Black History Month: Hail Kano

The man made in the manor, the Ps to our Qs, a significant contributor to Grime. Well respected amongst his peers and idolised by many rappers who have graced the stage after him. He is the one and only Kano.

The East London G.O.A.T. emerged onto the scene in the early 2000s as a member of N.A.S.T.Y. Crew, which also included grime superstars Jammer, D Double E, and Ghetts. His style and perspective, even compared to those named above, were one of a kind, thus making Kano one of the most proficient M.C.s to join the Grime scene in its earliest stages. The ruthless and competitive atmosphere that made the U.K. pirate radio era had a profound influence on Kano, allowing him to cultivate his witty and articulate rhyming technique, a hybrid of the beautiful and ugly lyrical themes that define the street culture of London. Kano's evolution in his artistry has seen both commercial and underground success over the past two decades. 

After blessing us with street classics such as 'Boys Love Girls' and 'P's & Q' s', The east London spitter continued his reign with the release of his debut album in 2005, Home Sweet Home album, which boasted production credits from Diplo, Mike Skinner (aka the Streets), and Paul Epworth. Although his debut album was considered 'commercial, and a breakaway from his grime roots, he continued to release underground mixtapes such as Beats + Bars, Kano Mixtape, MC No. 1, Jack Bauer: The 7 Day Edition, Girls Over Guns and Jack Bauer 2.4. This versatile work rate from Kano did not go unnoticed. Later in his career, He would then take it a step further by pursuing an acting career, which manifested in the role of Top Boy's Sully.

He has proven he is not just in touch with the entertainment branch of Black Culture; he has also expressed the need for change in his community through politics. During the 2019 U.K. general election, Kano joined 76 other musicians, and leading cultural figures, in endorsing the Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, with a call to end austerity. The steps he has actively taken to give back, even after the success he has attained, show he has never forgotten about his roots. 

During his career, Kano has obtained accolades such as the winner of the Best Album at the 2016 MOBO Awards and Nominations at the 2016 Mercury Prize Awards. It is not hard to see why he is widely considered one of the pioneers of Grime and an essential figure in UK Black Culture & Creative Arts.  His latest venture, Newham talks, aims to regenerate the London borough of Newham, where Kano is from, through a series of interviews with key figures such as Indris Elba, Christine Ohuruogu, D Double E and more. This new charity only recently reached its target, and we can't wait to see what and how Kano uses this to bring forth change.

Over the past 20 years, he has shown us that he is indeed the self-proclaimed trailblazer, go-getter and speaker of the community. May his reign continue to inspire us all. All rise and salute the GOAT, Kano.