Written by Sophie Wyatt
Following his recent release ‘Hate’, South London rapper Loyle Carner is back again with another track delving into the topic of ethnicity from his perspective of being mixed race. The track includes a sample from Afro-Guyanese playwright John Agard who recites passages from his poem ‘Half-Caste’. Opening and closing Loyle’s lyrics, the poem guides the listener towards the lyrics which focus on the rapper’s embracing of his heritage – in black and white.
Race is something that Loyle has touched on in his previous songs – speaking on his Guyana/British race. The prior being received from his dad, who Loyle also explains was absent for much of his childhood. Making understanding this side of his life ever-more difficult. ‘Yeah, I’m black like the key on the piano/I’m white like the keys on the piano’, are among the lyrics that make a clear statement while also offering relatability to other mixed race artists, creatives and individuals that feel stuck between two worlds. Loyle’s last two songs open a new, poetically engaging chapter. Inviting listeners in to hear a more vulnerable, yet undoubtably confident version of himself.
When speaking on the track, Loyle explains: ‘John Agard’s poem “Half-caste” had a heavy impact on me. To see someone who was older, that looked like me, sharing a reflection of a similar lived experience made me feel comfortable/proud to not fit in. It kinda gave me the permission to finally write explicitly about being mixed. There’s so much beauty in the gaps in-between, and in some ways this song touches on that. For me, it’s about finding this inner confidence through understanding of self, and spending time back home. It is a representation of finally feeling like one whole person instead of two halves. Also another piece of the MADloyle puzzle. More on the hard drive.’