Review: Kano celebrates 10 years of ‘Home Sweet Home’ at Heaven
Speaking with the President of Island Records, Darcus Beese OBE, earlier this month, I had a realisation. When was the last time we saw an undebatable, classic grime album? Touching on grime’s so-called ‘resurgence’ and subsequent commercial appeal — despite being positive — Darcus made one thing clear: in order to gain longevity, “You’ve got to make your ‘Boy In Da Corner’… you’ve got to make a culturally sound record.” Now, he was, of course, alluding to Dizzee Rascal‘s debut, but the wider point remains: very few grime acts over the last decade have been able to secure a truly timeless record. As I stood patiently in the queue outside a central London venue last night (November 26th), I was thankful Kano was one of the few.
To many, ‘Home Sweet Home’ is more than an album — it marks a moment in time. Dropping in the summer of 2005, it signalled a major turning point in the validation of grime music as a legitimate genre — proving its biggest MCs were capable of creating songs as well as pirate radio-friendly reload bars — but, more than that, it was a snapshot in to the psyche and vulnerabilities of a young Kane Robinson.
With all of that in mind, the hometown leg of Kano‘s ‘Home Sweet Home Revisited’ show was bound to be more than an event; it was a celebration. Before the main act touched the stage, Logan Sama was on hand to cordially begin the proceedings, rifling through a set of classics from Crazy Titch, Wiley and N.A.S.T.Y Crew, before signalling a nod to up-and-coming prospects like Jammz and Rocks FOE.
Arriving on stage to the album’s title-track, Kano appeared triumphant. Referring to the crowd as “family”, he proceeded to perform the album in its entirety, never cutting a song off too early and only stopping to announce a special guest (of which there were many) or for a reload and the occasional interaction with the crowd.
This show was a real homecoming and the family energy was certainly in the building, with Mike Skinner on stage to lead in ‘Nite Nite’, Ghetts on fine form for his verse on ‘Typical Me’ and Wretch 32 performing a special tribute in the form of a spoken word piece. If that wasn’t enough, D Double even took to the stage to perform ‘Street Fighter Riddim’ and Kane also premiered an unreleased Wiley and Giggs collaboration, with Giggs joining him on stage to perform the track.
The biggest spectacle, unsurprisingly, came courtesy of ‘P’s & Q’s’. With the record continuing to cause mayhem at — well, anywhere with a sound system — a big response was always expected, but no one was quite ready for what happened. Before Kano even got a chance to place his lips anywhere near the mic, the crowd sang the whole track through to its close, completely acapella.
Looking back, though, the honesty of the writing on the album has paid most dividends. The space Kano was in when it was written (a young man on the verge of success, but not quite there yet) led him to relay his verses with reverence, an element of the show that was perhaps the most endearing. Nowhere was this more evident than on ‘Sometimes’. As he spits, “It’s so real now, I’ve had dreams of this album, so reality is the theme of this album… I just wanna see fans screaming and shouting,” in front of a sell-out crowd and over a decade on from the records’s initial release, a sense of accomplishment was in the air. As he continued, “I know I’ve got far, but is it too far to turn back?”, he laughed and added, “…it f*****g is now.”