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It was drilled into me from a young age that music had to have a story

Loyle Carner has a theory that becoming famous is like the slow creep of gradual weight gain. "It's very difficult to notice it when it's you," says the fast rising rapper, flashing a grin. "Like, everyone else may be saying you're getting a bit podgy but you won't know you're fat until you look in the mirror and go, 'Bro, I'm huge.'" To extend this analogy, in purely figurative terms,ladies rolex oyster perpetual datejust imitation, this slender 22 year old south Londoner has been steadily piling on the pounds of late.

Having been anointed as one of the acts on last year's BBC Sound Of 2016 list, Carner whose stage moniker is a corruption of his real name, Ben Coyle Larner has parlayed support turns for big ticket hip hop acts such as Nas, a sold out autumn gig at Camden's Koko and a single that made 6 Music's A list (bass twanging, crate digger's anthem No CD) into a growing flock of evangelising fans. And his ascent culminating on January 20, he'll hope, with a decent reception for debut album Yesterday's Gone is a reminder that Britain's recent rap resurgence isn't strictly limited to the tracksuited 140 bpm phenomenon known as grime.

Although there have been clumsy press attempts to bracket him with the likes of Skepta and Kano ("Just very fing ridiculous," he laughs), Carner's style is languid, introspective and jazz infused, audibly splicing the conscious street narratives of De La Soul, Slum Village and Common with Nineties era boom bap and a healthy helping of youthful London wit. It's an approach that turns Yesterday's Gone into a dazzling brew of nostalgia and millennial swagger most potently on the gospel tinged single Isle of Arran and, rather than being a cynical play for the wallets of ageing A Tribe Called Quest fans, it all comes directly from Carner's upbringing.

"In my house [growing up] it was David Bowie, Leonard Cohen and Patti Smith," he says, leaning forward in his seat. "Also, my mum and dad were heavily into punk, soul, blues and jazz, so when it came to me watching Channel U and MTV Base discovering hip hop they didn't want to hear about anything that was superficial. But if I brought them, say, a Nas album then that would bridge the gap. So it was drilled into me, subconsciously and from a young age, that music had to have a story." Story, family and, for that matter, family history are abiding themes for Carner but, mercifully, there's nothing heavy or too worthy about him in person.

'Mum and dad were heavily into punk, soul, blues and jazz, but if I brought them, say, a Nas album then that would bridge the gap'

We meet amid folding bikes and faded sofas at the BBC's Maida Vale Studios as Carner and best friend/regular producer Rebel Kleff rehearse for a Radio 1 live session that will take place here later. Wearing gold rings, an outsize checked shirt, black Vans and Ninja Turtle socks, Carner (who goes by Ben to those who know him) is energetic, eloquent company, talking at a sprint in a husky south London voice while joking about everything from his face ("I do look like a frog, to be fair") to a festive Instagram video of him dancing with a cat on his back ("If it wasn't for the RSPCA I'd do it on stage"). He radiates charisma and good vibes. So it may seem odd that grief has been a major catalyst in his music career.

Raised in West Norwood by his mother Jean (a special educational needs teacher) and City worker stepfather Nik (his biological father is a musician and former bookshop worker of Guyanese descent who Carner has minimal contact with), he wrote his first poem about a best friend called Christian who died of leukaemia when they were both just seven years old. "I showed it to my teacher, kind of embarrassed, and she made me perform it in front of the school," he says. "Not long after that I would just write and write." Having been diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia, Carner soon gravitated to the performing arts via a stint at The Brit School (alma mater of Adele and Amy Winehouse) and a sideline in writing raps. Then, in 2014, tragedy hit even closer to home.

'I felt the pressure to have to provide for my family and step into my dad's massive shoes. I was like, "Let me try this music thing for a bit and if it doesn't work I'll get a job." It was a leap of faith.'

While he was midway through the second term of an acting degree at The Drama Centre in Kings Cross, his beloved stepfather who also moonlighted as a musician died after suffering an epilepsy related seizure. Distraught and worried about the void left for his mother and younger brother Ryan, Carner dropped out of uni. "My mum wasn't putting any pressure on me [to quit] but I felt the pressure to have to provide for my family and step into my dad's massive shoes," he explains. "I was like, 'Let me try this music thing for a bit and if it doesn't work I'll get a job.' It was a leap of faith."

The leap paid off a run of support shows snowballed and his first EP, A Little Late, was favourably received with Carner using this personal pain as fuel both on stage and in the studio. Despite being a Liverpool fan, he performs draped in his stepfather's old Man United shirt and even recorded a song called Cantona in tribute to the older man's idol ("The ultimate sacrifice," he chuckles). What's more, Yesterday's Gone ends with a heartmelting poem delivered by his mum and a demo of the scratchy title track played by Nik.

Carner has brought this same raw, emotional honesty to sharing his struggles with ADHD, rapping about being prescribed Ritalin (which he no longer takes, as it turned him into "a zombie") and the "hell" of adolescence with his condition. Rapper Kid Cudi has recently been open about suicidal thoughts and,fake rolex oyster perpetual datejust for sale, prior to his reported psychotic episode, Kanye West namedropped his depression medication on The Life of Pablo. Does Carner think more hip hop artists should break the stigma of discussing mental health? "I think it's massively important," he says. "The whole Kanye West thing breaks my heart because he was one of the first people who allowed [artists] to be themselves. And he spoke out. He was one of the first rappers to say, as a straight man, that he was massively against homophobia, which was very important."

For his part, Carner has turned his passion for food ("I do a banging squid," he says) into the excellently named Chilli Con Carner project, an occasional cookery school he runs to help kids with ADHD funnel their excess energy into something creative. It's one of a number of upcoming projects he's looking to pursue now that his album release date is finally on the horizon. Elsewhere, he's enjoying life with a new girlfriend, preparing for a tour next month and hoping to spot Sadiq Khan on the Tube so he can personally plead with the Mayor to fix the Southern rail fiasco. "I might just grab him and subject him to my journey home," he laughs. "I just hate them so much."

Which brings us to the fact that this conqueror of countless European gig stages still lives with his mum, brother and Ringo, the family poodle, in Croydon. Given how much his family has shaped his career, can he ever see himself moving out? "Nah," he explains. "I say a lot that my mum and brother need me,imitation 1986 rolex oyster perpetual datejust, which they do,rolex watch oyster perpetual datejust imitation, but the truth is I need them 10 times more." He lets out another satisfied smile.

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