South London rapper Loyle Carner was hardly Einstein in the way he discovered his rap name. With his birth name being Benjamin Coyle-Larner, he simply used a spoonerism of his double-barrelled surname and created Loyle Carner from it. Anyway, he is unlike any other rap artist around in this country at the moment and that is mainly down to his style, which is very sensitive and pleasant on the ears, not needing boom blast beats to get himself recognised. His talent is being acknowledged at a rapid pace and it has resulted in the release of his debut album here being highly anticipated. Let’s see if Loyle Carner has stepped up to the mark with ‘Yesterday’s Gone’ or if he is quickly going to become one to forget.
The Isle Of Arran – 9/10:
Straight from the off you can tell this won’t be your typical grime track or album, the instrumental is very holy and subtle with it’s delivery, something which is the exact opposite to the likes of Stormzy or Wiley when they make a beat. Loyle’s flow on this song is crazy and it will definitely make people stand up and realise him as one of the best MCs this country has to offer. The sampling is top draw and his lyricism is hard and heartfelt, a real emotionally fuelled album opener about life and death and how we deal with both. Fantastic stuff.
Mean It In The Morning – 9/10:
I love the beat on this song, it is just so smooth and relaxed in every sense of the word, with those great guitar chords and the steady synth taps. This song strikes me as a bit of a late night affair where he was waiting on this girl to tell her how he truly felt. It is clear that Loyle is rapping about his mistakes on this and the way in which he spins his flow to help us understand the story behind the song is just brilliant, it is a real selling point of this song which is a personal favourite of mine.
+44 – N/A/10:
A little interlude which sounds like a direct approach to the listener about sent texts that you wish you hadn’t sent. That is all well and good and he easily could have just said it to us and moved on, but the fact he created a poem from it and yet again a great flow with each line suggests that this guy truly is incredibly talented and that we are on the verge of a special project here. Due to it being 44 seconds with no backing track it isn’t fair to rate it but I really enjoy it with the album’s context.
Damselfly (feat. Tom Misch) – 8/10:
The inclusion of Tom Misch on this song goes a very long way to creating a more feel-good atmosphere around it and putting a smile on your face. It is also a more upbeat instrumental than the previous ones which suggests that he is perhaps moving on from the girl he was dreaming about and is living his life a bit more. Tom Misch does a good job on the chorus and helps create a distinct difference between verse and chorus which is an underrated element in hip-hop music nowadays. Shoutout to the Justin Bieber reference on this one too. Very good track once more.
Ain’t Nothing Changed – 8.5/10:
Another slow jam courtesy of this potentially fantastic wordsmith of the younger generation. Mentioning student loans and debt will be literal music to the ears of the youth of today because it is such a relatable and real issue, unlike something which happens to only a select few. It is another sad tale told by Loyle about how he lost his childhood because he had to grow up quickly for a number of reasons, from looking after his mum or protecting himself from the rough streets. The chorus is quite boring in all honesty and it is the only downside to an otherwise incredible song.
Swear – N/A/10:
A 30 second clip involving someone who I believe to be his mum where they have a very normal and very natural conversation about swearing, it is in a jokey fashion and it demonstrates the relationship between this mother and son very well as it gives us what we assume to be a real scenario rather than a staged one. Again it is hard to judge a song with no instrumental and that is a piece of dialogue but it fits with the context of the album and helps the listener understand his relationship with his mum, someone he mentions a lot.
Florence (feat. Kwes) – 8/10:
A love ballad about a girl called Florence, which comes from the Latin equivalent of “blossoming” so that could suggest that the two of them are becoming proud figures together given Loyle’s sudden rise. Kwes on the chorus is absolutely class and is probably the best feature on the album as he puts a great harmony on the song with his soft and cherished tones. This song holds a lot of Loyle Carner’s common values in that it looks at an idealistic scenario where Carner tells it how he wants it to be rather than what it is actually like in reality. It is a clever technique and shows his ambitions. Nice song with a great chorus.
The Seamstress [Tooting Masala] – 8.5/10:
The sound effects such as the deep breaths and the coughs at the start of this song are very symbolic of how Loyle sees himself as an artist, he knows he isn’t a superstar so he doesn’t need to be professional with it. Top class production on this song helps Loyle to flow hard and make a couple of very strong verses where he rhymes so much you get tongue tied just listening to it. I do like this song because it is a very reflective and reminiscent track as he says at the end. There is the part at the start where he says people claim he has a drinking problem and then the fact he ends the song saying it’s just him and his can, incredibly witty and clever in that other people see his problems before he does.
