Kae Tempest & Loyle Carner – Guts

30th December 2023 · 2010s, 2014, Hip-Hop, Music

Kae Tempest and Loyle Carner teamed up to make a South London double act in 2014, blending poetry and hip hop to poignant efect in Guts. 

Kae Tempest was still Kate when this collaboration came out in 2014, and was still seen as more of a poet than a recording artist: someone you might have heard on Radio 4 rather than 6Music.

As for Loyle Carner, I don’t think I’d heard of the up-and-coming MC at all a decade ago, but I became obsessed with his tune Nobody Knows when it came out in 2023.

The South London duo got together after meeting each other – and producer Dan Carey – at a party organised by the then-new label Speedy Wunderground.

Next thing they were in the studio making magic. And this tune appeared on her Mercury-nominated album Everybody Down.

As with most of her early work (and his, the words weave a powerful, poignant spell that paint a picture of the struggle for identity amid the everyday struggles of urban life – inequality, poverty and the constant pressure to conform.

You can feel the desperation and unease from the opening line: “I’m at the edge of the edge of the edge of my life, where the nights are disease and the days are dead.”

This is the full version, with Guts backed by the brilliant B-side, Mr Dan’s Balloon Dub.