Wednesday, 22 September 2004

Kano - ready and able

On May 21st 2004, Cain Robinson turned 19 and on the same day became one of Eastham’s most elidgible bachelors, signing to 679 Recordings, home to The Streets, The Futureheads et al.

Kano. An obvious choice for any label with nouse. He outshines most of his fellow grime MC’s in a quick minute. His lyrical content and flow are about as unpredictable as Pete Doherty turning up to a Libertines gig. Girls love him, teenage boys want to be him, and it’s looking likely that Kano will take England further afield sooner than anyone within the FA.

But as yet there’s been little hype. You could argue that it’s a bit early (Kano’s album isn’t expected to drop until early next year), but it would also be fair to say that since Dizzee Rascal became the first out of the grime stable, winning a Mercury and becoming the Boy In Da Media, other MC’s trying to make the break overground are having a ready battle.

“Although I am an individual, I think because perhaps I was a big part of a big crew, and still, am that it’s meant I haven’t had that mad hype. Dizzee was just Dizzee Rascal.” Kano elaborates, perched on a wall outside the quiet Eastham home he shares with his mum and 21 year old brother. “It might just be down to who we are as people, our style of music, it’s like we’re so different but we’re so the same. At sixteen, like Dizzee did with I Luv U, I produced and wrote the most important track of my career so far, Boys Love Girls… “

It was a track that put Kano on the map. Drafted into one of grime’s biggest crews, N.A.S.T.Y (Natural Artistic Sounds Touching You) around the same time in 2001, he went onto become a headline act at raves across the country and drove hundreds of listeners to jam Déjà Vu Fm’s phonline on his weekend appearances. In the last two years he’s featured on just a few white label releases including the N.A.S.T.Y smashTake You Out, and the recent Demon collaboration Arms House, while also making more recent appearances on Wiley’s album, and remixes of Shystie’s One Wish and The Streets Fit But You Know It.

With his debut album well underway, producers making appearances include newcomers Mikey J and DaVinche with MC’s D Double E, Ghetto and Demon set to feature. We’re also promised a few less likely suspects such as Fraser, that white guitarist the Americans told Craig David to get rid of (which he didn’t).

"It’s very experiemental. None of us just do Grime, I would never say I’m a grime artist, I say ‘I’ve risen through the garage scene’. The worst thing Wiley’s ever done is made that tune Wot Do U Call It because I swear that’s the worst question I get asked.”

But Wiley is one person who is aiding in heating up tongues while we await new Kano material. If you thought 8 Mile was the best for beef then watch Kano effectively eat Wiley on the Lord Of The Mic’s Battle Arena DVD

“I was only 17 when I did that you know, I was spitting some real bars innit and I know my flows tight” Kano laughs. “I don’t think anyone won, it was even. He was trying to win the clash, but I was trying to show him look how I spit and look how you spit...I like Wiley, but you get what I’m saying, lyrically I think people will say I won.”

It’s make your mind up time.

Lord Of The Mics, Battle Arena Volume 1 DVD& CD is available from all good independent record outlets now.

Words: Chantelle Fiddy

A version of this article appears in I-D Magazine

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