Kano’s lyrics mainly focus on street life and racism, and he covers these topics really well.
Take the song "Trouble", for example. It starts off with these pianos that give the song a positive feel, but this feel is interrupted by an audio clip of a stabbing. This is done so to show the listener that crime is inescapable. We then cut to the choir singing 'Trouble, Trouble / I don't need no trouble'. This is very heartfelt, as it further emphasises this harrowing fact. The chorus of the song shows how black people were (and still are) oppressed by politicians and policemen.
Another highlight of these themes comes in the song “Teardrops”. The 1st verse has these lines from Kano:
‘If they can spray paint "N*gga" on Lebron James crib
That means a black card ain't shit when that’s the shade your face is
So basically, we're Kunta Kintes in some Cuban links
The Balenciaga's didn't blend us in’
Here, Kano is saying that no matter how famous or wealthy a black person is, they are still likely to be hit with racial insults. He is also bringing the issue of social and institutional racism in order to show that it hasn’t been obliterated; it’s still going on.
The themes of oppression and prejudice carry over to “Can’t Hold We Down”. The line 'I bet the Daily Mail wan' photoshop a spliff in’', shows that tabloids such as the aforementioned Daily Mail use editing software on photographs of blacks to put on their papers in order to fuel their fear-mongering.
We also see some personal moments on the album, like on “Got My Brandy, Got My Beats” , a song in which he talks to a friend of his who is coping with the loss of a lover. He also dives into the alcoholism that most people dealing with such things succumb to. The beat has some UK garage influences to it, as well as a piano that conveys the emotion of the situation.
There aren't many cons I had while listening to this LP, but there are some moments where it sounds like Kano is slipping off-beat when rapping along with the instrumentation. I also wish that “Bang Down Your Door” was expanded upon with another verse and chorus, as it does a really good job at setting up its instruments and lyrical content.
But other than that, it's a great album. I like the presentation of the topics handled, the instrumentation fit the songs well and Kano gives a good performance.
Fave Tracks: "Trouble"; "Teadrops"; "SYM"