Kano’s last album – the 2016 MOBO-winning Made in the Manor – was an introspective reflection on his journey, friends, family and rivals. This time around, with knife crime on the rise again, the east London MC is looking and speaking out.
The 34-year-old rapper / actor has a starring role in the returning crime drama Top Boy and his sixth LP Hoodies All Summer sees him combine music and drama to devastating effect.
The powerful music video for lead single Trouble begins with a sample of an old speech by the late activist Darcus Howe, blaming politicians and police for failing black communities and creating disharmony.
Kano picks up the threads of Howe’s argument in his eerily-jaunty opening verse: “Politician, hush don’t make a sound / Been oppressing us couple centuries now / And these gunshots never reach your town / It’s never on top when you leave your house.”
The whole piece then crashes down to a gospel prayer after the video’s young protagonist, Nate, is stabbed to death in broad daylight while playing with his friends. Now with more than 100 people having been fatally stabbed in the UK this year – the youngest, Jaden Moodie, was just 14 years old when he was killed in nearby Leyton – Kano wants his music to become “a direct conversation with people of the community that I’m from”.
“I do see what’s going on, things do trouble me and it’s natural that will creep into my music,” he says. “I don’t want to be a preachy person. It’s more like ‘I get it.’
“‘I know the wider world might not get it and I know the media might not get it when a kid gets stabbed and they throw him up on screen and act like he was a gang member when he wasn’t – trying to blame the parents and everyone but the system that’s been created.”
“I think great art poses questions and doesn’t necessarily give answers and solutions – that’s not what I’m trying to do,” he adds.
“I’m here to show you my perspective, as an older person. I’m not not silly enough to think someone’s going to stop violence.
“I’m just trying to humanise situations and represent voices that aren’t being represented.”
Poet Caleb Femi has called Kano a musical spokesperson – a modern-day Bob Dylan or Tupac Shakur for Britain’s youth.
“In these times of uncertain political leadership, the endz have found their own prime minster in Kano” he writes.
“The endz minister?!” laughs Kano, whose real name is Kane Robinson. “I don’t want that job – it’s hard enough doing the jobs I do right now!”
After thanking Femi for those “kind words” he stresses the importance of his own being able to “stand the test of time.”
“This album in particular I just kept thinking about myself in the future, looking back and could I be proud of what I’ve done?
“If I had an album full of party tunes in a time like this, would that be acceptable for the artist that I believe I am?”
That’s why, when other artists are drip-feeding a constant supply of “content”, Kano is happy to operate in his own time and on his own terms.
His new record, featuring Kojo Funds, Popcaan and Lil Silva, melds UK hip-hop, grime and garage influences, as well as jungle and dancehall – reflecting his Jamaican roots. The penultimate track, Class of Deja, sees him re-connect with Ghetts and D Double E – all members of the legendary N.A.S.T.Y Crew, who are widely considered pioneers of the grime scene in the early noughties.
Kano says he’s pleased to have “inspired a generation of young artists,” recalling how, before the scene exploded and started putting “dollar signs” in people’s eyes, artists like himself, Wiley, Dizzee Rascal and Lethal Bizzle were spitting bars on pirate radio simply “because we loved it”.
One of the young fans galvanised by those trailblazers was Stormzy – who made sure to thank Kano and his cohorts for “paving the way” during his historic Glastonbury headline performance in June.
Likewise, Kano acknowledges Stormzy in his album opener, Free Years Later. But rather than celebrate his success, he recalls how police allegedly kicked open his front door, after a neighbour mistook him for a burglar. As Kano notes, “as a young, successful black man in this country – in some people’s eyes you still don’t belong”.
Perhaps that’s why he’s determined to colonise spaces that aren’t a natural home for UK rap – with a five date-tour of lavish venues like the Royal Albert Hall and Manchester namesake the Albert Hall, in October.
“I don’t remember many moments of our kind of music in those buildings,” he observes.
Before that, however, the star will reprise his debut acting role as Sully, a drug dealer on the fictional Hackney estate of Summerhouse, in Top Boy.
