Ben Spurr has a quick chat with Kano about exposure, New York, planning for the future, touring, video's and more. And there's no 'Are you hiphop or grime?' Is Rapnews crossin ova? Controversial!
Kane 'Kano' Robinson is currently standing tall at the front of the pack of talented young emcees in the UK. Refusing to allow himself to be boxed in to any specific genre he rides drum and bass, hip hop and grime beats while maintaining a seemingly effortless flow. Few artists boast an appeal that is street enough for the underground but commercial enough to appear on CD:UK. Kano has that appeal and this is just the beginning of his potential. Ben Spurr caught up with Kano before a recent performance in Leeds to discuss his travels from to Malaga to Manchester and everything in between.
Lets get the standard stuff out the way. Tell us about how you came up?
Boy, that's a long story I've gotta tell ya'! Let me break it down though. I just come up just taking it for a hobby. Messing about. In school we used to emcee in the playground. Then we started to do some tapes in my bedroom with my brother and Demon. Then we got on a radio station called 'Flava'. That's the first one I went on. Did a couple of raves. Then got on to De Ja'. Joined the crew, left the crew, got a deal and I'm here now. Now we're in Leeds.
With all the emcees coming out of London, what do you think it is that gets you noticed and gives you a wider appeal than most of the others?
I just try and be open minded with my music. That's all. A lot of emcees from the scene, they wouldn't have made a 'Typical Me' y'get me? It's not that kind of sound. I like to think out of the box and be open minded in the studio. Just be creative, just experiment a little bit and try and do something different so you will stand out and you will be unique. That's why I play at the festivals. I've probably done quite a lot of festivals. More than any other 'urban' artist this year.
I hear you've recently come back from New York. Was it all work or did you get time to chill?
We were chillin' man. I had two shows at Knitting Factory and one was in The Park with like Santana. He was playing there. We were there for like four days. Went to a few video shoots like Young Jeezy, Foxy Brown, chatting to Ruff Riders. We were just chillin', shopping and just seeing how it is. We stayed in Manhattan but we were going to Harlem and the Bronx. We were like chillin' in the hood 'cause we were rolling with this guy from Harlem. So he was showing us all the spots round the hood, a couple of strip clubs. The show was good out there. The response was very good.
What are your future plans. Is it all about promoting the latest album or are you thinking about the next one yet?
I'm always thinking ahead so I've been writing a lot of stuff for my second album. I've been thinking about it a lot. Right now I'm touring, promoting the album, recording the mixtape and writing the second album, so I'm doing quite a lot.
Where was the 'Nite Nite' video filmed with Mike Skinner and was it all work out there?
That was in Malaga. That was good out there. I had a good time. It was a lot of work but I'm not in the song by myself so there was more times when I could just chill out and let them do their thing. So it was kind of like half and half but it was good out there still.
How did the excellent 'Get Set' track come about from the 'Run The Road 2' album?
It was Low Deep that produced it and I think it was the A&R at Run the Road. He must have spotted it and got a few emcees on there. He got Doctor, Ghetto, Demon and Seac on it. I just heard the tune and was feelin' the beat so I just said 'yeah, let me jump on it'.
Which shows on the UK tour have been the best so far?
The Manchester show was live. It was one of my favourite ones. I liked Glasgow and Manchester so far. Brighton was good as well. I'm gunna' be like all over. I'm still doing bare raves so I'm always here and there.
Any messages for the readers and fans out there?
Do what you need to but fuck being an emcee, its long!