Revenge Is Sweet
Since the release of their debut album The Long Way Home in 2015, Croydon rap royalty Krept and Konan have seen, heard and been through a lot. “We've lost friends since the last album,” Krept tells Apple Music. “We’ve started businesses since then, too. This album is the journey we've been on so far and where we're at now.” Over 13 tracks, they share stories of success and triumph, of loss, violence and grief. They blend thrilling high-octane records, sure to send crowds into a frenzy, with the kind of candid moments of self-reflection that have endeared them to supporters for over a decade. Read below for their track-by-track guide.
Goat Level Konan: "When people are trying to say we haven’t achieved anything, we just remind them in the music. 'Don't compare me to these rappers' is how the bar starts. We've been here 10 years straight, and it's not easy to stay in this music scene for that long and still be putting out music that people care about, to still tour, to still chart. So, it's just a little reminder."
Salaam Konan: "The way this song starts, it feels like, ‘OK, now the album's starting.’ We punched you up for the first song, now here’s the album and a song you can just vibe to. We’re trying to give you time to still think about that, to give you a little breathing space."
I Spy (feat. Headie One & K-Trap) Konan: "Energy, man. There's just energy in this track.“ Krept: "When we first released this, it suited what was happening at the moment and it had the bouncy feel. It is a happy beat but the bars are at your neck, so it’s a good blend. We'd also just released ‘Ban Drill’ [2019 single], so it made sense to have that song, and then do this song with drill artists. It just all fell into place almost subconsciously. Headie One and K-Trap are everyone's favourite drill artists at the moment. K-Trap's from our area—he literally lives on the next road from where I lived—so if you can make these songs and put people on it that are from where we're from and also add to their thing and it add to ours, it just makes so much sense.“ Konan: "Then, with Headie One, we're on his project [2019 mixtape Music x Road]. 'Robbery Remix' with Abra Cadabra [2016 single featuring Krept & Konan] was maybe one of the first drill songs to cross over, so it's only right now that we link with Headie One and then we put Abra on the remix. We've come full circle."
Keep Talking (feat. Stormzy & Cadet) Krept: "This song is us as a family and a friendship showing what we can do with our arms around each other, just going in. Cadet [London rapper Blaine Johnson, who died in February 2019] and Stormzy were close; we're close with Stormzy and obviously Cadet's family. Originally it was just us and Stormzy, and then it was us trying to find a Cadet verse. But because it's 140 BPM, we knew Cadet would have a 140 BPM verse somewhere. So we were just hitting up his producers asking, ‘Have you got a 140 Cadet verse?’ When they sent it in, it just fit perfectly. It sounds like we all just recorded it together, but everything was done separately. Originally it was Konan on a different song, then Stormzy jumped on it. We weren’t too sure about that song, but the bars on it were hard. So we took those and made a brand-new beat. Then we did the back-to-back stuff and added Cadet at the end."
Love and Guidance Konan: "Having skits on a project breaks things down and takes you on a journey. The album is like a film when you have interludes and skits. Here, my mum is talking over my dad's song. The reason why I even do music is because of them, so when I'm going through these situations, my mum is someone I go to and talk to and tell her, 'Mum, I'm stressed' or ‘This is happening,’ and she'll tell me, 'Son, don't worry about it. You know why you're here, you know what you need to do.' In the background my Dad is talking about how whoever God has blessed, no man can curse. It just went with the whole vibe of ‘Revenge Is Sweet’. People are coming at us? People are not respecting the team? Don't worry about it; ‘whoever God blessed, no man can curse.’ Then my mum is saying on top of that, ‘Success is the best revenge.’"
Revenge Is Sweet Konan: "When we got this beat, we knew this was the song we were going to vent on—all the frustrations, we're just going to let them out. We’ve seen artists come and go, we've seen artists at the top of their game and then disappear into oblivion. We've been here, still battling with the older lot and now the younger lot. We are a part of what helped build this scene. We're going to move regardless, but you know when you do something and feel like no one is saying much about it, eventually it's going to bother you a little bit. We just feel like the industry doesn’t really talk about us as much."
