Taken from this week’s Future Pop mailer. Click here to subscribe.
At the age of 20, you’d expect a rapper to be namedropping brands and packing in expletives, talking about girls and cars and nights out. But Loyle Carner isn’t playing the role of the cheeky young lad. He raps about serious subjects, such as the grief after losing his dad, and accompanies it with arty, darkly lit music videos. On production duties he has enlisted Alex Burey, an indie artist of the same age whose own music sounds quite different, but is similarly solemn and sincere. Growing up in South London, Loyle was inspired by grime artists like Skepta and Lethal Bizzle rather than US hip-hop, but in fact his music feels more like a British equivalent of the alternative R&B and hip hop that the US has been peddling in recent years. He’s already earning critical respect for his “sensitive and eloquent” work but I’m not sure there’s much mainstream crossover potential. It’s all a bit heavy for daytime Radio 1, and I can’t see Kiss and Capital going for this over Flo Rida and Pitbull. Nonetheless, we’ll be hearing more from Loyle and according to Record of the Day he is soon to sign to a major label imprint.