The simultaneous release of ‘7 Days x 7 Nights’ by Krept & Konan is history in the making. No other British artist has ever made the historic move of releasing two mixtapes on the same day, and after a two year wait, Krept & Konan’s brand new project marks a new ambition for the pair of South London rappers for whom the sky’s the limit.
The music Krept & Konan make might be categorised as ‘road rap’, but these two musicians are unafraid to lead with their heart. ‘7 Days’ has an array of UK talent including Abra Cadabra, Stormzy, Skepta and J Hus while ‘7 Nights’ boasts features from Hudson East, Tory Lanez and Jhene Aiko. For Krept & Konan the excitement in creating the tapes has been in never really knowing what the exact end result would be, “I’m not going to lie I feel like the approach on ‘7 Nights’ is easier than the approach on ‘7 Days’ like, in terms of ideas. Literally, situations that we go through a lot – these are real situations!” Konan says before Krept who’s sitting on his left comes in, “I just think not knowing how the songs are going to blend makes the song exciting. We didn’t specifically know what they was going to do on the tracks or how it was going to turn out but like when you hear the tune with Jhenè, that is Jhenè. And you hear the tune with Tory Lanez like, that’s Tory Lanez and we all just collaborated on these records and it’s all of us at the same time which makes the songs so unique.”
With UK music in such rude health at the moment, it’s only right to ask Krept & Konan to reflect on how deeply they feel about their own development as musicians within the culture over the last decade. Konan goes first, “I feel like we just get stronger. We know what the end goal is, we come up together and we see a lot of stuff. We’re more in tune, we both notice little things. We know the game’s not as friendly as you’d think it is. Some people will stab you in the back, some people are two faced, some people are good people. We just learned at the end of the day we’ve got each other – so it’s cool. It’s just made us closer and more aware.”
I just think the UK in general is in a really good space and I just think it’s only going to get better – Krept
In run up to the release of ‘7 Days x 7 Nights’, Krept & Konan shared teaser visuals with their friends on the scene first hearing their bars. Reactions of Wretch 32, Dave and J Hus only served to ramp up anticipation as the rest of us waited in anticipation of release day. “I feel like the UK has got a lot stronger,” Krept tells me, “and a lot bigger. Everyone we’ve worked with we’ve got a relationship with or we’ve got a bond with. Like all the collabs happen out of us just being friends with these people or having relationships. I just think the UK in general is in a really good space and I just think it’s only going to get better. We’re out in Africa and performing with a couple of the mandem like, everyone is actually out there doing this thing – it’s no longer just UK.”
Since their last album two years ago, I wonder how they feel their own storytelling has evolved over countless hits and multiple releases. “It’s just experience,” Konan says openly, “I feel like we always had the ability to song-write. It’s the environment you’re in which makes you express the different kind of genres that you’re making at the time. If it’s more harder rap, it’s because we were in the environment of that mindset. So when you’re making a song, your whole energy, your whole everything you give to the song is that. So the more you experience, the more wider range you see things. Absorbing everything – and then you’re approaching things differently, you’re approaching the song differently, thinking about how catchy it would be – you’re thinking about simplifying things. If I was to talk about a certain situation in this way, only my people from my area will understand. Whereas now, I’ve got the whole world listening and we’ve got to be able to make them relate to it. And that’s how ‘7 Days & 7 Nights’ come up, because of us considering the whole audience.”
Fans have already had a first taste of what’s to come from the project with the release of ‘For Me’ lifted from ‘7 Nights’ and ‘Wo Wo Wo’ taken from ‘7 Days.’ But some people may dismiss it as a record that’s been made ‘for the girls’ when they first hear ‘7 Nights’ which is filled with smoother, R’n’B influences; but this idea is a false narrative.
