As the grime renaissance surges on, bringing oldies like Wiley and Skepta back to the forefront and welcoming newer faces like Stormzy and Novelist over the last few years; original grime MC and creator of grime bible, Home Sweet Home, Kano was nowhere to be seen until March this year, when he dropped his latest masterpiece, Made in the Manor, featuring Wiley, Giggs, JME and Gorillaz’s Damon Albarn.

He might have been biding his time, but Kano has returned in a full blaze of glory, entering the UK albums chart at #8, making Made in the Manor his highest-charting album, along with an overwhelmingly positive critical reception.

We might be looking at the blueprint of future grime

The album drives the genre in unexpected directions, particularly with the rock-tinged tinged Hail or balladic Little Sis. But then again, Kano did the same thing a decade ago with Home Sweet Home, so we might well be looking at the blueprint of future grime…

‘I don’t want to call this album a grime album, it wouldn’t be a true representation,’ he tells us. ‘It just comes from me, and grime is a massive influence of mine. It’s definitely the realest album I’ve ever made.’

Watch Kano kill it in the 1Xtra Live Lounge

‘I’ve always tried to push boundaries, but stay true to what I grew up listening to, which is grime, garage, jungle, dancehall and hip hop. And I feel mine is a blend of it all.

People say Home Sweet Home is a grime classic, but I don’t see it that way. At the time when I was doing Typical Me with an electric guitar, people said it wasn’t this or it wasn’t that. Then years later it becomes this thing that people hold in high regard.’

He continues: ‘I think the state of UK music today is really good. Right now people are out there making great music. It feels like people are making the music they want to make rather than the music that record labels are pushing them to make. There’s a lot of new people coming through. It just feels good.’

So with grime, in all its forms, continuing to push its way into our eyelines, grime artists are peppering almost all of the decent festival line-ups this year. So we asked Kano to help point us in the right direction… Here are Kano’s top three must-see grime acts for festival season 2016:

#1 – Skepta

‘Skepta always does a wicked, high energy set.’
See him at: BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend, Field Day, Wild Life Festival, Parklife, Glastonbury, Roskilde Festival, Benicassim, Bestival.

#2 – Novelist

‘Novelist is a new guy, he’s quite retro in his grime so I think that’s interesting for people to see.’
See him at: Rinse Born and Bred Festival, Parklife, Field Day, Wild Life Festival, Tramlines, Sequences.

#3- Little Simz

‘I wouldn’t call her a grime artist, but she puts on a wicked show. Make sure you get to see her.’
Catch her at: Field Day, Glastonbury, Roskilde Festival, Nass Festival, Tramlines, LeeFest, Reading Festival, Leeds Festival, Outlook Festival.

And most importantly, you can catch Kano this summer at: Parklife, Wild Life Festival, Lovebox, Leeds Festival, Reading Festival, Outlook, Sundown Festival, Boardmasters, Bestival and Simple Things.

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Post originally published 5 May 2016.