By Honor Barber

Once embarrassingly and incorrectly referred to as the “sentimental face of grime”, Loyle Carner arrived in Edinburgh last week on his own terms. Dressed in a kilt praising his Scottish heritage, he maintains an excitement unique to every venue he plays. Drawing on old soul, jazz and a gospel track sampled by Dr Dre he talks of his mum’s wish for a daughter and the death of his stepfather: Carner is vulnerable without being soppy. Unabashed about being a bit sentimental, his heartfelt use of hip hop deals with death, love and loss in Croydon. The first verse of Ain’t Nothing Changed begins with the very relatable but distinctly unglamorous “I kinda miss my student loan” and “+44” talking of the girl he texted but “never slept with”, is far awayfrom some of hip hop’s usual posturing. Carner consistently combines memorable hooks and samples with emotionally raw, explicit autobiography. Carner is able to make his London family dynamic seem universal – his appeal travels far beyond the M25, having almost sold out his entire European tour. From “Tierney Terrace” and his “deadbeat dad” to “Florence” and his love for his mum, Carner translates pain very specific to his family, onto his young audience with a causal accessibility. His album, Yesterday’s Gone, is littered with little bits of speech drawn from his daily life; from his relationship with his producer and best friend Rebel Kleff to arguing with his mum about how much he swears, his appeal is deeply personal. This might seem over sentimental but his adeptness with rhyme, geniususe of sampling and ability to work a crowd makes him hard to resist; even North Face jackets and CDG beanies couldn’t hide the audience’s wide eyes and beaming smiles.

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