British MC Loyle Carner delivers his rhymes with an intentional, poetic flow, buffered by warm jazzy production that recalls '90s acid-jazz hip-hop. He made his breakthrough debut in the late 2010s with the Mercury Prize-nominated Yesterday's Gone.
Born Benjamin Coyle-Larner in South London, he began recording demos that — when passed to friends King Krule and Rejjie Snow — earned him a 2012 opening slot in Dublin in support of MF Doom. In 2014, he made his recording debut with the EP A Little Late. "Guts," a collaborative track with poet/rapper Kate Tempest, was released that same year. In 2015, he issued the indie single "Tierney Terrace" before he signed with AMF, a label associated with Virgin EMI. The young creative had begun to generate hype among lovers of alternative hip-hop, and was noted for the distinct difference between his languid vocal delivery and the more abrasive delivery of his Croydon counterparts. His introspective and astonishingly honest lyrics certainly made an impression, and created waves with tracks like "The Isle of Arran" and "Ain't Nothing Changed." The tracks were featured on his debut full-length Yesterday's Gone, released in early 2017. Months later, the set was nominated for a Mercury Prize and landed on multiple year-end best-of lists in the U.K.
In 2018, Carner hit the U.K. singles chart for the first time with "Ottolenghi." The next year, he surpassed that song's performance with the Jorja Smith-assisted "Loose Ends." His sophomore effort, Not Waving, But Drowning, arrived that April. ~ David Jeffries & Neil Z. Yeung