It’s such a shame that the past couple of years has, seemingly, found the UK urban scene re-discovering it’s love of misogyny, gangster-characterisation and street hustler posturing. This is particularly heart-breaking when we remember that the turn of the century had given us reasons to believe that artists like Plan B and the Streets were leading us away from playing up to stereotypes and back to a time when rappers were not afraid to offer the ultimate exposure; themselves.
The result of a mission to fight back against this trend has seen Loyle Carner become the Brit scenes most celebrated rapper, principally by using lyrics about the important things; family, friends, inner turmoil and struggling.
Playing to a sold out Newcastle Riverside, Lolye displays maturity and stage presence well above his early 20’s. Unafraid to tackle mature themes we are offered a show that uses our minds, more than our feet, to engage and challenge our current way of thinking. This is hip hop with a purpose and both a homage to, and a continuation of, themes originally created by De La Soul and a Tribe Called Quest.
Recent soul sounding track Isle of Aran sets the scene with confessional lyrics about pain and struggle ‘my mother said there’s no love until you show some, so I showed love and got nothing out of no one’.
The apex of Carner’s maturity, and ability to push the crowd into moments of personal reflection, appears during BFG, the 2014 tribute to his late stepfather, when the young rapper repeats the lines ‘of course I’m sad, I miss my dad’ enough times for the point to be hammered home.
If Carner moves us even one step away from posturing to honesty he’s done a find job.
A very honest show from a very honest performer.