Before Skepta won his Mercury, Stormzy went to No.1, or Giggs appeared on ‘More Life’, Thornton Heath’s Krept and Konan arguably signalled the beginning of the UK grime/rap resurgence. For a lot of artists, their 2015 album ‘The Long Way Home’ was proof that UK rap could be successful commercially but also maintain its street aesthetic and underground integrity. Since then, the duo have been relatively quiet but maintained their place at the top of the UK scene with some clever collaborations and solo freestyles. Their new double mixtape, ‘7 Days’ and ‘7 Nights’, showcases further the contrasts of UK road rap and smoother introspection that were illustrated on ‘The Long Way Home’.
The pair seem comfortable in either soundscape, but are undoubtedly more captivating in their more rap-focused '7 Days' personas. This half of the project is Krept and Konan in their comfort zone, delivering witty verses over intense, hypnotic beats. There isn't really a dull moment on '7 Days', as the pair clearly enjoy being allowed to flex lyrically without any thought of watering down due to commercial considerations. The features on this half of the project also reads like a roll call of contemporary UK rap royalty, with Skepta and J Hus both making an appearance. The highlight of '7 Days', though, is the long-awaited South London collaboration with the duo and Stormzy on 'Ask Flipz', as the three bounce between verses over a menacingly synthy beat.
Unfortunately, the effortless and unrestrained potency of '7 Days' doesn't quite carry over onto '7 Nights'. Admittedly the duo have made clear that each project is separate and tailored for different audiences, but there’s a definite dip in the excitement on the nocturnal tape. On the opening skit, a female voice tells the duo: “You need to make a nice song I can listen to at night-time”. Although obviously tongue-in-cheek, it isn't exactly the most inspiring sentiment to build a project on. And, given that she only mentions making one track, ten feels a bit like overkill.
To be fair there are a couple of good listens on '7 Nights', as Konan is undoubtedly a rough diamond as a vocalist and guest slots from Jhene Aiko and Tory Lanez do liven things up. Unfortunately, these tracks highlight the issue with '7 Nights' as a whole, as Krept and Konan end up sounding like features on their own songs. The duo have been accused of adopting the down-tempo Toronto sound before, and although these songs aren't particularly bad, 'Ride for You' and 'Save Some' do sound like ‘Take Care’ bonus tracks.
It would be unfair to judge the two tapes as one release, given they are separate projects. But the duo sound infinitely more unique, inspired and creative on '7 Days', with '7 Nights' being a sadly ironic title for its soporific accompaniment.
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'7 Days' - 8/10
'7 Nights' - 4/10
Words: Will Rosebury
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