As I start to write this post, I’m struggling to find an angle. Do I blurt out the formal pleasantries like “KA is back with a bang!” and “We feel like its ’05 all over again!”…Or, do I break it down with a reader friendly review, posting what I liked about each individual song and finish off with a self-assessed rating out of 10?
The truth is, I’ll do neither. Because for one, this project deserves more than just formalities, and ultimately, how can I limit something so clear, honest and true to a little number out of 10.
Instead, I’ll explain why this piece of music is one of the most important releases the UK has had in a decade. Not limited to genre, and not limited to London. ‘Made in the Manor’ is an open letter from Kane Robinson of East London, to an entire generation of young men and women that have been moulded by the only thing we all have in common: Life.
6 years on from ‘Method to the Maadness’ – Kano’s sound resembles a man who has been through it all, and is here to tell the story. There’s a constant tone of clarity, where every song has held no punches, and hidden no details. There’s regret, there’s pain, there’s happiness, there’s hype, but every single one of those tones is filled to the brim with a nostalgia that takes you back to 1p sweets and trying to get your ball back from underneath a car in the street – the good old days.
“69, Manor Road Sunday morning. Dorothy be up but Jennifer be yawning…Ice cream van yeah chase it down, screwball, 99 flake it out. ”
There’s nothing this album addresses that isn’t universally relevant. Summer mornings with your family, that sibling you never reached out to, the temptations of life in a big city, the ever present divide between the comfortably rich and the dangerously poor. The social commentary throughout the project speaks as loudly about the single mother with 2 jobs in Plaistow, as it does about the suits and ties in the buildings that she can see from her window.
“I drive Mercs past poor people; they look at me like they saw a king…”
While we’re on the topic of honesty, Kane also speaks briefly on the issues within mainstream TV. Having starred in an internationally acclaimed drama, Kano speaks from an informed, first hand insight on the fuckeries (for lack of a better word) that limit ethnic groups within nationwide media.
“I ain’t being token black on TV, they got Lenny for that, I’ll make a little less paper and I’ll level with that.”
Let’s not get too caught up in the hazy summer skies and deep thought though, there’s an anarchist in the booth too – a restless, unchained MC who’s been gone for way too long and who’s back to set the record straight. For every tear that might come to your eye, there’s also a gun finger and a screw face ready to remind you why we must Hail K.A (pun intended…I promise) as one of the greatest MC’s this young and humble scene has ever produced.
“I’ve been that n*gga since kickers and loafers, in bits where kids don’t give a shit about olders. Where man don’t care about fathers, they just care about figures. Man don’t care about yards, man just care about bimmers.”
But that’s nothing you didn’t already know. “Hail” and “Flow Of The Year” set our ears on fire over a year ago, and just in case anyone had forgotten who the geezer of this ting is, Kane dropped “Garage Skank Freestyle” and “3 Wheel Ups (feat. Wiley and Giggs)” to really hone in on the fact that it really is “Kano in the house”.
At the time of writing, ‘Made In The Manor’ is number 2 in the official iTunes album charts. Thousands of people around the world have purchased an envelope, inside that envelope lies 15 paragraphs, each one addressed to the reader personally, each letter challenges our morality, our values, our life choices. It makes us happy, it makes us nostalgic, it makes us reflective.
As we all take in this open letter from Kane Robinson of East London, we all for a split second become our 10 year old self again – up to no good in the summer sunshine, being made in our own manor.