May 22, 2024

As further evidence that Americans aren’t the only ones who can create meaningful hip-hop, we come across another rising European hip-hop star. Benjamin Coyle-Larner, whose stage name is Loyle Carner (a spoonerism of his surname), is a young hip-hop artist from South London.

Due to his non-existent relationship with his Guyanese father, he became close to his stepfather. After his stepfather’s sudden death in 2014, Carner dropped out of the Drama Centre, a British acting school, to focus on his music.

He often discusses his family’s dysfunctionality and hardships with frankness, which has been dubbed “confessional rap” by critics. Though Carner’s debut album “Yesterday Is Gone” was just released in late January, he has released an EP called “A Little Late” in 2014. He’s also made many singles to add to this collection.

“A Little Late” is composed of the “confessional” style that’s been linked with his lyricism. The sound is consistently marked by varying guitar-oriented beats. “BFG” is a somber song lamenting the passing of his stepfather and the negative effects it had on him. The song “October” discusses how October makes him think of a relationship he once had.

Carner’s theme of confessional rap has a strong presence in his recently released debut album “Yesterday’s Gone” as well. An exceptional song from this album is “Mean It In The Morning.” With a steady, chilled and wavy guitar beat, it sets the tone for straightforward lyrics, which talk about how a person helped him through struggles.

Another great storytelling song is “Stars & Shards,” which consists of a deeper and bluesy guitar beat. It tells a story of a man named Sonny who slowly spirals out of control in a life of drug addiction, sex and violence.

Outside of his albums, he’s made singles as well. It follows the same general themes as the songs from his albums. One called “Mufasa” talks about how he strives to be a better father than his problematic biological father was to him.

Another great single is “Crazy Dream,” which is a duo with Carner and a talented alternative hip-hop producer. The song is about life going pretty well, and hoping things remain that way.

Carner is undeniably a rising British hip-hop prodigy. It would be no surprise to see him rise to somewhat notable fame in the coming years. His honest and straightforward lyricism, paired with his tendency towards chill and catchy beats, makes for an irresistible listening experience.

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