Liverpool and Tottenham had hardly been playing the Champion League final for five minutes when Loyle Carner came out on stage at the latest edition of Primavera Sound wearing a vintage Liverpool shirt. By the end of the night the English rapper was on the winning side, although he knows perfectly well that, sometimes, you don’t have to be first to win: his first album, Yesterday’s Gone (2016), didn’t get either the Mercury Prize nor the Brit Award it was nominated for. He didn’t need to. Who says that nobody remembers the runners up? Loyle bursts out laughing when he hears that.
In truth, he laughs about lots of things. The man is content; he looks happy, lives peacefully. He has everything that he wants. Gold chains, litres of Dom Pérignon, a swimming pool with a mosaic of his face on the bottom? No, absolutely not: Loyle is a rapper but not that type of rapper. His life, which he delivers sometimes bound up with jazz and occasionally bound with accelerated funk and white glove hip hop, is decorating his new house with the girl he loves, walking his dog whilst mulling over a lyric that he can’t quite get right, eating Sunday lunch with his cool mum that we met on his video for You Don’t Know. You can’t ask for more. Well, you can: two equally brilliant rap records. He has those too. And at just 24 years old he has already done tracks with Jorja Smith, Sampha and Kate Tempest.The second album, the recent Not Waving, But Drowning, reinforces his position in the front line of the rap resistance in times of trap. He does not seem worried about tendencies because what he does, telling stories, will never go out of fashion. Especially with a good narrator: it is a pleasure to listen to him, whatever he says. Keep talking, Loyle, we will listen for as long as you want.