Track Review: Yesterday // Loyle Carner

Photo by Francis Plummer

In 2019, NME Award winner Loyle Carner released his sophomore album Not Waving, But Drowning to critical and commercial success, with the album peaking at #3 on the UK Charts. Now he’s released his first single of the year, ‘Yesterday’, a dream collaboration with one of hip-hop’s greatest producers ever in Madlib. You can watch the music video for the single below.

As usual, Carner’s flow is casual, almost conversational as he delivers his typically hard-hitting lyrics. Bars like “My grandfather getting knuckled by the pepper spray / More fire brings the riot like a renegade” are intensely relevant to issues of race, both contemporary and eternal.

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Despite the smoothness of his flow and his usual excellent lyricism, Carner sounds slightly out of place over the lush beat crafted by one of hip-hop’s greatest.  The Madlib instrumental is rich, defined by a soul sample and horns, yet Carner’s voice is a little too laidback for the production.

At the end of the music video, we are teased with a poster for ‘MADLOYLE,’ which could be seen as the potential title for a collab project between the two similar to Madlib and MF DOOM’s Madvillainy. If such a project goes ahead, I have no doubt it would be Carner’s greatest to date, even when considering the high quality of his first two albums.

Words by Jack Oxford

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