You ever have an artist that’s been on your radar for years, but you’ve never actually heard on their own tracks before? You know – they’ve collabed with artists you like, you even made a mental note to check them out. It’s only when you actually find one of their own releases that you realise you’ve never heard them on their own before.
Andy Preston, AKA Britizen Kane, was on the scene in 2009, but it was his 2016 EP Orson Welles that got tongues wagging. Since then he’s dropped a steady stream of bangers (even collabing with Tim McIlrath of Rise Against), and spent time with veterans like Sway and his Dcypha Productions company. Collabs with hip hop heavyweights like Leaf Dog, and acts from across the pond like French Montana and Joell Ortiz, have boosted his profile, but it was his debut LP House of Kane that gave him space to make a real impression.
His follow up EP Paradise and All Its Problems, though, takes a different tack to the more traditional hip hop sound on House of Kane. This time the Manchester-based MC has filtered his machine-gun delivery through the bass-layered kickdrums and wobbly synthesizers of trap. That’s not to say everything has changed, though. Lines are still delivered with dizzying dexterity, rivalling the verbal ferocity of US acts like Joyner Lucas or B Dolan, the only difference being that this is low down dirty rap from the heart of the north-west.
When Kane spits “Nah I’m too clever for simple punches / these two leathers throw ‘em like the new Lennox,” on opener ‘The Haçienda’, he’s not wrong. The track leaves you feeling like you’ve just staggered out of a sparring session, bloodied and bruised from a series of combos you never saw coming. The EP could go on in this vein and still deserve serious props, but Kane isn’t one to sit back and coast. Instead, he switches up the pace with ‘My Neighbour Totoro’, which sways like a drunk in the club at 3 am, while ‘Pressure’ wouldn’t sound out of place on the soundtrack for the third series of Atlanta.
The EP doesn’t shy away from the darkest subject matter, with a personal focus on addiction, depression and suicide. That’s not to say Paradise and All Its Problems is all doom and gloom – far from it. ‘Paradise’ (with vox from up-and-comer Becki Yates) is a word-perfect ode to never giving up, while closing track ‘All Its Problems’ is testament to dusting yourself off and flicking a middle finger to adversity.
Whether you’ve heard his name in passing, seen him on an album or never even heard of him before, Britizen Kane is definitely worth your time, and Paradise and All Its Problems is the perfect introduction.
Paradise and All Its Problems is out now on Roadblock. Check the full EP on Spotify here.