Before reading this story, be assured, it is all true. Kano told us.
It was the night (or so) before Christmas, and a selection of grime legends were sat around Giggs’ dinner table. Accompanying the Landlord for his merriments were Kano, Ghetts, Chip, Wretch 32, Sneakbo, Tinchy Stryder and Bashy. In short, it was a big festive MC get together, and the kind of gathering many a grime fan would give their Air Maxes to be a fly on the wall at.
Anyway, after the small talk was finished with, conversation turned to Fire In The Booth – it had to really. A quick secret now: Kano, the Canning Town boy who has certified his place in the elite lyrical league of MCs, never really fancied a stint in Charlie’s Booth. It wasn’t for him; he didn’t feel the need to prove himself.
That was, until Ghetts got involved.
Ghetts and Kano go back further than Ice Cube and Kevin Hart, so they’re comfortable enough for a bit of mic-taking. “Aint it funny that one person here’s not done Fire in the Booth…” Ghetts goaded, glaring at his old buddy. This cued big laughs from the MCs around the room. “Haha”, thought Kano, “Very funny.”
But that wasn’t the end of it.
First Giggs chimed in, questioning whether Kano had ever done any freestyles. No Fire in the Booth? Ha! Has Kano even done a Westwood? “Man must be scared!”, he teased. He’d started scanning Google by this point, teasing KA with a mockingly doubtful search. Others were happy to join in on the act, chipping in with their own wise cracks. Wretch tried to defend him, but they’d got to KA by this point.
Fast forward a couple of hours, and Kano was driving to a party with Bashy. He wasn’t thinking properly, though. The laughter and mockery was reverberating around his head.
“You know what? I’m not having that”, he said, and dialled Giggs.
Giggs picked up. “You need to put some respec’ on my name”, declared KA.
Kano went home and started writing. Over the following months, he constructed a freestyle that had it all – wordplay, content, flow, and a couple of digs at those MCs who spurred him to write it.
“I’m ready, let’s do it”, he said.
And then he called up Charlie. The rest, as they say, is history.
Make sure you read our list of the most important things learned from the Combat Jack interview here. Listen back to the full conversation here.
Illustration: Alice Skinner (http://aliceskinner.tumblr.com/)
Words: SJRip (@sjriptweets)