Charlotte Russell explains why you should be listening to hip hop artist Loyle Carner’s new album
The grime renaissance of 2016 saw the UK put its place on the worldwide map of rap, but with a sound that is so innate in urban culture, and becoming one that is so ‘British’, if you like, upon association, the criteria had been set for the British rap scene for our current generation. Loyle Carner is a British rapper. But other than keeping to his routes through the preservation of his accent, his music has little in common with that of the current grime trend.
His style is hip hop, his sound is relaxed and his music is so accessible to all in a way that no one city can claim ownership over this artist, as say London, Birmingham and Manchester do over those who choose to create grime. Yesterday’s Gone is the debut album from the rapper, following his A Little Late EP, and I can safely say that it is absolutely exquisite. Upon reading this review, I would be surprised if you hadn’t heard of the rapper before; he is incredibly popular at the minute, and if you choose to listen to this album, you would understand why.
The album itself includes his singles: ‘The Isle of Arran’ and ‘Ain’t Nothing Changed’. It is twelve songs (plus three skits) of subtle creativity. It is not flashy in its creation but at times is beautiful in its melancholy. Yesterday’s Gone does the wonderful task of setting a different scene in every track, but flows in a way that enables one to be taken on a musical journey of different genres. Loyle Carner plays around with samples on each track, adding to each one’s unique quality. Gospel can be heard throughout ‘The Isle Of Arran’, the song which starts the album as if opening up these ornate grand gold gates, which then welcome you to this calm, tranquil and satisfied state of contentment. ‘Mean It in the Morning’ follows ‘The Isle Of Arran’ and could arguably be seen as the calm after the storm; its laid-back guitar is reminiscent of smooth jazz, much like the use of saxophone on ‘Ain’t Nothing Changed’. My favourite track on the album would have to be ‘Mrs C’ with its inclusion of what sounds like a bongo drum – again displaying the rappers extensive use of different music genres – but it also adds a touch of the exotic to this track, as if there is a sense of paradise within the everyday.
I believe this artist and album are so appealing at the moment due to his music’s relatability, and arguably mundane outlook. Loyle Carner is not fuckin’ bitches and gettin’ money on this album, but is rather musing upon everyday life in a way that many adolescents at the moment can associate with. Yesterday’s Gone is a gorgeous album which will gain its popularity from this idea of being relatable. It celebrates the idea that we can be gleefully content with our ordinary, everyday lives, and in turn makes us everyday, standard people feel somewhat cooler.
I like Loyle Carner – a lot. He is creative and therefore incredibly refreshing, especially as he has managed to show that hip hop (albeit American in its origins) can blend with different types of music to create a unique style of British rap. If breaking away from the norm and current popular trends was not intentional, this album reflects the mind of a young twenty-something who has made being bored and wholesome cool. I like Loyle Carner because he is a feminist. His music is respectful and his reflections upon women are nothing but anecdotes, if not an archetype for the typical feelings and relationships we will all feel at some stages in our lifetimes.
So there you go. Yesterday’s Gone. If I haven’t set the scene enough, or praised it enough you should obviously go and listen for yourself. Maybe the album will mean something completely different to you; it is so diverse in its sound that I refuse to believe there won’t be at least one track that you don’t enjoy. So go ahead, be bored, or in turn use this to elevate your creativity – with Yesterday’s Gone as your soundtrack, let it aid you in doing so.