The Defender brand is tapping Kano, U.K. grime pioneer — and star of Drake’s favourite show, Top Boy — to create the soundtrack for the launch of the firm’s new Defender TikTok account.
The award-winning rapper, songwriter and actor explained, “Defender is an icon that can trace its roots back to the very beginning of a genre it now defines. [….] What’s more, Defender is more relevant today than ever and is completely unmistakable – which is the kind of aesthetic I strive for in my own music.”
For their first TikTok collab, Kano can be seen sitting on the roof of a blacked-out Defender 90 V8. The footage is underpinned by an exclusive new track he composed. (The British SUV hasn’t looked this cool since it flew over hill, over dale, through bush and briar in the latest Bond movie.)
Defender explains it tapped Kano because of his authentic and innovative approach to his craft, and the fact he’s a pioneer in the British music industry. It was Kano, Dizzee Rascal, and Skepta who took grime from its London roots out onto the international stage. Back then, in the early ‘00s, as Kano recently told GQ, he was wearing Avirex jackets and full Adidas or Akademics tracksuits. These days, he still wears Stan Smiths but mixes in, say, a grey wool Armani coach jacket and matching trousers. “It’s like a grown-up tracksuit,” he told the magazine.
In the same way Kano has matured — literally, but also stylistically — since the early days of London’s grime scene, so too has the Defender.
Conquering Any Environment
For one thing, Defender now stands on its own, as its own brand, following a shakeup of Jaguar Land Rover, now simply JLR. Officially, the artist formerly known as the “Land Rover Defender” goes by “Defender” now. (Range Rover, Defender, Discovery and Jaguar have all become their own brands under JLR’s new “House of Brands” approach, while Land Rover remains as, “a mark of trust built on 75 years of expertise in technology and world-leading off-road capability.”)
Defender, which traces its roots back to the original 1948 Land Rover, has matured from a farm truck and battle-tested bare-bones utility vehicle into a bonafide luxury-lifestyle status symbol. It’s now available in three sizes — two door 90, four-door 110, or stretched 130 — with multiple engine options and an interior replete with touchscreens and stitched leather. You can have between two and eight seats. And, the new Defender can effortlessly handle farm duty or family errands.
Crucially, despite its newfound maturity and everyday usability, the new Defender has retained the original’s off-road, adventure-ready capability. There are very few places on earth this 4×4 can’t go.
For 2024, the Defender is now available in a greater range of sizes and powertrain configurations. The new Defender 130 Outbound is intended for serious over-landing adventures, with five seats and a massive cargo area. The 110 and 130 can also be had with the top-of-the-line, 493 horsepower supercharged V8 engine under the hood. That’s enough grunt to propel the gargantuan Defender 130 from 0-100 km/h in 5.7 seconds, although why you need to do that we can’t imagine. (Unless you must urgently get eight passengers to the top of a mountain as fast as possible, the supercharged V8 is overkill in the 130, but the Defender was never one to shy away from overkill.)
The brand promises this Kano collab for TikTok is the start of a new digital community for Defender owners, so watch this space.