Colarj Records are currently promoting The Leano with his debut album Steps To Leanoland. This CD has created quite a storm receiving reviews from a host of leading sites including ukhh, dogmanet.org, NME, Leftlion and it has been played as ‘Freshie Of The Week’ by Adil Ray on BBC Asian Network.
The Leano has been rapping and performing poetry for around six years now and is ready to release his LP which took two years to complete via an independent label. The majority of the LP was conceived in Hull, but he has now returned to his original North London haunts to further his reputation. This reputation was gained around the North Of England where he has been crowned the Battle Champ of Hull and York for the past two years.
01. Black Box Freind
03. Rolling River
04. Brothers And Sisters
05. Twisted Tongues
06. They Don’t Know (Love Tune Pt.1)
07. Messing With My Mind (Love Tune Pt.2)
09. Sex And Lies
10. On The Toilet Seat
11. Tired Streets
12. Music We Love
13. Lost In Dam
The Leano is a concious UK born rapper that utilises a fresh new form of backing tracks and combines this with meaningful heartfelt lyrics. This release is a 13 track album as as the title would suggest a fair amount of the content is devoted to the magical herbs and getting off your trolley.
As well as this though, his lyrics take the listener on a journey from passionate tales of female woes to discussing social and political issues.
The opening of the LP gets off to a slow start with the sounds of someone flipping channels. The first song Blackbox Friend is all about TV and it’s importance on society. The production has a soft rocking beat with a familiar ATCQ sample interspersed with a load of other samples off the telly.
The title of the second tune, Money says it all. It captures the essence of what money’s effects can be and how important a part of society it is. As it turns out this is also one of the most complex tracks on the album as it possesses a freakishly full backing that was crafted together by Colliss. Synths get the track going but the soundscape soon fills up. There are two basslines running alongside one another which is unusual, but somehow it works.
Rolling River produced by Meka is slower tempo and features some interesting bleeps and a pladding bass line. Apparently this was one of the first tracks to be completed and centres around the concept of music as a river. In The Leano occasionally slips into a more reggae tinged delivery. Brothers And Sisters again kicks off with some synths which don’t really do it for me and the track has a bit of a cheesey chorus. Brothers And Sisters also features a guest appearence by MC Bombaman from Vienna.
Twisted Tongues is a piano backed song and is about The Leano’s search for identity. This is particularly an issue for The Leano who feels a dichotomy between being British born, yet of Sri Lankan descent. The first verse describes an inability to identify with the lifestyle and culture of Sri Lanka, the country of The Leano’s origin. The second verse describes the hostile reaction from the British to his ethnicity. Many of these sentiments can be paralleled in many young peoples lives today.
The following two Love songs are more of an inexperienced adolescents look at love and relationships as they deal with the turmoil that can ensue when emotions are involved. The first is basically piano and synth with no beat, the second also without a drum pattern to begin with is more Gamelan based and pretty uninspiring music wise. These tracks show the lyrical energy and enthusiasm required from a performer and despite their naivity are quite engaging.
The Ganjaholic song describes the life of a simple homeless man of Hull whose only real aim in life is to sell and smoke marijuana. He’s chased and abused by passer-bys but his life is exactly how he likes it. People have apparently laughed when this song has been played, but in reality this track is really about isolation from society. The overall feeling is that of a folk song with just a simple guitar for the backing.
The Leano has had his fair share of dalliances with the ladies and has also been burned like the rest of us. This track, Sex And Lies cuts deep to the core of the male ego and exposes some of The Leano’s more personal feelings. The backing for this is mixed rather low and therefore has a bit of a poetic feeling.
Toilet Seat is indicative of the abstract things that The Leano chooses to write about and as such this is a refreshing approach. The general gist of the electronic dub track is that the toilet is where most of his thinking and writing is done and therefore it has had a big influence on the resulting LP. The sparse simple beat conjoins well with the light-hearted lyrics and as such is going to be a talking point. The penultimate track Music We Love brings in some strings and piano and is a bit of a departure as it is more of an uptempo hi-energy dance track. The theme concerns using and mis-using music. The first verse explores the commercialisation of the major players in the music game and the consequences this has on developing artists.
The final track Lost In Dam is set up with a nice drum loop and organ riffs and is a tale of a trip to Amsterdam. As you would expect is a bit of a stoners story. There are additional backing voices by Nora and Logic as well.
The variety of the LP has been contributed to by the fact that The Leano has worked with three different producers Ben, Meka and Colliss. He has a very easy to listen to voice and although his vocal patterns are quite simple they lend themselves to clarity of diction. He has more to say than your average rapper so if you like the sound of this be sure to also look out for Grounation, a seven peice Jazz / Hip Hop collaboration to which The Leano contributes.