The cult series looked to have bitten the dust after being dropped by Channel 4 in 2014, only to be saved by high-profile fan and soon-to-be Netflix executive producer, Drake.
“He just let them know ‘I’m a big fan of the show. If there’s anything I could do to help get it back I would love to do so. I’m serious.’
“Shortly after that we sat down, me, him and [actor] Ash [Walters] and spoke about our ambitions.
“He was like ‘I don’t want to get involved in creating it. I want you guys to do what you do.'”
While there’s “definitely no cameo” from Drizzy there will be appearances from Dave – “a natural on camera” – and the “unstoppable” Little Simz.
How then do so many rappers – from Will Smith to Queen Latifah – move into acting so seamlessly?
“Hip-hop is the art of story-telling,” Kano muses, noting acting is “allowing yourself to become vulnerable”.
“Maybe there’s a confidence that it takes.”
Confidence and looking out, as well as looking in.
Hoodies All Summer by Kano is out on 30 August and Top Boy returns on 13 September.
More than 350 people were arrested across both days of the Notting Hill Carnival, the Met Police has said.
A Section 60 order, giving police additional stop and search powers, was enforced on Monday after reports of “incidents of violence”.
Thirty officers suffered minor injuries at the event, with 37 people held for assaults on police.
Cdr Dave Musker said he was “happy” with how Carnival went but “extremely disappointed” by the attacks.
“Officers put themselves on the frontline and should, under no circumstance be assaulted for protecting the public,” Cdr Musker, who was the Met’s lead officer for the event, said.
By 22:00 BST on Monday, 353 arrests had been made with 111 on Sunday and 242 on the second day of the event.
The majority – some 162 – were for drugs, while 34 were for possession of offensive weapons, 31 for public order offences and 10 for sexual attacks.
An additional 30 arrests related to the event were made by British Transport Police on London’s transport network.
A Section 60 order had been authorised for specific stations, lines, and trains on Monday “to protect the travelling public and prevent serious violence”, the force said.
More than one million people attended the festivities as record temperatures were recorded in west London.
A man in his 60s has been stabbed to death in west London.
Emergency services were called to St Mary’s Avenue in Southall at about 18:40 BST on Saturday where they found the man suffering from a stab wound.
He was pronounced dead at the scene and his next of kin have been informed, the Met Police said.
A man in his 30s has been arrested on suspicion of murder and is in hospital under police guard being treated for minor injuries.
According to a witness who gave the injured man first aid, he was stabbed after leaving a pub.
Raj Grover, who lives near to the victim, said he was getting ready to go to his own birthday party when the man knocked on his front door.
“He was ringing our doorbell,” he told the PA news agency. “He rang the bell and I went out, my son was there, he was shouting ‘Dad, come out’.
“I went downstairs and saw he was full of blood, and then I was running to pick up a towel.
“I put the towel on and I was pressing to stop the blood, then my wife came out, we called the ambulance and the police.”
Mr Grover, who runs a local business, said the victim asked him to call his wife, who then arrived at the house.
“His wife, she mentioned he went to the pub, I don’t know what happened in the pub just around the corner, he came back, was on his way back and somebody stabbed him twice, stabbed him two times with a knife on the stomach and on his side,” he said.
A crime scene and multiple road closures are in place in the area, Scotland Yard said on Saturday evening.
Drivers are being warned of hour-long delays on some roads as traffic builds over the August bank holiday weekend.
Rush-hour motorists in much of the UK awoke to early morning fog, although conditions were expected to improve.
Congestion is expected to build between 11:00 BST and 18:30 as millions take to the roads.
Rail travellers have also been warned to expect delays, with the closure of London King’s Cross and reduced services on parts of the rail network.
The RAC said its survey of 1,900 drivers suggested about 16.5 million journeys would be made for holidays and day trips between Friday and Monday.
23 – 26 August
11:00 – 18:30 Friday
10:30 – 14:00 Saturday
12:30 – 14:00 Sunday
12:00 – 14:30 Monday
Source: RAC/Inrix (times in BST)
Where will it be busiest?
Traffic data company Inrix has said drivers should prepare for delays of about 55 minutes on Friday afternoon on the M25 anticlockwise between J4 at Bromley and J1 Swanscombe.