Stars & Shards – 9/10:
I really like the guitar riff on this track, it is cool and borederline funky really with all things considered on this album. It’s definitely the fastest he raps and he does one hell of a job on it, riding the wave of the beat very well and making you bob your head and tap your feet. He also challenges a lot of very large issues such as alcoholism and domestic violence as he relates the two together, he knows it is important that artists like himself perform songs like this one to use their platform for good. Above all, however, it’s a cool song that you’ll definitely enjoy.
No Worries (feat. Rebel Kleff & Jehst) – 7.5/10:
The chorus is a bit simple for my liking and it doesn’t seem like the kind of thing that would require a feature artist. With that being said, the beat is cool with the synths and the drums sounding like something you’d hear on a cypher, and a bloody good one at that. The feature verses are nice and refreshing to hear, particularly because their voices compliment Loyle’s so well and lets us have the best of the two of them. The guest verses make up for the chorus which is important to amend any errors on a song, even if the chorus is an integral part of a song. Not the best on the album for me but it had good verses on it and a slick beat.
Rebel 101 – N/A/10:
This sounds very much like the voice of a man who is off his head smoking weed and he says it himself in this little monologue that there is “more to life than just getting waved”. It turns into a discussion about just enjoying life no matter how you do it, as is said by his mate who tells him to stop trying to be “the f*****g Good Samaritan all the time.” He has a point, well they both do but anyway, moving on.
NO CD (feat. Rebel Kleff) – 8.5/10:
This was one of the singles he released in the build up to this album and it created a lot of buzz for Loyle, mainly thanks to how relatable he is on the track and that the track itself is quite the banger. That guitar riff is powerful and is the real driving force of the song as it goes from strength to strength the longer it goes on. This chorus is much better and will definitely be stuck in your head all day after hearing it. One complaint would be that I think Rebel Kleff is a bit weak on this track, he sounds a bit like his mate rather than a genuinely top draw rapper unfortunately. He isn’t awful he just gets completely murdered by Loyle on this. Great song.
Mrs C – 8.5/10:
Family emotion cuts deep on this song, as it is clear that either a family member has died or something bad has happened involving Loyle’s family, the memories he looks back on include toast and bacon so that says all you need to know about the family aspect; small stories that for some reason stick with you for life. The name drops of the likes of Harvey and Alex shows this bond between the family and how similar they all are, claiming that “little Harvey’s a reflection” of Loyle. It is a sweet and confessional song about his upbringing and something that has happened which clearly brought them crashing to earth. Fantastically executed.
Sun Of Jean – 9.5/10:
On Spotify this song apparently contained the features of “mum” and “dad” so we will be sure to look out for them. The cheeky name drop of supporting Nas in the first line is absolutely class I love that confidence he shows here and it tells the world how big of a deal he really is. The bass guitar on the instrumental cuts through you with how powerful that single string is played at the end of each bar and the rest of the instrumental is slick and smooth in it’s delivery. Again he discusses his upbringing and looks at it from the perspective of his mum as she worried about him when he was a child, perhaps coming back to it now to thank her. We then are treated to, yep, you guessed it, mum and dad. They tell us all stories about Loyle and how he was a child and what he was like in a creative sense. It is a brilliant addition and really could bring a tear to your eye.
Yesterday’s Gone – 7.5/10:
I would have preferred it if he ended the album there and then but he does have this the title track here for us to perform. It sounds like an acoustic cut which contains a couple of family or friends singing along to a nice and jolly tune. When you do hear this song you then begin to realise why he closes the album with it, as he tries to bring it all together and make it a very secluded and isolated entity which would be a heartfelt touch for the likes of his family and friends. As a song it isn’t absolute genius but it is heartwarming and the message it sends is lovely.
Overall – 8.5/10:
Loyle never once overdid it on a song here which is so important to the overall rating, he kept everything neat and tidy and made sure there was no unnecessary addition to the track listing or the album length. He appears to be re-shaping UK hip-hip here and proving that the idea of grime music isn’t the be-all and end-all for rappers in this country, we do have people here with flow and natural talent who can be subtle with their deliveries rather than try and sell out arenas with club bangers. In short, this album is absolutely fantastic and has to be a contender for my favourite album of the year so far. Loyle went from zero to hero in the blink of an eye.