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Method to the Maadness

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Album Review

Since bursting onto the grime scene in 2004, 25-year-old East London MC Kano has produced records with the likes of Mike Skinner, Damon Albarn, and Craig David, and provided guest appearances on albums by Chase & Status, Gorillaz, and Shy FX. His fourth studio release, Method to the Maadness, continues his collaborative tendencies, hooking him up with the likes of quirky synth pop outfit Hot Chip, Jamaican dancehall artist Vybz Kartel, and the Godfather of Grime, Wiley, on an eclectic 13 tracks, which Kano argues are his most experimental to date. Opening tracks "2 Left: Topic of Discussion," a formulaic blend of languid beats, Fisher-Price production, and jarring Lil Wayne-esque elongated vocals, and the ubiquitous urban electro sounds of "Get Wild," suggest otherwise. But once the brief radio phone-in skit, "iPod Generation," and the generic, guitar-laced "Maad" are out of the way, Method to the Maadness begins to live up to its creator's claims. "Spaceship" is a cautionary tale on the merits of fame set against a backdrop of brooding dubstep rhythms and hypnotic kaleidoscopic glockenspiels, the Damon Albarn-produced "Bassment" is a head-nodding slice of authentic, minimal '80s-style hip-hop reminiscent of seminal rap pioneer Afrika Bambaataa, while closing track "Dark Days" is an introspective, ambient electronica epic featuring a soaring Tears for Fears-style new wave chorus. Best of all is the defiant "Upside," which brilliantly fuses Kano's frenetic lyrical delivery with old-school brass production and Michelle Breeze's vulnerable but engaging vocals. The teaming up with Hot Chip, "All + All Together," which must have looked like a potential standout on paper is, in reality, a rather disappointingly pedestrian attempt at electro-dancehall, while the witty lyricism of the Ghetts-featuring "Lady Killer" can't mask its irritating, high-pitched Batman-theme-styled instrumentation. Contrary to what its title suggests, Method to the Maadness' sprawling inconsistencies appear to highlight the complete lack of method in his madness, but apart from the predictable opening third of the disc, it's a highly inventive effort which refuses to compromise his genre-straddling sensibilities. ~ Jon O'Brien, Rovi


Born: 21 May 1985

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Kane Brett Robinson, better known as Kano, is an English rapper known for his wit and technique on the mike. Prior to becoming known in the U.K. mainstream as a solo artist, he was a member of N.A.S.T.Y. Crew, an East London-based grime group. His first single, "Boys Love Girls," was an underground hit that served as a springboard for his solo deal with the Warner-supported 679 Recordings. The 2004 track "P's & Q's," produced by DaVinche, was his first release for the label. "Typical Me," a collaboration...
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