The M6 north between Chester and St Helens is expected to see similar delays.
Inrix said the M6 north between Cheshire and Liverpool would likely have 21-minute delays on Saturday afternoon while the M25 between Gatwick Airport and the M40 could have a 26-minute delay on Sunday afternoon.
On Monday the M6 southbound between Wigan and Stafford could have delays of an hour, with traffic particularly bad at about 14:15.
Delay forecasts are based on previous summer getaways as well as planned road closures and events taking place over the weekend.
Will there be roadworks?
Highways England said most work would have been completed or lifted with 97% of motorways “free from roadworks”.
But it said more than 50 sets of roadworks would stay in place.
A spokeswoman said: “To help people have smoother journeys we have removed as many roadworks as possible, leaving only essential work in place. However, it is not possible to remove all roadworks due to safety reasons.”
The longest sets of roadworks staying in place between Friday and Monday include:
- M4 J7 to J12 (near Wokingham and Reading) – 32 miles
- M6 J13 to J15 (near Stafford) – 18 miles
- M20 J2 to J7 (near Maidstone) – 16 miles
- M27 J4 to J11 (near Southampton) – 15 miles
- M1 J13 to J15 (near Milton Keynes) – 15 miles
- M6 J2 to J4 (near Birmingham – 14 miles
Is my train running?
Kings Cross station in London will be closed on Saturday and Sunday for planned engineering works.
No trains will run in either direction between the station and Peterborough or Cambridge.
A reduced timetable will be used on the West Coast Main Line because of engineering work near Milton Keynes, with two out of four lines closed.
Virgin Trains services will be down to one per hour on most routes and services between London Euston and Holyhead will run between Crewe and Holyhead only.
On Sunday there will be two trains per hour between London Euston and Manchester Piccadilly via Crewe and Wilmslow.
East Midlands Railway services will be replaced by buses between Nottingham and Lincoln and also between Newark North Gate and Lincoln on Saturday and Sunday.
Most LNER trains will be diverted between Doncaster and Peterborough. Replacement buses will run between Retford and Peterborough via Newark and Grantham.
All Grand Central services on Saturday and Sunday will be cancelled and Hull Trains services will be diverted to run to and from London St Pancras International.
More details can be seen on the National Rail Enquiries website.
Police surrounded flats in east London when a man barricaded himself in and threatened to blow up the block.
Nearby residents in Barking were forced to leave their homes after the man also threatened to burn down the building.
Fire and ambulance crews were called to Elsdown House, Wheelers Cross, late on Tuesday, although there were no injuries reported.
A man was later detained and was given medical treatment by paramedics at the scene, the Met Police said.
Evacuated residents, who had been told to go to The Gascoigne Community Centre, in St Ann’s, were later told they could return home.
“The incident is now slowly concluding,” Barking and Dagenham Police tweeted. “The male has been safely detained by police and is now receiving medical attention.”
The son of the UK’s first “successful” heart transplant patient 40 years ago has spoken about how his father “became a celebrity overnight”.
Keith Castle, then aged 52, lived for more than five years after surgery at Papworth Hospital, Cambridgeshire in August 1979.
His son, Keith Jnr, is meeting the surgeon Sir Terence English, 86, to mark the anniversary.
It signalled a new era for transplants and his father became a regular on TV.
Keith Jnr, who was 29 in 1979, said: “Perhaps that was naïve, but the way we saw it was quite simple, really – without the operation dad would have soon died.
“I remember his first words when he came round were along the lines of ‘did Fulham win on Saturday?’
“Dad became a celebrity overnight, really. People would always stop us in the street to talk about what happened.”
Londoner Mr Castle died in 1985, aged 58.
Retired surgeon Sir Terence said he struggled to get government support for the procedure.
“Before [Keith Castle’s] operation I’d been met with tremendous criticism about heart transplantation, including a letter from the Department for Health at the end of 1978 saying there would be no funding and the moratorium on heart transplantation would be continuing,” he said.
“I thought ‘damn that’ and managed to get approval from the Cambridge Area Health Authority – and we went ahead.”