G Love (feat. Wizkid) Konan: "I was in the studio with Wizkid for three days, working late-night sessions. This is the first of two songs we made. If the vibes ain't right, he ain't trying to do it, so I just started playing beats. Eventually he was like, 'This one! Trust me.' Then we decided to make another one. The producer, P2J, was in with us, and we asked him, ‘Can you make a beat on the spot?’ He put on his headphones, got to work and he made it in about 25 minutes—the beat, sample, everything. He got a vocalist in there, who sung the sample, and the beat was done. We thought, ‘Wow, okay! Pressure makes diamonds.’ Then Wiz told me, 'Your turn now, make a hook.' So I was sitting there trying to come up with a melody and eventually came up with 'Cîroc with ice…' and then he jumped on and we made it a back-to-back thing."
First Time (feat. Tory Lanez & Spice) Krept: "This is us making renditions of classic Jamaican records. The first time we did it was with 'Freak of the Week' and people loved that, so we thought, let's find another record. We got Vybz Kartel's 'Virginity'—we remade the beat and the first verse, then we needed the hook. We thought Tory Lanez would fit because he does the Caribbean hooks and he can tap into where we wanted to get to. We didn't even go to the studio, we did it in his hotel room. After that, we thought the song also needed a female vocal. So we reached out to Spice. This is one of our favourites, man—just the way it makes us feel."
Cheating on Wifey (feat. Mostack) Krept: "I feel like people thought it was going to be about girls and cheating, and just being a scumbag or something. But we knew that we wanted to mislead with the title. This one needed a hook on it, and then Mo came with his swag on it. Mo's such a quick writer, he comes up with a hook so quickly."
Tell Me (feat. D-Block Europe & Ling Hussle) Konan: "Adz and LB [from D-Block Europe] are the bros from early. It wasn’t even for an album’s sake and we did like five riddims. Here, I was the assist man, and Adz came through with the slam. It’s good working with D-Block Europe—they are mad fast. They’re good at what they do and they know what they're doing. The vibe in the studio with them when you're making a tune is different to how we normally move. We usually like to get the beat, then go off and write. But they were different. They said, ‘Nah, we need to do it now, let's go! Have you got the melody? What's the hook? You got the words?’ It’s very vibesy—everyone's giving their input."
Forgiveness Konan: "Here, we just wanted to round things off. To say, ‘We came at you next with these songs, but we're over it. Those songs were therapy, to get things off our chest. You were shooting at the star, but we know you don't mean it, man. It’s not personal.’" Krept: "There’s a lyric where I say, 'Fuck pressure from the net, just work hard until that bag comes/Just forget the pressure from the net and work hard until your time comes.' Because it is real and it affects a lot of people's mental health. On Instagram, people go and spend their money on things just to impress others, or they just move mad for the 'gram. So this song is just to say, ‘Don't lose yourself trying to follow this. Just do whatever it is you love doing and just work hard until your time comes, because everyone’s time is different.'"
Before It’s Too Late Konan: "Ramz [the London MC who addresses the listener directly on the track] is publicly going through it. People think that when you're successful, mental health doesn't affect you—as if you're not a human. We feel like it’s good for him to voice it because people had been watching him on the internet, and they probably didn’t have a true insight what's going on. Talk to people, man, don't suffer on your own—just talk to someone before it’s too late. People get anxiety. People go through depression. They're stressed—the pressures of wanting to succeed, not being happy with where you are at the moment, seeing other people shining, seeing people post their good stuff, and it affects you in a way."
Broski Konan: "We're talking about our friend that committed suicide. He was involved in our restaurant, Crepes & Cones. He committed suicide on the week of his birthday, about five days before we opened up the restaurant. We didn't see it coming. We just wanted to end it on that note. Yeah, ‘Revenge Is Sweet’ and all of that, but this is real. Yeah, you can see the cars, the achievements, the successes, the downs, the ups. But it’s all affecting our mental health, and we just have to make sure we look after ourselves mentally, and physically as well. Make sure you just always put that first over everything."