Coincidentally, the material required for this part 2 (initially part 1) lands the day after yesterday's blog on Sway
Ok, firstly I am going to breakdown Kano's commercial career Disclaimer: the facts are the facts, but my opinion's are MOI's).
If you don't know, quick CRB before he came in the pop game: prior to embraking on cracking the commercial pop market, Kane was rated as one of the top boys in the time when Grime was in its prime. He rolled with superstar-studded grime clique N.A.S.T.Y., battled and to most defeated the King of Grime Wiley on the iconic DVD Lord of the Mics, killed classic beats most famously Ghetto Kyote. His flow and bars were seen as ahead of the game and he was deemed one of the more lyrical grime MCs not just hype bars.
I'll start this post officially with remember this?
Signed by 679, he experimented with various sounding songs; (after Typical Me) linked up with man of that moment Mike Skinner and his "token" mate. You know the dude with the eye brow piercing/z-list celeb from the failed reality show Celebrity *cough* flirt *cough* Love Island Tony the Tiger...? No that's the Kellogs Frosties mascot, Leo the Lion! Anyway, they did the odd Nite Nite shortly after The Streets touched number 1 with Dry Your Eyes; didn't do so great.
I liked the sped up sample utilised on the DaVinche produced Brown Eyes. Cheesy beat yes, but them samples were doing it at the time (circa Kanye West domination with said trademark sound). I thought he killed it lyrically, even slowed his flow down. Guess the hook could have been a lot better to ensure it sounded like a single not a solid album song, but still.
Found out this was never released as a proper single because they gave away a free sticker with it. Shame that
I liked street/Channel U single Signs in Life too which served as the b-side.
Despite not charting with a top 20 in the singles chart, his first album sold well earning him a Gold plaque (100,000k+). Kinda similar to what N-Dubz proved recently (no high singles but high selling album in comparison).
Think the highest he got in his career (top 20) was with Craig David on that cheesy song 'This Is The Girl' lifted from the second album London Town... Sidebar: writings on the wall when you resort to washed up Craiiiiig David (soon to be featured on 'Do We Care?') featuring on your record.
Ironically, I feel it sounds similar to what Tinchy Stryder is doing now (all Fraser T Smith produced) yet Tinchy has been rewarded with one top 5 and two 'Number 1' (no pun intended... ok I lied) with "a mili, a mili, a mi- a mi-" a million singles sold. Have times changed or is Tinchy better? I'm not actually sure.
Anyway, second album did what it did, Kano bopped out of his contract with the label (mutual ting I believe) due to creative and contractual differences (if I recall correctly), begged Grime fans for forgiveness by recording and releasing albim/mixtape 140 Grime Street. Won't lie, I thought it was kinda 'ard. Showed he is/was still one of the most capable spitters in the game, but Grime fans felt conned choosing to describe it as "Hip-Hop on speed" rather than Grime that Kano so dearly wanted to sell it as. I weren't feeling his wannabe Jay-Z swag though. And some of the punchlines were awful "The Lick like Trevor Nelson" will forever scar my brain.
Where is this all leading to I read in your mind; here is Kano's new single Rock 'n' Roller:
Unlike Sway's song I believe this song has potential and will do better - not like that's a hard task. The video is SICK!!! Didn't like the song at first, still don't think its great but there is potential mainly 'cos I can see commercial heads dancing to the beat and catchy hook. Peak chart position, hmm I'm not sure. I'm really not. Sounds like a top 20 but there are so many factors which affect chart position; promo being a major, major one, so is image. Hooks good, verses aren't really sing-along. Not sure if that still matters. Another sidebar: he's talking about Rock & Roll, not caring etc. yet in the verse spits like he's too cool for skool. Surely that defeats the object? Anyway, realistic aim is late top 40.
However, I have one big question... r u gonna bang doe? Nah, in all seriousness, do we still care about Kano?
Another problem is I don't know where he'll go after this sounding song. Tinchy's in his lane with Kano's most successful sound. N-Dubz have got snhdgfigth poppin with plat in two months album and sold-out nationwide tour, Dizzee is on a next hype and Chipmunk's on the rise with a potential #1 single in 'Oopsy Daisy' lined up. Still can't take Ironik seriously as an artist yet. Ok he's co-headlining Brrap Pack with Chippy but I see him getting pushed out soon. Master Shortie is grindin and doing his ting, Bashy bridging the underground and overground with indie album 'Catch Me If You Can' and if you want real underground see Giggs.
Where does Kano fit into all of this? Has his time passed? Does him jumping on both popular bandwagons going (eg. Autotune and dance/house beat) suggest he's still confused about his image/audience or has to use a gimmick to be relevant?
Disclaimer: Let me clear something up before people get all shirty/aggy/vex etc.; when I say didn't do so great, it may be a bit harsh. I understand chocolate faces (even mily ones like Kano) weren't getting playlisted and avenues/interest weren't like these new cats have now, so it may be unfair to compare, but ah soh di ting set yuh zeet?
Kano KILLS the remix though: "So we paint the town red like Tampax/ It's that time of the month, period." Features my recently crowned fave white rapper Devlin and Chipmunk