That’s the one thing everybody can relate to in this world is companionship and relationships – Konan
The fact is, for many of us, the definition of ‘grown folks music’ comes from our parents playing Prince, Luther Vandross, Marvin Gaye or Barry White. So I ask them whether ‘7 Days x 7 Nights’ simply represents a chance for the pair to explore a full spectrum of emotion “That’s what music is about init,” Krept explains “as humans – like, you can be the most ‘gangsta’ person in the world; but I’m sure you have a girl that you love, that brings out that emotion in you. Every single person has that love emotion. It’s not about just being in the club everyday turning up and getting gassed. It’s not just about being in a club and being on the roads and being gassed. Like, there’s so many different aspects of life that you can channel in music.” Konan picks up the point, “that’s the one thing everybody can relate to in this world is companionship and relationships – do you know what I mean? It’s one language we all know init? Is love. Like everybody – we’re all here because somebody had a relationship with somebody. So we’re not scared to show you that we go through that because it’s real.”
While they have been taking time out to travel and create; Krept & Konan’s interests run deeper than just superficial celebrity life. In 2016, we saw a number of musicians taking education into their own hands. Using their resources, Krept & Konan set out to arm the next generation of creatives in Croydon through their Positive Direction Foundation which officially launches November 6th and will run until December 12th at Harris Academy in South Norwood. It works by enlisting industry experts to conduct secondary school workshops centered on songwriting, sound engineering, graphic design and programming for young people aged 11-18.
For Krept & Konan, it’s their way of making sure ladders to success aren’t pulled up behind them, “The concept basically came from remembering how we came up, and how we got in the game and remembering what we had to go through go get where we are now.” Konan continues, “It’s kinda about helping people not go on the paths we chose, in terms of the streets.”
They closed down the youth clubs and it kinda put us back on the streets because we had nothing to do – Krept
Krept takes up the point, “the main reason we decided to do it is because when we were coming up we was going youth clubs when we was younger. It kinda took us away from being on the streets. They closed down the youth clubs and it kinda put us back on the streets because we had nothing to do. So we thought, let’s make something for these kids that they can do instead of being on the streets. It’s after school hours, they can come there, they can learn. Learning in school they don’t really teach you the realities of things in life. I did stuff in I.T. but I didn’t learn how to finish a product, or if someone was to say I want you to design a mixtape cover you wanna teach them how to actually do it. How engineer, how to mix or how to produce a beat from start to finish.”
Konan nods in agreement before adding, “we’re basically trying to help them like, if they’re really trying to do this music thing, we really wanna actually help them do this music. It’s all good distracting them [with an after school club] but we’re actually trying to make them learn this business for real for real. Graphic design, production, engineering, songwriting all the stuff we actually apply now to making ‘7 days x 7 Nights’ – we’re actually giving them the gems and the knowledge of it.” Turning those aspirations into a practical reality remains most important, “I just think when you come and see people on television you know, glossy videos, songs sounding really mixed -” Krept begins before Konan finishes “they don’t know the hard work that goes behind it.”
“Yeah,” Krept agrees, “we wanna show them that it’s even possible to do it.”
I ask whether they feel all the recent chat about parody rap has been overstated? Krept is first to say, “I just don’t get how you can be upset about something that everyone likes? I would just never comprehend that. He’s [Michael Daapah] done basically what everyone was meant to do like, as a musician. What you’re meant to do is get a big song or get something that catches fire and everyone sings it – I’ll go to a rave, hear that and get gassed so, why can’t he perform it?”
Even the comedians like Michael Daapah are making it in the States an dat… he’s from the ends. We love him – Konan
“And the same people that are upset about it helped it get viral in the first place. Cause I know a lot of them spread it like ‘oh this is funny’ but now you’re upset that it’s actually spread?” Konan finishes, confused at the idea.
“I think people love you until you start doing better than them,” Krept supplies when I ask if envy comes into play. “It makes them feel inferior a bit when you make someone too big because [they think] if you’re not doing well it makes you look bad, where it’s not. It’s just they’re doing well init, they’re opening doors for when it’s your time. Everyone just needs to realise there’s a time. Everyone has their time init. And everybody can’t shine at the same time, and would you rather be popping now, or 10 years from now? Do you understand? Or five years from now could be your time, are you willing to wait that long? And a lot of people are not. They just want to see what’s going on now so it’s just about your mindset I feel like.” Konan rounds up our conversation.
‘7 Days x 7 Nights’ is the end result of work we don’t all get to see. Music for all dimensions, from two artists using their clout to ensure there are ways off the roads for those that come behind. Krept and Konan continue to put humanity and love in the music they produce, they stay repping for the UK worldwide.