Marketed as a double-LP, Krept and Konan’s second major release is actually two mixtapes: “7 Days” & “7 Nights”. This isn’t exactly groundbreaking in its concept but it certainly benefits from the structural shift from their previous record “A Long Way Home”. For the uninitiated, Krept and Konan are two lyrical cats from London who blend clever wordplay, British slang and thumping “American-ized” production to popular effect. Their breakthrough mixtape “Young Kingz” was particularly noteworthy for cracking the Top 20 Albums Chart in the UK, while their debut major label release “A Long Way Home” (2015) is the highest-charting British rap album ever (#2) – until Stormzy’s “Gang Signs and Prayers” this year which became the first #1 British grime album. It’s worth noting that these facts are distinguished by the terms rap and grime, despite “7 Days” featuring both Skepta and Stormzy.
“7 Days” is the record for the streets and the clubs, whereas “7 Nights” is aimed at “the ladies”. As archaic as that generalisation is, it mirrors the prerequisites of many a chart-topping rap album: songs for the streets, songs for the clubs and songs with accessible hooks or an R&B flavour. The decision to double their streaming revenue by splitting the 21 tracks in to two albums/mixtapes is a wise one, but it’s nothing new. E-40 released three mixtapes in one day, Nelly did something similar with “Sweat/Suit” in 2004 and even in the UK we’ve had unique releases such as Brotherman’s “The Dark and the Light” utilising the Ying/Yang theme. You could even look at Outkast’s “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below” for an album that included two different genres.
Production is heavily influenced by American artists, particularly the work of Future and French Montana. To some this is a criticism, but Krept and Konan are dropping bars over this clubby sound, which not many emcees are doing. They throw in strong wordplay that, while not toppling a Chino XL, really lends their rhymes an extra dimension. These tend to be delivered in one-liners like “I got your #WCW holding my belt” or “You wanna take shots like Barca but don’t wanna say me name, argh!”.
The Stormzy-assisted “Ask Flipz” is a perfect example of this:
Braggodocio is emphasised from the outset – “Champions League”, “Told You” and even “Wo, Wo, Wo” all equivalate to rubbing your nose in to their success. Not until “Khalas” do the rhymes suddenly take off to the levels “Young Kingz” had us raving about them. The rhymes are that intense that the beat is constantly stopped, almost as if the beat has given up on the emcees.
“Last Night in LA” is the solo Konan track and if you didn’t think he’s one the best in the UK, this is strong evidence:
“Now everybody thinks they’re Escobar
Looked at my DJ like nah, Cos
They’re taking this ting too far, Cos
They want the throne but it’s ours, Cos
If they want, we can swing it out
Just know I’ve got the ting parked off
You’re talking tough but you need to stop
You don’t put in work, you need a job
Look, I ain’t even been on Breakfast Club
But they envy when they see the god”
(Krept & Konan’s tour DJ is nicknamed Cos). Not to be outdone, Krept shares the socio-political issues on his mind with “Cold Summer”:
“They still follow us around on the shop floor
For the same job got to do a lot more
I know it ain’t equal
So I’m tryna own shit and employ my people
I wish it weren’t quite true
They don’t see the same as a white dude
And to my white folks thinkin’ “But I do”
Man trust me not everybody’s like you
They see me in a hoodie thinkin’ how you driving that
They think why do blacks love buyin’ ice and that
Bruh they went Africa and took our diamonds from us
Now we just want our diamonds back”
Skepta drops by for “On My Life” and delivers a typically nostalgia-heavy verse referring to his penis as “that Jake the Snake” while promptly mocking younger cats for playing the old Nokia game Snake. Maybe it’s my age, but them nods to 90s culture always raise a wry smile. The J Hus assisted “Clartin'” is full of energy but less satisfying, a shame given the strengths of both artists should mean guaranteed gold.
I’m not going to touch upon “7 Nights” as it’s less interesting and largely derivative modern U.S. R&B, featuring the likes of Jhene Aiko and Tory Lanez. It would be unfair to judge the two as one record as they are separate mixtapes with very different purposes. “7 Days” is certainly the record to go for if you want that core Krept & Konan experience, and with strong showings from the three big names in UK rap (Stormzy, J Hus and Skepta) – it’s definitely worth checking out.