SO it’s the second week at number two for the South London power pair, Krept and Konan, with their groundbreaking album “The Long Way Home” released through one of the biggest label in the urban music industry, Dej Jam, and Virgin EMI. Add that to a prestigious BET award for the Best International Act, a MOBO award for best hip-hop act of 2014 and an entry in the Guiness World Record book and you have an authentic British duo who are reaping the rewards of their efforts over the last 365-day spin.
No spring chickens to success, Krept & Konan have been pulling in nominations and awards since the very start of their fast-propelling career and making it look easy all the while. What makes them a hit? Simple, when you play a Krept & Konan track you’re looking at punchlines and flows that can contend with the best of them and with that kind of clout, plus hit singles and ambition it only makes sense to veer over to the mainstream… luxury-boat style (mainstream/boat, get it?). So forget a long walk home, it’s air-Def Jam from now on with record label logos from the aeroplane wing down to the serviettes.
But to think, it all started with a few hot freestyles; notably a ‘back to bars’ in ’09 with SBTV that had a gutter but butter delivery to it and expanded their strong-south following across the counties of England. Now, they’re deep into millions of views for Behind Barz freestyles, Fire in the Booths and a few select covers that have made a lot of people pay attention. One thing has remained consistent throughout, unsigned but unphased, and this was celebrated through the success of the Young Kingz album. A year on and in an uncanny self-prophetic style, the Young Kingz have been crowned with the Highest-Charting UK album by an unsigned act and can hold their own on a label like Def Jam because of the work that they have put in on the underground circuit.
What Krept & Konan represent is more than good music and knowing your audience, but they are essentially pioneers for pedalling your own artistry and letting the ‘big dogs’ find you. From the success of an album like J.Cole’s Forest Drive, to the unknown emcee who’s got a fire sixteen, what matters is striking a chord with your audience, then perfecting it and not letting off the accelerator until everybody wants to hear more of what you do. From Tsunami till “Freak of the Week”, Krept and Konan have hardly deviated from a combination of sharp lyrics and beats that you’ll remember; needless to say, expect the USA to embrace them but moreover, expect majors to set a similar measure for new artists who can amass huge followings independently. It definitely can be done.
More power to the duo and be sure to check them out alongside, Wretch 32, Stormzy and a few other UK giants who will be performing hits on hits, at the Royal Albert Hall on the 12th August with BBC Proms 2015. Big things are happening…