Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1099

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Krept & Konan: Special K & K

Krept  & Konan
Krept  & Konan Krept  & Konan Krept  & Konan Krept  & Konan

âWe treated everything the same, we had the same producers, we went to the same studio, it was a bit harder to do because we were trying to do so many other things as well as trying to do the album, and the pressures of the label like Where is it? Where is it? That was about it really.â Konan on the pressure to deliver the duoâs debut studio album on a major label.

Itâs been a busy few years for South London hip hop duo, Krept & Konan. Following the success of their underground mixtapes âRedrumâ and âTsunami,â the pair burst through to the mainstream with their 2013 release âYoung Kingzâ, a mixture of dancefloor bangers and introspective personal stories of struggle and survival. Now theyâre back and this time theyâve taken the long way homeâ¦

âI feel the same thingâ Krept continues⦠âThere obviously was a bit more producers involved. We probably did it a bit more intensely. It took a bit more time. On our last project, there was probably like three producers on the whole project. With this one thereâs DJ Mustard, the majority of our producers and some extra producers like Lo Key. This time we had some songwriters getting involved as well. With the last project there wasnât really songwriters involved, it was literally just me and Konan. As Konan said, the only difference really was that there was a bit more pressure.

The album entitled âThe Long Way Homeâ features collaborations with some of todayâs biggest U.K. and U.S. artists including; Wiz Khalifa, Rick Ross, Ed Sheeran, Emeli Sande as well as old friend Skepta. But with the cream of the crop knocking on their door, how did they decide which musical partnership would make the cut? âThe only person I knew we wanted on the album was Skepta from the jump,â Konan explains⦠âThe last song we did with Skepta was in 2011 when we went on tour with him. He said, Yo, when you do an album, make sure Iâm on it! So it was only right that we got busy with him. Everyone else was more like natural...meeting them and theyâd say, Yo, I want to get on the album and we said, Yeah, letâs go! We were making songs and the songs suited the people, like the beats suited the people that we got on the album, so it was all naturally falling into place. We never had a pre-planned goal to get certain people on the albumâ Krept interjects, (It happened) âbecause we were around certain people. It wasnât forcedâ.

The projects ambiguous title comes from driving the long way home one night while listening to Jhene Aiko and with down tempo electronic production and haunting vocals on new tracks like âDrifting Awayâ, itâs clear that Ms Aikoâs sound is an influence on the new album. âWeâre influenced by everything, but funny enough we didnât plan to make the songs like that. They just ended up being like that. Even Mica has a similar tone to her, the singer on "Drifting Away"; theyâve got that Jhene Aiko vibe man! We were trying to get Jhene to do (the vocals) when she came here but she didnât have time because she was so busy doing her second album.â

On returning to the studio with Skepta however, the boys were clearly happy with the reunion. âYou know what, itâs weird because itâs not like the last time we saw Skepta, was when we were on tour, weâre always around Skepta!â Krept shares. âWeâve done similar shows, we chill, we go to the same places, so when were in the studio it was like we weâre just chillinâ. It wasnât like, oh this makes sense to be back in the studio. Weâre friends, so weâre usually around each other in general.â

2013âs âYoung Kingzâ mixtape entered the Guinness Book of World Records for being âthe highest charting independent release ever,â after it charted at number 19 in the UK album chart, purely due to clever use of social media platforms and a solid army of fans. âWe like to build anticipation,â Konan reveals on their secret to success. âWeâre more of a quality over quantity kind of act. We donât flood everyone with a lot of music, so that when we do come back its always bigger and better than the last time. The last mixtape that we put out before âYoung Kingzâ was in 2010, there was a three year gap. We went on tour, there was the Otis freestyle that got three million YouTube hits. Then we had tracks with both Yungen and Chip that got big. We went on tour with Devlin as well, so by the time we brought out the mixtape, it was like âtheyâre finally bringing out a project!â We like to drip feed everyone. With the album, we didnât tell anyone what was happening. We had shot three videos before we even gave you the track list or the title. Thatâs our strategy, our marketing plan. We just like to build the anticipationâ¦I feel like, thatâs one thing that weâre good at doing over everybody else. Once we give you something and thereâs hype around it, we capitalise off that hype.â

The remix for âDonât Waste My Timeâ certainly created hype, as it features a whoâs who of hip hop including; French Montana, Wretch 32, Chip, Fekky and Chinx. The boys explain the difficulties involved with getting the one-off super group together to make the video. âThe main shoot was done on my birthday,â Krept explains with a smile. But the majority of it was on different days. The French Montana part we were in New York. Then we had a separate day to shoot Wretchâs bit and another to shoot Chipâs and Fekkyâs bit. It was loads of days shooting then we put it together to make one crazy video. It was natural, we said to everyone get your people and weâre going to come to where you are and weâre going to film you and we did that with each artist, and then we put everything together.â

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To read more from our exclusive interview with Krept & Konan, including the duo's plans to open restaurants, their youth project work and the murder of Konan's step-fatherâ¦Pick up a copy of the latest Blues & Soul magazine at your local magazine retailer, inc; WH Smith, Menzies + selected Euro Foods, Cost Cutters and a plethora of independents everywhere⦠if they don't stock it, ask for a "B&S shop save" and they will get it for you.
Words Karen Lawler

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