He carried out a transplant on a first patient in January 1979, who survived for a few weeks, and Mr Castle was his second.
“Keith spent 28 days in isolation following the transplant and his success allowed us to generate more funding to ensure the heart transplant programme in the UK could become what it is today,” said Sir Terence.
Surgeons at Papworth have performed about 1,500 heart transplants, including 45 this year.
The hospital, now named the Royal Papworth, completed its move to Cambridge earlier this year.
A history of heart transplants
- The world’s first human-to-human heart transplant was carried out on Louis Washkansky in Cape Town on 3 December 1967, led by South African surgeon Christiaan Barnard. Mr Washkansky, 54, died of pneumonia 18 days later
- The first heart transplant in the UK, on 3 May 1968 was performed by surgeon Donald Ross. The recipient, Fred West, 45, survived for 45 days
- A spate of heart transplants in 1968 and 1969 with short survival rates led to a UK moratorium on the procedure
- Sir Terence English carried out the first heart transplant at Papworth in January 1979. The patient survived for 17 days
- In August 1979, Keith Castle became the first recipient to be discharged from hospital in the UK, living for more than five years
Huddersfield sacked head coach Jan Siewert an hour after losing at home to Fulham, with Ivan Cavaleiro’s superb goal securing victory over the struggling Terriers.
Huddersfield remain winless this season and Siewert had been under growing pressure following Tuesday’s home Carabao Cup defeat by League One Lincoln City.
The visitors had the better of an even first half and took the lead after the break when Juninho Bacuna’s horribly miscued clearance proved to be the perfect cross for Aleksandar Mitrovic to head home.
Town levelled when Karlan Grant’s header from Flo Hadergjonaj’s centre just crossed the line despite the attempts of Fulham goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli, but Cavaleiro won it with a wonderful curled finish from just inside the area.
Huddersfield, relegated from the Premier League alongside Fulham last season, have not won in any competition since February and have taken just one point from their first three games this season.
Grant’s header, awarded by the referee with the aid of goal line technology, had looked set to give them a second successive 1-1 draw.
But Wolves loanee Cavaleiro was afforded too much time after Town failed to deal with a looped Steven Sessegnon cross and the Portuguese forward showed his class to secure a second successive league win for Fulham.
Terriers goalkeeper Kamil Grabara had earlier made two good saves from Anthony Knockaert and the score would have been worse but for the performance of the Liverpool loanee.
Siewert said after Tuesday’s defeat by the Imps that he did not fear for his job, but his record stood at one win from his 19 matches when his departure was confirmed.
Huddersfield travel to fellow relegated side Cardiff on Wednesday, while Scott Parker’s side host Millwall on the same evening.
A 15-year-old girl found dead in the Malaysian jungle after vanishing from a family holiday had starved, a post-mortem has revealed.
Nora Quoirin’s body was discovered beside a stream about 1.6 miles (2.5km) from the jungle resort of Dusun on Tuesday.
Malaysian Police said there was no suspicion of abduction or foul play.
Her body was found following a 10-day search after she disappeared on 4 August.
The teenager died two or three days before she was found, police believe.
Nora was born with holoprosencephaly, a disorder which affects brain development, and had been described by her family as vulnerable.
Her parents had previously said they didn’t believe she would have wandered off alone and suspected she had been abducted.
It’s the time of year when many parents are buying their children’s school uniform – which some say can cost in excess of £200. Do schools need to relax their rules on branded clothing to help make it cheaper? Or can online swap groups and recycling schemes cut the cost of going back to school?
The cost of school uniform
Research by market analysts Mintel suggests British parents spend about £1.2bn on clothing and equipment for school.
The Department for Education (DfE) asked 1,183 parents about uniform costs in 2015 and found it came to almost £213 per child. Adjusting its figures for inflation, it would make the average cost of uniform in 2019 almost £230 per pupil.
What parents recalled spending
Source: DfE survey of 1,183 parents in 2015, figures adjusted for inflation
Adding in PE kit, parents recalled paying the equivalent to £70 more for primary school children and between £111 and £140 extra for those of secondary school age.
