Welcome to The List, The Edge‘s annual look at the best new musical talent for the year ahead. Check back daily over the next fortnight as we announce this year’s lineup in full, and revisit our picks from years past.
Here’s a taste of Loyle Carner’s CV at the ripe age of 22: an actor, BRIT School graduate, and rapper who has supported Nas and MF Doom, toured and collaborated with Kate Tempest (‘Guts‘), and completed a brace of festival seasons with spots at the likes of Glastonbury – and his debut album Yesterday’s Gone is still just a little over two weeks away.
Now 22, Benjamin Coyle-Larner has been rapping since he was a child – in primary school, he’d have rap battles with friends whenever possible despite being, in his words, “veeery shit.” His feeding material came from a diet of east London’s sound in the early noughties (“It was so accessible… It gave me a voice.”) with grime from the likes of Kano, Lethal Bizzle, and Skepta striking him in particular.
Yet, Carner’s sensitive lyricism places him firmly apart from the bustle of grime artists set to break through in the year ahead. ‘Cantona‘ and ‘BFG‘ speak of death and sadness with brutal honesty, drawing on his education in expressing himself through those playground rehearsals (“Everybody says I’m fucking sad / Of course I’m fucking sad, I miss my fucking dad”). On tracks like ‘Eleven,’ he raps about mundane aspects of everyday life over compelling beats that recall J Dilla and vintage foundations of hip-hop (“It’s autumn, and he didn’t want to lose her so he bought ’em two tickets to the theatre – the National Waterloo”).
After establishing a cooking school for young people like himself with ADHD in 2015, Carner’s next moves are to release his long-awaited full-length Yesterday’s Gone and take it on the road. The latter should come naturally, having won DICE’s prize for the best emerging live act in the UK in November; the record itself, set for January 20th via his own AMF Records imprint of Universal after a process that he described to The Edge as “at times very, very easy, and at times very, very hard,” features new music alongside regular collaborators like Tom Misch and Rebel Kleff and new single ‘The Isle Of Arran,’ which our five-star review praised for its “ironic” choral bed to Carner’s frank approach regarding role models both paternal and metaphysical.