For the majority of people life really is a rat race, running at full sprint just to keep up with the rest. Others just seem to be gifted, like 19-year-old Kano. He could’ve been a footballer, or he could’ve gone off and tried his hand in the academic world but he turned that down. Music fans should thank their lucky stars he decided to follow his love of music.
The album’s title track is emphatic yet subdued, an enticing heavy and thumping beat juxtaposed with soft, controlled and confident lyrics. The lad knows he’s good, but even though he’s “been around / I’m far from a veteran”. As if that isn’t unique enough, despite being titled Home Sweet Home there’s no mention of the grimy east end of London.
Ghetto kid does switch it around a little, the vibe is rougher around the edges and it’s much more intense. It’s more real, but it’s still a bit on the gentle side, which makes Ps and Qs feel like a tonne of TNT when it explodes with one of the best hip-hop beats you’ll hear for a long time. The rapping is faster and the track covers more geographically – Home Sweet Home is an album for the UK scene not just the London underground that gave Kano his voice.
Then you get caught completely caught off guard by the speed garage / drum ‘n’ bass tip that Kano flows over on Reload It, it’s mad – but insanely brilliant and makes the straight garage on Nobody Don’t Dance No More seem distinctly chilled out despite it being a clear floor filler. The surprises don’t stop there with the crashing guitars and drums on Typical Me.
It’s a rave track disguised as a rock track, absurdly it throws me back to my younger teens moshing away to Limp Bizkit‘s Break Stuff. You need to hear it for it to make sense. Although it is not about raw aggression, but taming the beast within. A standard Friday night on the town then. The rock edge carries forward onto I Don’t Know Why which works as well as the Feeder remix of Mark B and Blade‘s Ya Don’t See The Signs.
Sometimes is Home Sweet Home’s softest song, as Kano asks “Why me?” but as soon as he explains his reasons for being in music: “It’s not for the cheddar / it’s not for the fame / it’s not for the Rolex / it’s not for the chain / it’s just for the respect”. There’s no bling about Kano. He seems admirably self-aware and incredibly grounded – rare for someone so hyped and so young.
There is a token love track in Brown Eyes, but Kano doesn’t seem to be too into it, rendering it a laboured and clich�d effort, although the stunning beat excuses the obvious weaknesses. It’s quickly forgotten with the jovial Remember Me, a comical rap loosely based around drinking Hennessey. There’s even space for the album to include Boy Love Girls – the track that made the underground scene stand up and listen to Kano back in 2003.
It’s Kano’s signature track, but two years on and he’s playing with the big boys, doing big things with the Mitchell Brothers under the watchful eye of Mike Skinner. Home Sweet Home is refreshing and genuinely breathtaking. Believe the hype surrounding this young man – he more than lives up to it.