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Also known as Kano
Born 21 May 1985 (1985-05-21) (age 24)
Origin East Ham, London, England, UK
Genres Hip hop
Occupations Musician, Songwriter, Record producer
Years active 2001 - present
Labels 679 Recordings (2004-2008), Bigger Picture Music (2008-)
Associated acts Ghetto
Craig David
Vybz Kartel
Damon Albarn
Kate Nash
Fraser T. Smith
Mikey J.




Kane Brett Robinson (born 21 May 1985 in East Ham, Newham, London), better known as Kano, is a British rapper. His grandparents came to the United Kingdom as immigrants from Jamaica. He was formerly a key member of East London’s N.A.S.T.Y. (Natural Artistic Sounds Touching You) Crew.




Early life

In his early teens Kano attended Langdon Comprehensive School in East Ham, Newham, where his mother still works as a netball teacher for Year 8. He attended Barking College (renamed Barking & Dagenham College) achieving a diploma in graphic design, having a flair for visual communication and graphic publicity. However In his younger years Kano was a promising footballer, representing Chelsea F.C., Junior Hammers and Norwich City by the age of thirteen,[1] but in the end he abandoned his sporting ambitions in favour of a musical career. His cousins Jonathan Fortune and Clayton Fortune play for Sheffield United and Weston-super-Mare respectively. Kano first became known on the UK grime scene for his work with his original group, N.A.S.T.Y Crew, which included members such as Ghetto. From this springboard he was signed as a solo artist and began work on his debut solo album.

Rap on the underground scene on Flava F.M as a youth after a couple of years he was scooped up by N.A.S.T.Y. Crew (Natural Artistic Sounds Touching You) who are an East London-based Grime crew . N.A.S.T.Y Crew was founded by Marcus Nasty with the original and most popular line up consisting of Kano, Jammer, D Double E, Ghetto, Stormin , Mak 10, Sharky Major r & Hyper . N.A.S.T.Y Crew had one of the most popular shows on pirate radio station Deja Vu on Monday nights from 8pm to 10pm, the sets featuring established and up and coming special guests such as Dizzee Rascal, Durrty Goodz, Wiley etc., Kano used the crews underground popularity as a springboard and left N.A.S.T.Y. His first solo track was "Boys Love Girls", which was produced in 2002, was later taken to a studio and remastered by Dizzee Rascal. Kano first became known in the UK grime scene for his work with his original group, N.A.S.T.Y. Crew. From this springboard he was signed as a solo artist and began work on his début solo album Home Sweet Home. In 2004, Kano released his debut solo single, "P's & Q's", on a 12" vinyl only release, which was a massive underground hit, marking Kano out as a rising star. He went up against Wiley on Lord of the Mics 1 in one of the most recognised grime clashes, despite only being 17 at the time and after being persuaded by Jammer.

In March 2008, Kano parted ways with record label 679 Recordings and is currently unsigned. Kano has now stated that he wishes to go back to his "grimier roots" and resume making the music that made him well known. Such a claim seems apparent in the title of his next album project, which will be called '140 Grime Street'. In early May 2008, he released a mixtape entitled 'Mc. No 1'. He is now signed to Bigger picture music.

N.A.S.T.Y. Crew

Kano is fondly remembered by fans who listened to the original line-up of N.A.S.T.Y. Crew on pirate radio. However the crew eventually lost many influential members due to the in-house fighting that caused the departure of Jammer, D Double E, Footsie and Monkey.

Home Sweet Home

In 2004, Kano was approached by Hugo Boss to model for their Spring/Summer collection,[2] but declined in order to begin recording and touring commitments. Shortly afterwards Kano released his debut solo single, "P's & Q's", on a 12" vinyl only release, which was a massive underground hit, marking Kano out as a rising star.

