Loyle Carner - Not Waving, But Drowning (Vinyl)
The bedrock of honest and raw sentimentality that you heard on 'Yesterday's Gone' left an inextinguishable mark on music in general and UK Hip Hop in particular, standing out as an ageless, bulletproof debut.
'Not Waving, But Drowning', Loyle's new album, gives yet more evidence - as if it were needed - of his razor-sharp flow and his unique storytelling ability. Yes, he can rap, but he allies that with the sensitivity of a poet, the observational skills of a novelist, and warmth of your best friend. The album opens with 'Dear Jean', a letter to his mother in which he's telling her that he has found the love of his life "a woman from the skies", and he's moving out.
It goes without saying that Loyle's music is hard to categorise, but what is even more impressive is that for someone who grew up listening to Mos Def, Biggie Smalls, Roots Manuva, and Wu Tang Clan, he doesn't sound like any of them. Although he might from time to time give lyrical nods to them, he's no imitator.
An album like this is hard to find. It is for those who like their Hip Hop to have soul, and their soul to have spirit. This is because it works on so many levels, but it is reflecting the personality of its creator. There are a host of collaborators here, Jorja Smith, Rebel Kleff, Kiko Bun, Kwes, Jordan Rakei, Sampha, Tom Misch and more, but none are overpowering. They blend righteously into place.
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