Krept & Konan have made their long-awaited comeback with two stylistically contrasting mixtapes, 7 Days and 7 Nights. In a year where most of the major British rappers have dropped well-received projects, there was significant pressure on Krept & Konan to impress. They clearly took the reception in from 2015’s The Long Way Home to produce this marketing strategy; splitting their rap songs and their R&B songs into two separate projects to tailor audiences that favour one or the other. While 7 Days should be relatively straight-forward in terms of expectations, it’s 7 Nights that will prove whether the risk-taking paid off.
There’s been a demand by the public for K&K to bring back their hard-hitting, street-styled quality to their rap songs. On 7 Days, Krept and Konan abide and are back to their lyrical best, leaving no room for any filler by selecting a mere 11 tracks that all provide a punch.
The tone is set from the get-go on the opening track “Champions League”, with the first word of the track being “aggression”. That word alone is an accurate description for most of 7 Days. It’s a threatening intro that serves as a warm-up for the sort of intent the duo are set to bring (“Cause this is Champion League shit / You ain’t even in the Prem yet”).
On a lyrical basis, Krept & Konan are best known for their wordplay that makes you react like Wee-Bey from The Wire. There’s an abundance of this on 7 Days, repeatedly making you wonder whether which rapper of the two had the best verse. Every track matches the usual impressive punchlines with well-matched production, particularly “Ask Flipz” which would pop off in a club setting (“I met the weed plug in Sweden / Like I’ve gotta try bring the stock home”), (“Got your bird on my balls; Spurs”). Stormzy proves he can deliver a decent hook and follows that up with an equally-impressive verse. It’s the best display of energy, lyricism and chemistry on the tape.
Along with Stormzy’s appearance, the rest of the guest appearances do well to add something different to the track. Skepta spits committed one-liners on the organ-heavy “On My Life” (“I bought my dad a house, that’s what n^^gas do / Mum got jealous so I got her one too”), while J Hus shows he was the perfect feature for the mixtape’s closer “Get a Stack”, the smoothest track out of the lot.
A special mention has to go out to “Khalas”, the 8-minute lyrical thriller that stacks multiple verses from Krept, Konan and RA. The fact there’s no hook lets you know this is solely a display of lyricism, epitomised by the final set of bars by Konan who incorporates the names of animals in an extended metaphor.
Them man are all sheep, and you’re looking at the GOAT
I might pull up in a Lamb, monkey for the coke
I see pigs in my rear, I had cats on my phone
They had my dog on the wing
He done a bird, came home
7 Days ensures the bars are matched up with equally impressive production. Producers EY and Adotskitz ensure there’s a sense of energy and aggression in the production whether it’s skittering (“Ask Flipz”) or menacing (“Khalas”). In fact there’s not one beat that ends up disappointing, showing how much of a good ear K&K have for beat picking.
The trap-styled beats may occasionally sound like they’re heavily influenced by American beats. This may be an obvious critique from listeners, but Krept & Konan prove they can match the sound and contrast it with different types of delivery. The only moments where the States come to mind the most is on “Told You”, “Wo Wo Wo” and “Sauce”, the latter of which involves Krept adopting Eminem’s flow from “Forgot About Dre”. “Wo Wo Wo” was a track that sounded too American for my liking initially, but it grew on me as the duo pull off the style successfully.
Krept and Konan’s solo tracks provide a necessary contrast whether you notice it or not. 2016’s “Last Night in LA” is there for when you want energetic wordplay, while Krept’s “Cold Summer” provides a more relaxed vibe with introspective subject matter. It’s a necessary inclusion to give a break from the non-stop adrenaline. Konan’s ad-libs are another notable detail to the mixtape, providing Konan a case for having the best ad-libs in the British rap scene.
To put it simply, 7 Days gives nothing but energetic hits infused with uncompromising lyricism. It’s hard to think of many British projects this year that have delivered such cohesiveness and energy. From the way Krept & Konan took their time to perfect and select tracks for this mixtape, it’s fair to say 7 Days will survive the test of listening longevity.
Rating: 8 / 10
Best tracks: “Ask Flipz”, “Last Night in L.A.”, “Robbery (Remix)”, “Khalas”, “Get a Stack”
The partnering mixtape, 7 Days, is where Krept & Konan’s artistic skills are really put to the test. 7 Days proves that they can make lyrical rap songs, but they’re out to prove they can push boundaries that they first started to display on The Long Way Home.
7 Nights doesn’t deliver anything original, but is pleasant on the ear as a result of its use of the trendy R&B-trap sound. There’s nine 3-minute tracks (not including the intro) that spans for a mere half an hour. The short length results in more cohesion but also a blur in memorability, as tracks like “Save Some” and “One More Time” (a perfect imitation of a Drake song) blend together effortlessly, ultimately sounding like they’re the same song. That’s predominately down to the recycled production, which tries its best to maintain a consistent, smooth feel with signature alt-R&B muffled bass mixed with trap hi-hats and reversed intros.
The indistinguishable production could have been excused if the hooks were up to par, yet there’s a lack of memorability in that department as well. “For Me” is the only solid display of melodic hook-making, thanks to Konan’s suitable display of singing over the dancehall-tinged beat. He’s not hitting any notes or anything, but the project would have failed totally without Konan delivering passable level of vocals. Krept’s impersonation of Vybz Kartel takes time to get used to, but is a necessary departure from Konan’s hook with dominates the track.
“Wrongs” is another highlight, a track that stands out thanks to the presence of Jhené Aiko and the twinkling, melodic production.
Thematically, 7 Nights involves Krept & Konan addressing women and the difficulties in communicating with them, touching on concepts such as trust, loyalty and sex, yet there’s no new angles provided by K&K that we haven’t heard before. 7 Nights tries its best to modernise relationships within the context of Instagram and iPhones, although it comes across as cringe-worthy (“Late nights sending you memes”, “Who’s that girl and why she keep liking your pictures?”). These references are rarely absent, as there’s more when it comes to mentioning Uber, FaceTime, WhatsApp groupchats and DMs. The lyrical themes are just another aspect to add to the bag of unimaginative songwriting.
On the other hand, Krept & Konan have crafted a project that plays into the hands of most modern music listeners; an audience which isn’t looking for creativity that will skip to the next song without it even finishing, add their favourites to their playlist and praise the mixtape after only one listen. That is epitomised by the intro to the mixtape (“You need to make a nice song that I can listen to at night time. Not this grime, rap, shouting stuff”). If Krept & Konan really have diluted their work to tailor the short attention-span of this audience, it will suit them well.
For casual listeners, 7 Nights is an easy-going, easily-digestible half-an-hour of generic R&B that’s ideal for background music while a girl applies her make-up, or during a late-night drive. Once you get past the likeable R&B aesthetic, 7 Nights doesn’t produce anything artistically impressive.
Rating: 5 / 10
Best tracks: “For Me”, “Wrongs”, “Ride for You”