With his debut album, Yesterdays Gone, set to be released on 20th January, Loyle Carner is on the brink of stardom. The first release, ‘The Isle of Arran’, gives us an insight into the raw emotion he shares on the album. Rightfully the song was titled Annie Mac’s hottest record in the world.
The South London MC raps with potency, emotive verses, laying himself bare, inviting the listener into his personal world. However, with his exceptional talent, he is able to turn these personal moments into shared experiences; he does not dress up the lyrics, or hide their meaning in metaphors; part of the beauty of Carner’s style, something he attributes to living with ADHD, the ability to be straightforward and open.
The first release from the album is titled after the island where his Grandad (and main father figure) lived. The paternal theme runs throughout the song. Emotively charged not with anger, but broken heartedness. You hear a young man question, ‘I wonder why my dad didn’t want me, Ex didn’t need me’. An agonising bar, only the coldest of hearts could not empathise with.
There is a sense of irony in the production of the song. A gospel backing track and vocal contrast to the lyrics. ‘I’ve been holding out for G but he was nowhere to be seen when I was bleeding’, ‘There ain’t no-one to believe in’, ‘Standby, didn’t need no help from no damn guy. Man by, I’ve been making waves all my damn life.’ A self-promotion of independence that is well deserved.
The emotional catharsis we share with Carner through his poetry, is refreshing in a world of commercialised music. Rapping and rhyming about real issues, real people can understand.
If you are not already a fan of Loyle Carner, 2017 is the year you will become one.