South London duo Krept & Konan may have been amongst the raft of grime MCs invited to perform with Kanye West at this year’s BRIT Awards, but on their debut album proper, they’ve largely eschewed grime hallmarks for a more US-influenced sound. With dramatic, intense strings and slow, ponderous beats over detailed and introspective storytelling, this is UK hip-hop in a post-Drake world.
Krept & Konan’s success has largely been off their own back, and they’re very keen to impart that they’ve worked hard and paid their dues. This gives 'The Long Way Home' an overly serious tone for many of its tracks, as Krept & Konan seem more preoccupied with getting their message across than the song itself. They’re skilled MCs though, and while they may not have a style that’s immediately distinctive, they remain engaging enough to hold your attention for a whole album.
As the back half of the record progresses, they let go a little, heralded by the presence of Jeremih on party jam Freak Of The Week. This welcome run of Krept & Konan kicking back is halted in its tracks a few songs later by the anti-Jeremih or, as he’s more commonly known, Ed Sheeran, on the mournful Dreams. Sheeran and Jeremih join an impressive list of guests, which also includes Wiz Khalifa, Rick Ross and Emeli Sandé.
There’s a lot to enjoy in 'The Long Way Home', but at times Krept & Konan are so keen to get the listener up to speed on the back-story, that they lose sight of what the listener is there for in the first place. Now they’ve got the first record under their belts though, and presumably have got all that preamble of their chests, they can focus on making album number two as good a record as they’re capable of.
Words: Joe Rivers
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