Until a few weeks ago, we'd barely heard a feature verse from London MC Kano in years, and in his absence the words "grime revival" have become two of the most used in the English language, as tracks from Skepta, The Square, Dizzee, Stormzy, Jammz and more continue to explode on what is becoming a weekly basis. So it's poetically apt that one of the original scene's most potent and prolific MCs is now back in the 2015 game, and premiering the video for his comeback trailblazer, “New Banger,” on Noisey.
The video is directed by Risky Roadz, a pioneer of grime video culture, and offers front row seats at a party hosted in Kano’s living room, off setting Jägerbombs and marinated pork ribs with thundering beats. And when it comes to the bars, Kano hasn't lost any of his trademark bite, resulting in a track that's fully-charged and ready to go off at a rave near you.
He even found five minutes to have a chat with us, and so marks his first interview since announcing the official comeback. Watch the video below, and read our interview.
Noisey: Kano, it’s been a while! Does it feel good to be getting music out there again?
Kano: It does feel very good. I haven’t stopped working on stuff in the time I’ve been away but after a while you need to get it out there and play it to people. Once I see people hearing the tracks and reacting to them, it shows me I’m not going crazy.
Not only that but you’ve come back with two certified bangers. Was that always the plan?
Definitely. “Hail” is probably the bigger statement. That was my way of showing people that I wasn’t going to come back and try and do what everyone else on the radio is doing, but instead I’m going to make what I like. “New Banger” is a statement, but it is more about giving the DJs something for the clubs. I think it should have a lot of club longevity as a tune.
You worked with Risky Roadz on the video. Who came up with the initial ideas?
I usually hate the whole process of pitching and making videos. I’ve had so many made and I only like about two of them. So with these ones I just thought, fuck it, and I started myself, then I called Risky in, because after a while I realised I needed to be in some of the shots. For “New Banger” we literally spent all of the budget on food and drink for the party. I just wanted to throw a party round my house, invite my friends and family, and essentially let the viewer be a plus one.
All the budget on food and drink?
Yeah literally. I was getting texts like “I need ginger beer to mix my drink” or “I don’t eat pork, can you buy some fish?” I suppose that’s what I wanted though. I feel a lot of hip-hop videos are all about portraying a lifestyle that the artist doesn’t even live. This is different. That is my actual living room, full of my actual friends and family.
That authenticity is what Risky Roadz does best though, right?
Yeah exactly, he gets that, going all the way back to the old freestyle videos. The whole thing has to be real.
And you are launching the singles on Record Store Day?
Yeah, I just thought it would be a really nice touch to get these pressed on vinyl. People don’t always do that anymore but I think it can be really important, having that physical version instead of just downloads. It is what I used to do, press my tracks onto dubplates.
So we’ve got two new tracks, two new videos, what is next?
Well, both “Hail” and “New Banger” are going to be on the new album, which I’m still working on. I’m putting a lot of time into it because I want it to be right, but I’m geared up to get it out there.
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