How to make a rap album 101: Fat stacks of cash raining down; beautiful women in scantly clad, and incredibly inefficient, swim suits; um, a boat is a good idea I think? Like a really, really expensive boat you should probably rent for the day or else you’ll get bad credit; oh ya, make sure to keep telling everyone that you’re better than them, that’s a thing; Oh, oh! Bouncy cars! If there isn’t a bouncing car, it’s not rap.
How about talking about how much you hate that your absent father fucked you up (track 5). Or, how it’s difficult to keep a good relationship with your sister and mother when you’re a boy but made to be the man of the house (7). What about making a song for someone who is sick in the hospital (13), and another about being scared of the money and success this album has given you (10), or how you miss student loans and the life that came with it (5). Have a track with you and your mother laughing (6), and another one about how awkward you are over text (3). Or, how about being from the Southside of London, that comes with all these wrong images like gangs and drugs and having to protect your ‘rep’ with guns and violence, when really you’re just some guy with ADHD who wants to make pancakes with his family in a safe home (the album).
I’m pretty sure some songs were recorded on a cellphone, and the front cover looks like a snapshot at some nice family reunion. But, this guy isn’t going for greatness through imitation, he’s shooting for greatness by making real fucking art. This album has already made waves and won awards. Glad the fucking award people finally got one right.
Loyle Carner, or Benjamin Gerard Coyle-Larner, is fucking honest. And that’s the best part of the entire thing. It’s what a lot of good rap is about: Nas, DOB, Biggie, Eric B & Rakim, Pac… But let’s be honest, “Gold Digger” should be used to test whether someone is an alien or not. If you don’t move just a little bit to that song then there is something deeply wrong with you.
The album starts with that gospel thing that Chance and Kanye made big, but personally I’m kinda over that shit. Throwing a gospel choir into a rap song is the equivalent of having a string section in a rock song, it’s alright until someone like Aerosmith does it, then you realize it’s a cheap fucking trick for grandeur. Just pull the fucking rabbit out of the hat already. The samples on the album don’t work thematically into the theme of the album, so no one else but me needs to try and figure that shit out. (Piero Emiliani, “Ricordandoti” is sampled in “ain’t nothing changed”. Cool beat. Hot sax. That’s all. Real happy I looked that shit up.)
Loyle’s flow is un-fucking-believable. Needs to be said. And this type of shit does not come naturally. It’s not something you’re just born with or have. Like most things that look effortless, it’s a craft that requires honing and hours of efficient practice. This motherfucker is so good I thought of Biggie, the grandmaster of flow (insert ninja whipping sound).
If you don’t got the time, listen to the song, “+44”. It’s short and has no beat. With this, you’ll understand the grace, flow, and most of all, the honesty of this album. Also, I just really enjoy listening to British people rap. Don’t ask me why. I guess I still have this ignorant royalty image that comes to mind when I think of Brits. But, I have been watching episodes of “The Crown” recently, so let’s hope that’s the problem. Nuff said. Ya safe mate? It’s bait dat dis boy fuckin’ slew. Get gobsmacked already, ya? Ta.