Ain't Nothing Changed - Loyle Carner

from the album Yesterday's Gone (2017)

I have had the opportunity to travel to the UK nearly a dozen times in the past five years.  Each trip is a musical journey filling me with new perspectives and attitudes.

I have come to realize that England is not a fountain of perpetual music, but rather a melting pot where the mixture is perpetually distilled to produce exquisite new sounds.  As a result, I have heard Appalachian Folk in Leicester, Northern Soul in York, and endless Ska Horn players in London Afro-beat bands.  All of it of the highest quality and all of it containing a uniquely British character.

One of the most intriguing of the genres in this musical meat grinder in hip-hop and rap.  It seems to me that the British approach is to sidestep some of the attitude associated with genre to focus on three elements: storytelling, beats, and soundscape.

Ain't Nothing Changed by Loyle Carner is a London rap tune that demonstrates the point.

The song opens to the soulful beauty of a saxophone evoking thoughts of late nights and rainy city streets.  The sax lays down the central melody line with the counterpoint delivered by subtle keys.  This soundscape is elegant and magnificent.

Then enters the beat.  A straight and simple pattern provided by hi-hat, snare, and bass drum.  The tone has grit, with a "live" element that adds an urgency to the soundscape.

Lastly, the vocals of Loyle Carner.  Telling the story of his struggles in his own voice.  I dig the accent and the honesty in the vocal.

Collectively, these elements captivate me.  It is a different kind of rap.

Click Here to listen to Ain't Nothing Changed.