In 2005 Kano released his second single, "Typical Me", his first full single release. "Typical Me" became a considerable hit, reaching #22 in the UK Singles Charts. It remains Kano's highest charting single to date. The video for 'Typical Me' was directed by Andy Hylton ( The third single, "Remember Me", fared less well in the charts, only reaching #71. Two weeks later, on 27 June 2005, Kano's highly anticipated début album Home Sweet Home was released. The week his album was released, it was the highest new entry, debuting inside the UK top 40 at #36. In September 2005, the fourth single "Nite Nite" was released, featuring Leo the Lion and The Streets. "Nite Nite" hit #25 in the UK charts, spending six weeks altogether on the top 75. Shortly after the release of "Nite Nite", a promotional video for "Reload It", which featured live performance clips and backstage footage, was released to UK video station, Channel U to promote the album further. In December 2005, Kano released a remixed version of album track "Nobody Don't Dance No More" featuring new artist Katie Pearl, as a download-only single. The track was also featured as a b-side on CD: 2 of "Nite Nite". On March 13 2006 Kano released the fifth and final single from the album, a double A-side of "Brown Eyes" and "Signs In Life". The single was released on a vinyl format only, and included a free sticker, which made it ineligible for chart inclusion.

Home Sweet Home was a great critical success, getting Gold status in the UK. The album was well reviewed across the British press, most notably in The Independent and The Observer, two of the UK's major newspapers. Many artists in the UK and in America expressed positive views of the album, including Busta Rhymes, Nas, RZA, Jay-Z, Andre 3000 and Chuck D of Public Enemy[citation needed].

Beats And Bars

Towards the end of 2005, Kano released a mixtape, Beats & Bars, which was only made available at his concerts. This included various underground hits and showcased Kano's ability to rap over hip hop beats and grime instrumentals.

On 23 March 2006 Kano performed at Anson Rooms in Bristol for MTV2's Spanking New Music along with JME, N-Dubz and Unklejam. He performed various tracks such as "London Town", "P's & Q's", "Brown Eyes", "Me & My Mic" and various tracks from the new mixtape. Kano confirmed on the show that his next album was to be called "London Town".

Run the Road

Kano’s music was also featured on Run the Road, a popular released compilation containing sixteen tracks of the best of 2004’s grime music. The compilation included contributions from other popular grime artists as well, including Wiley, Dizzee Rascal, and Lady Sovereign. Kano performed a verse on the track, “Destruction VIP,” and was featured on three other tracks, including “P’s and Q’s.”[3] Kano has been hailed as one of the artists particularly standing out on Run the Road due to his seemingly effortless rapping skills, and he displays confidence as a music artist that adds to his charm.[4]

Mixtape & London Town

Before London Town was released, Kano put out a mixtape (simply called 'Mixtape' on the front cover) for promotion. This included new material such as I Write Bars Till The Milkman Comes, the track Layer Cake (inspired by the film Layer Cake) and also Kano's own versions of hip hop songs including Jay-Z's Public Service Announcement, Nas's Black Republican and Kanye West's My Way Home. The mixtape also included a preview of Buss It Up, a song which featured on the later release London Town.

London Town was released on September 10, 2007, preceded by the single, "This Is The Girl", featuring Craig David, on August 27. Along with Craig David the album features collaborations with Gorillaz member Damon Albarn (of Blur), Kate Nash, and Vybz Kartel. The album was criticised as being too commercial due to collaborations with Indie artists and not enough grime songs like Home Sweet Home had.

After the release of the album, Kano toured the UK on numerous dates as well as performing the whole album at the Jazz Cafe in October 2007 alongside a live band[5]. Kano also sold out London Astoria in the same month to put on an entertaining show also promoting Tinchy Stryder on his tour.[6]

MC No. 1 & 140 Grime St

In 2008, Kano no longer was signed to 679 Recordings and had posted all new freestyles on his Myspace page. Soon after in April, he released a mixtape called Mc No. 1 for fans before his third album 140 Grime Street hit the shelves. Despite the fact that Kano had said he wanted to go back to making grime music for 140 Grime Street, in MC No. 1 he used all American hip hop beats for the songs, yet it was still well received by fans.