Separate estimates from The Children’s Society in 2018 put the total cost of uniform at £256 per primary school child and £338 per secondary school pupil.
How to cut the cost: Online swaps
One way of cutting the cost is to swap uniform with other parents. Thousands of people are members of social media groups that do this.
Yvonne Hall, 38, from Stockton-on-Tees, set up a Facebook group for parents to donate used school uniforms.
Her 16-year-old son changed schools in the first term of last year and Mrs Hall said she found herself with “another hefty uniform bill” of about £100 on top of the cost of the old uniform.
“I decided to donate the brand new uniform my son had only worn for a week on Facebook and it was snapped up instantly,” she said.
The page now has parents sharing uniforms, PE kits and revision guides.
A sample of 100 Facebook groups set up in Britain and containing the words “school uniform” and “swap” or “free” showed they had 34,110 members between them, an average of more than 340 each.
Does it have to be a new uniform?
Kate French wants to challenge what she calls the UK’s culture of “always buying new” school uniforms.
She set up the charity Uniform Exchange in Huddersfield in 2011 to help families who were struggling with the cost of basics items, but now says the project is also about reducing waste.
“If anything has got life left in it then we should be recycling,” she said. “By the time my kids get home in the evening, their uniform is covered in pen or mud.
“Any school uniform will look second hand by the end of the first week.”
What help is available?
Some councils or schools offer financial support.
In England schools can use the funding they get from the DfE’s pupil premium – money allocated for children from poorer backgrounds.
Hackney Council spent £72,300 on school uniform grants in 2018-19. Manchester City Council spent £208,529 on school uniform grants in 2014-15 but stopped offering them the following year.
A spokesman for the Local Government Association said funding cuts from central government had resulted in councils finding it “increasingly difficult” to provide grants for school uniforms.
In Scotland families can apply for a £100 grant in the same way they apply for free school meals.
From September families in Wales can apply for a £125 Pupil Development Grant, which comes alongside advice to schools to have gender neutral uniforms and minimal branding.
In Northern Ireland funding varies from £35.75 to £56 depending on the age of the child.
Is uniform cheaper in the supermarket?
The BBC compared school clothing on the websites of four large UK supermarkets and found the average prices were about £58 less for a primary school uniform and £118 less for a secondary school uniform than in the government’s survey of parents.
The saving is likely to be higher as the analysis is based only on buying one of each item, excluding any spares parents would typically purchase.
It also depends on whether schools would permit parents to use supermarket uniform or whether they have to have items with the school’s logo.
Can school uniform be cheaper?
Difference (£) between average cost of uniform in supermarkets and government estimates
What do suppliers say?
Suppliers of school uniforms said their costs were lower than the estimates in the government’s survey.
A spokeswoman for Price and Buckland said uniforms should be affordable for everyone, adding: “We work with some schools that offer pupil premium and offer vouchers to parents to support them with purchasing uniform.”
Michael Franklin from National School Uniforms said supermarket clothing, while cheaper, was generally “far inferior to the norm”, with bespoke items lasting “three times as long”.
Carolyn Budding from YourSchoolUniform.com said schools should take out contracts with single suppliers, who could “offer more competitive prices”.
“This is contrary to government advice to schools to offer a choice of suppliers,” she said.
What is the government doing?
Emma Hardy, Labour MP for West Hull and Hessle and a former primary school teacher, said schools needed to “poverty proof” their uniform policies and remove the need for clothing with school branding so they could be bought “from any shop”.
“I think if you can make uniform more accessible parents can make it just as smart as if it’s been bought from a specific school retailer,” she said.
A Department for Education spokeswoman said: “Our guidance states that schools should prioritise cost when setting uniform policies, including making sure uniforms are easily available at different outlets, and keeping compulsory branded items to a minimum.
“We have been clear that when there is a suitable time in Parliament, we intend to make this guidance statutory.”
Ola Ince is a south Londoner who is taking London’s theatre scene by storm.
The 30-year-old has directed a host of shows in the West End including Tina the Musical.
She is also not afraid to tackle controversial subjects that ask questions about race and gender.
Ms Ince addresses these issues in her latest project at the Donmar Warehouse.