Cover Feature Nobody puts in the

He’s not just one of the UK’s most talented rappers; there’s no-one out there with a voice as distinctly honest.

As far as British talents making a gigantic splash go, things don’t get much more exciting than Loyle Carner. Growing up in Croydon, Ben Coyle-Larner (his moniker deriving from his own misspelling of his name as a kid) never set out to be a rapper, though rhyme has featured everywhere in his life since he remembers. Using writing as an outlet for his restless nature, and speaking with arresting, candid honesty about his own tight-knit world atop eclectic beats - referencing everything from the jazzy licks of Italian composer Piero Umiliani, to the colourful, richly-textured gospel music spilling out of bustling church services in the process - Loyle Carner’s universe is coloured by family, love, and togetherness. And often – for nothing escapes the grasp of Loyle’s true-to-life storytelling – grief, frustration, and grappling with how to be a man who does the right thing, are dissected with painstaking detail.

“It’s a very small, little universe we have in the house,” Loyle says, rubbing remnants of chlorine out of his eyes after a dip in the pool. “It’s just us three; me, my mum, and my brother, and everything goes through them, because it has to. I’ve got more responsibilities than I used to, and I see them when I come home. They’re all I know,” he nods. “I’m not really up to all the other stuff that other people seem to be up to,” he smiles. “I’m at home.”

Growing up with his mum, late stepdad, his younger brother, and gigantic pet poodle Ringo, it was Loyle who sat nearby on the side of the bath while his younger brother shaved for the first time (a scenario the pair recreate in Loyle’s ‘Tierney Terrace’ video), Loyle who cooked dinner for the whole family, and Loyle who attempted to marshal the ongoing football rivalries that divided his house throughout his teenage years. “My dad was a Man Utd fan,” he starts. “My brother is an Arsenal fan, my mum is a Crystal Palace fan, and I am a Liverpool fan,” he explains. All those fierce divisions disappeared, however, when his beloved musician stepdad Steven Vengeance – the main male figure in his life, besides his grandad - passed away, quite suddenly, two years ago.

He’s the reason that Loyle Carner, a dedicated Liverpool supporter, performs with an Eric Cantona shirt wrapped around his shoulders, while clad in his own Scouse kit. “When my dad passed, we didn’t take on Manchester United, but we got a soft spot for them,” he says. “All the rivalries started to fade after my dad passed. I still hate Arsenal, though,” he grins.

Class of 2017: Loyle Carner Class of 2017: Loyle Carner Class of 2017: Loyle Carner Class of 2017: Loyle Carner

As featured in the December 2016 / January 2017 issue of DIY, out now.

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