140 Grime Street was released on 29 September 2008 through BPM (Bigger Picture Music). The majority of the album was produced by Mikey J, with Wiley and DaVinChe supplying two beats each, and Skepta handing the production for the song These MC's. The album featured guest appearances from Ghetto, Skepta, Wiley, and Mikey J. The first single released was Hustler. The video for the song was based on the series The Wire and shows Kano going into a block of flats with rooms of topless women packing boxes of CDs. This part of the video also bares resemblance to the films New Jack City and American Gangster.

Kano's brand new single, "Rock N Rolla" from his currently untitled album was first premiered on Radio 1xtra DJ, Mista Jam's radio show. The single is to be officially released in October. The video for the single has since been released.

The second release from Kano's upcoming album is called "More Than One Way" that had another premier on Mista Jam's 1xtra radio show. The video was also released on Kano's official YouTube page. The track was written for a campaign to promote the Diploma and was given away for free exclusively from The Diploma website ( The music video was made with the help of Diploma students from all around the country. The TV ad shows Kano walking through a crowd of students whose Diploma qualifications pop up in bubbles above them. The tasks students helped with on the video related to the course they were studying for. Creative and media students helped in producing the video and construction students helped make the set. Kano said in interview for the Sunday Times that he wanted to “inspire people, but not in a way that’s patronising and preachy”.

Kano provides vocals on the third Gorillaz studio album, Plastic Beach. He collaborates with fellow British rapper Bashy on the track "White Flag".

Awards and achievements

In 2005, Kano was nominated for 4 MOBO (Music of Black Origin) Awards, winning the award for Best Newcomer. He also won an award at the first Channel U "Best of British" Awards. On New Year's Eve 2005, Kano was announced as one of "London's Heroes of 2005" by Mayor of London Ken Livingstone. He was also nominated for a BRIT Award for Best Urban Act in January 2006. Kano made a small cameo appearance in the new British film, Rollin' with the Nines,[7] and is a playable character in the game Def Jam: Icon, the only British person to have yet been featured. Kano has received praise from many music critics who tend to cite his smooth techniques and confidence as strengths. Additionally, although he does have an accent, his rhymes seem to be easier for Americans to understand than some other rappers of the same genre, which has earned him some fame in the States.




  • Beats & Bars (11 November 2005)
  • Kano Mixtape (14 April 2007)
  • Run the Road (featured) (24 January 2005)
  • MC No.1 (7 April 2008)
  • Jack Bauer - The 7Day Edition (18 March 2010)


Physical singles

Year Title Chart Positions Album
2004uh "P's and Q's" (Released on 12.53" Vinyl Only) Home Sweet Home
2005 "Typical Me" 22
"Remember Me" 71
"Nite Nite" (feat. Leo The Lion & The Streets) 25
2006 "Brown Eyes" / "Signs In Life" (Released on 12.53" Vinyl Only)
"Buss It Up" (feat. Vybz Kartel) (Released on 7.28" Vinyl Only) N/A
2007 "This is the Girl" (feat. Craig David) 18 London Town
"Feel Free" (feat. Damon Albarn) 143
2008 "Hustler" 163 140 Grime Street
2009 "Against All Odds" (Chase & Status feat. Kano) 45 More Than Alot
2009 "Rock N Rolla" 44 4th Studio Album
2010 "More Than One Way"
  • "Brown Eyes" / "Signs In Life" was released on 12" vinyl only. The single is classified as an NCQ - "Non Chart Qualifier" as it included a free sticker. Due to UK chart rules, free stickers are not allowed to be included in UK single releases. This is why the single could not enter the charts on its release in March 2006.

Promo only singles

Year Title Additional Information Album
2005 "Reload It" Video only single. Home Sweet Home
"Nobody Don't Dance No More [Remix]"
(Featuring Katie Pearl)
Download only single,
B-Side to "Nite Nite"
. Produced by Fraser T Smith / Kano

Guest appearances

Year Title Chart Positions Album
UK Singles Chart
2005 "Routine Check"
(The Mitchell Brothers Featuring Kano &
The Streets)
42 A Breath of Fresh Attire
2009 "Against All Odds"
(Chase & Status Featuring Kano )
45 More Than A lot


External links


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