Kano and his people throw so much at the wall that the resulting twists and turns...
James Poletti 2005-06-10
Strange that Grime seems so desperate for a mainstream crossover star right now.Haven't the past couple of years seenDizzee win a Mercury and ship a bunch of albums on his own terms?
Kano, in common with so many of the artists featured on last year's genre-defining Run The Road compilation, has a style unique enough, accessible enough, to stand out in the pop landscape. On that album he had the last word with "Mic Fight", a track that has since become a UK hip hop anthem and one that makes Skinnyman, Blak Twang and Roots Manuva sound parochial and quaint.
His major label single debut, "Ps & Qs", showed more than a little promise, managing a stalking and sinuous sound without resorting tothe alienating avant-minimalism of Grime's more leftfield outings.
But over the 15 tracks that make up Home Sweet Home, Kano and his people throw so much at the wall that the resulting twists and turns dilute the album's impact. Halfway through "Reload It" you hear a hungry young MC pushing his skills to demonstrate the flow that prompts crowds to demand the rewind. But on the day-glo R&B of "Brown Eyes" he hardly sounds convinced himself.
There's something much more cynical about this than Dizzee's "Fix Up Look Sharp" or "Dream", both solitary compromises on otherwise ruthlessly focussed albums.
Kano's best bid for chart success comes from the bizarre collaboration with Futureheads and Bloc Party producer-of-the-moment, Paul Epworth, on "I Don't Know Why". Eyes are clearly focussed here on the magic that Rick Rubin sprinkled on Jay-Z's "99 Questions" as Epworth loops up Sabbath's "War Pigs" and Kano makes a decent fist of the verse only to fall short of delivering a chorus.
There's certainly enough hereto ensure that the streets, at least, won't forget Kano in a hurry, a fear he hints at on "Sometimes". But, it seems everyone is making far too much of a science of this crossover thing - leaving you feeling that left to his own devices Kano would have come up with a much better, and quite possibly more popular, album.