Live hip hop has always had a bad name. A reputation damaged by the money-hungry performers with apathy for their fans. They often had poor quality sound systems, looked bored on stage and often rocked up hours late.
The same cannot be said for the rising star of British Hip Hop, Loyle Carner, who blew us all away on Monday night. After the incredible reception of his debut album “Yesterday’s Gone”, Carner is on his first ever tour of Australia. After selling out Oxford Arts factory, he rocked up 9.30 on the dot, as promised, and slammed out the opener of his album “Isle of Arran” to an immense reception from the Oxford Street venue. With his producer Rebel Kleff on the decks behind him, we were thrust into the first four tracks of the album, including the skit +44 to the applause of the crowd. ‘Damselfy’ was another highlight of the night, when Carner praised his good friend and producer of the track Tom Misch. We also saw Rebel Kleff get out from behind the decks to star on No Worries and a new track which sounded as if it could have real potential.
He then took us through his most famous of his catalogue with ‘Tierney Terrace’, ‘Ain’t Nothin’ Changed’ and eventually with ‘NO CD’ to really get the crowd going. The night climaxed with an emotional monologue to the audience about Carner losing his Dad and missing his family, after which we then were taken in to Sun of Jean; with a sample of his dad’s record central in the backing track. We ended the night with an emotional looking Carner on stage, as the crowd roared in applause. He then treated us to a poem he had written the day before, which sounded like a potential verse of a new track. To be laid bare in front of your fans without the music and speak such a personal tale was a ballsy move by the 22-year-old from London, but it seemed to pay off as the whole room loved it. A brilliant night, if a bit brief, Kleff and Carner definitely left Sydney wanting more of them.
We managed to catch producer and rapper Rebel Kleff after the gig for a couple of words:
How did you guys get your names?
Well, Ben’s last name is Coyle-Larner and he was really dyslexic at school so it seemed like the right fit. For me, it was pretty standard its just my initials R and K. So Rebel Kleff sounded like a good idea.
What do you guys think about Australia?
We’ve have absolutely loved it, just haven’t had enough time to do the stuff we wanted to. But did the Harbour, botanical gardens etc. today which was sweet.
Who’s your favourite Hip-Hop artist at the moment?
Oh Jhest, for sure. (no wonder he’s on the album).