Loyle Carner; A New Wave of Rap

Amos Murphy 

For years rap and hip hop music has been tarnished by backwards thinking individuals; misogynistic lyrics and racial prejudices have dominated its scene for decades – up steps Loyle Carner, a London born artist who is at the forefront in modernising the hip hop genre, whilst creating some stunning music on the way.

Having released his first EP in 2014, Loyle has been gathering steam ever since, eventually releasing his debut album, Yesterday’s Gone, in 2017 – a record which was nominated for the Mercury Prize, only just narrowly missing out to eventual winner and fellow South Londoner, Sampha. 

Having been widely received as a critically acclaimed piece of work, Loyle Carner completed the UK leg of his tour in mid-October, finishing it in the home of music, Manchester. A packed 02 Ritz all gathered to experience this up and coming prodigy take to the stage and perform with such raw emotion and awe inspiring vitality – the energy was palpable. 

Performing at a pace which left the audience struggling to keep up, those who had came to see the twenty-three year old rapper were treated to a festival of the arts; anecdotes from Loyle’s childhood and some explaining the reasoning behind certain song lyrics, poems written by Loyle’s mum, a figure heavily featured in the rapper’s work, and of course beautifully crafted music derived straight from the heart and soul.

It’s easy to forget the power music can have in such a polarised modern-day industry, in particular the power in which musical lyrics can carry – just one listen to the words in Loyle Carner’s songs will remind you exactly what effect they can have – a truly visceral experience. 

Asides from taking the entire hip hop world by storm, Loyle has been gathering mass media attention off the stage too; his incredibly likeable and down to earth persona, coupled with his cheeky charisma makes Loyle a great and entertaining interviewee – a recent sit down with Benjamin Zephaniah for the Independent, being amongst one of the most insightful and captivating interviews I’ve ever seen. 

And it’s not just on the lyric sheet where Loyle Carner shows great ingenuity, as having been a long time admirer of vintage football shirts (and actually performing all of his shows with a backdrop of a huge football shirt sporting his name and the number 7), he offered fans the chance to swap their best looking old schools style footy shirts for tickets to his shows – a level of engagement which is rarely seen in such a commercialised music world.

But it was at a recent show in Norwich where Loyle gained massive amounts of praise, after he ejected a male audience member who was explicitly sexist towards a female support act, claiming that “it will not be tolerated” and the culprit in question had to “learn a lesson” by being removed from the crowd – a decision which undoubtably took massive amounts of courage, but luckily it was met with the plaudits it deserved. 

Loyle Carner is leading the way for a new generation of hip-hop, an era which is breaking away from a stigma of outdated objectifying misogyny; Yesterday’s Gone and tomorrow is Loyle Carner’s for the taking.

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