Get Pretty Tired Though Haha!

holly89
08-31-06, 01:46 PM
Nice read man thanks for this!

For anyone who hasnt checked out kanos album 'home sweet home' here it is

http://www.sendspace.com/file/59tqem

^ classic album :D

doodydean
08-31-06, 01:54 PM
totally agree :D K-lassic!