Kano Home Sweet Home

UK rapper Kano is to North America what Jay-Z was to the suburbs: an easier to swallow ghetto pill for pop audiences. The Streets, Dizzee Rascal and today’s "it” British grime import, Lady Sovereign, have all made it to these shores, finding them hospitable for short stints, which are (more or less) the result of a feeling, however fleeting, of needing something different. His lyrics are easily decipherable, a plus for those who thought Rascal was ridiculously entertaining but were dumbfounded by his accent. Kano’s beats remain true to the grime aesthetic — rave-influenced, bass heavy tracks that creep up on you all jittery like, as in "P’s & Q’s” — but with most of the harsh edges rounded off. Kano is at his best on "Why Me?” and covering the anxiety about his impending success spills with "Sometimes.” Elsewhere, the formula fails with flamenco-flavoured "Remember Me,” "Nobody Don’t Dance No More” or the juvenile chant of "Boys Love Girls.” Fans of Jay-Z's "99 Problems” get "I Don't Know Why,” which bites the beat from Black Sabbath’s "War Pigs.” Overall, Kano’s debut is uneven but different. Full disclosure: Home Sweet Home first came out (in the UK) a year ago. (We The People)