‘Every day get new drama, something’s gone down,” despairs Kano on Hoodies All Summer, his voice weary with worry that the status quo might never change. The East Ham MC, who has been a cult grime hero for 15 years now, having announced himself to the underground with debut single P’s & Q’s in 2004 , embraces his elder statesman status on this sixth album, cutting a caring big brother figure over soulful melodies. “Any beef can be squashed if hands can be shaken, any hand can be shaken when the blood dries – I guess that’s not a thug line,” the 34-year-old raps on piano hymnal Trouble, setting the blueprint for an album that shows understanding of the forces that drive young men to violence, but pleads with them to find another path. “Another funeral, another rest-in-peace, another judge gives out 20, welcome to my city,” he cries on Good Youtes Walk Amongst Evil, as sombre synths echo in the backdrop.

Kano: Hoodies All Summer album art work

Kano: Hoodies All Summer album art work

Kano has won the admiration of both his grime peers and indie luminaries such as Damon Albarn in his decade and a half of dextrous wordplay over UK bass and garage-indebted beats. He is yet, however, to enjoy a mainstream moment like those had recently by Stormzy and Skepta. The reflective, ambitious Hoodies All Summer isn’t likely to change that, but it will cement his reputation as one of grime’s wisest truth-tellers: opener Free Years Later is his very own Ultralight Beam, while Can’t Hold We Down speaks to the irrepressible spirit of both the rapper, and the community he aspires to uplift.


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