The ever so confessional 22-year-old Loyle Carner is a refreshing talent topping the British hip-hop scene, bringing raw and skilled lyrical flow with insane sensitivity and maturity, allowing you to delve into his thoughts and experiences, something that hip hop is perhaps missing.
There is not an ounce of arrogance in Loyal Carner’s bones, just an inspiring background story that he tells so well. Although Carner is very much a South Londoner, he has shared his talents around by supporting everyone from Nas to Joey Badass, but now really is his time to shine with his exceptional new album Yesterday’s Gone.
Previous to this debut album, Carner gave us a tear jerking taste of his powerful message in track “BFG” which was bravely written about the loss of his Stepfather. “I need you near, cause I’m the boy but you’re the man, I can’t defeat the fear”, “of course I’m f**king sad, I miss my fucking dad” he confesses with the sound of choking emotion and heartbreak pouring through.
But this heart clenching release was just the start of things to come, as track “Mrs C” off of his new album was written for a friend, whose Mother was diagnosed with cancer, where he admits feeling responsible for looking after his friend, “tryna make her laugh anyway I can, press her head in to my hands but I’m feeling quite responsible”. His soft vocal over a mellow tapping of drums is beautifully warming as he encourages “your Eliza’s a reflection of you” so confidently.
There is something really comforting about how personal this debut album is, discussing personal topics such as struggles he faced as a teenager with ADHD, how he misses his student loan on track “Ain’t Nothing Changed” and remembering how to make pancakes the way his nan used to on track “Florence“. The way he can so easily open up and offer all is encouraging.
There is nothing fake or forced, just a real downbeat story of his life. Although majority of the beats are deliberately mellow, he isn’t shy of mixing it up as evident on track ‘Stars and Shards’ which has a funky guitar sound and head bobbing beat throughout speeding up Carner’s lyrical flow and offering something more cheery, even though he is discussing a friend who has taken a wrong turn in life.
Family is the key theme repeated throughout this addictive album. “Son Of Jean” for example, is a clear indication that Carner is a Mummy’s boy, and I say that with confidence, as his family is at the center of his attention as he raps about his Mother and younger brother Ryan.
“Cos ain’t no love inside my heart, except my Mother and my die hards”, “me and my Mother, there ain’t nothing that can come between” he so proudly confesses. As well as rapping about his Mother, he actually features her on this powerful track where her heartwarming words confirm their bond “he was and is a complete joy, the world is his, that scribbler of a boy”.
It’s great to finally hear the full-length album and see the extent of his talent so early on in his career. Tracks like “Ain’t Nothing Changed” and collaborating with Tom Misch on track “Damselfly” show his impeccable flow and soft-spoken voice, making his dreamy music so enjoyable to listen to. It is clear that he has a sense of direction and is willing to open himself up and tell his story which I am certainly willing to listen to as many times as I can.
Out now on AMF Records/Universal Music, purchase Loyle Carner’s Yesterday’s Gone album on iTunes here.
Words by Mia Woloszczynska