Krept & Konan's The Long Way Home: What You Need To Know
South London hip-hop duo Casyo Johnson and Karl Wilson – better known under the moniker Krept & Konan – have been steadily building a reputation for themselves since their first mixtape, Redrum, dropped in 2009. Since then they've released a further two mixtapes – 2010's Tsunami and 2013's Young Kingz - and worked with a range of collaborators including Wretch 32, Lethal Bizzle, Wiz Khalifa and Rick Ross.
After the well-received Young Kingz and a MOBO win grabbed them enough attention to earn them a record deal with Virgin EMI, this week their first album proper, The Long Way Home, will finally be arriving in stores up and down the UK. Here's everything you need to know about it...
A little background...
Though it's been 10 years since the pair met each other and the last six of those have been spent making music together, in their early years together their career progress was steady but slow. That all changed in 2011 when the pair uploaded a video of themselves performing their own version of Jay-Z and Kanye West's track 'Otis' to YouTube.
In the five days between the video being uploaded and the pair being forced to take it down again following complaints from Jay-Z's lawyers, the video had racked up over five million views and, legal threats or no, the genie was well and truly out of the bottle.
The resulting attention won them a support slot on tour with British rapper Skepta and a guest appearance on Tinie Tempah's Happy Birthday mixtape, alongside the likes of Giggs and George the Poet. Even without a record deal, the pair managed to scoop the Best Newcomer award at the 2013 MOBOs and it wasn't long before they were snapped up by Virgin EMI and began working on their major label debut.
Who's producing it?
As with most hip-hop albums these days, The Long Way Home boasts a long list of production credits that includes DJ Mustard, ADP, Levi Lennox, Beats, Ragz Originale and Crumz, as well as contributions from the pair themselves.
Any special guests?
Oh yes. Loads of them, in fact. As well as collaborators from within their own musical territory like Skepta, YG, Wiz Khalifa, Jeremih and Rick Ross, there are are also a couple of surprise addition from Emeli Sande and Ed Sheeran. Not only that, but there's also a guest appearance from Konan's mum, who gets both a guest slot and a production credit on the album's third track, an interlude and intro to 'Fell Apart'.
What does it sound like?
If you've been listening to their last mixtape 'Young Kingz' over the last couple of years then you'll know roughly what to expect from The Long Way Home. A melting pot of hip-hop, trap and grime beats, The Long Way Home is still teeming with the gritty underground vibe that has won the duo so many admirers over the last few years, but tracks like 'Freak of the Week', 'Certified' and 'FWTS / Active' are radio-friendly enough to ensure mass appeal too.
Does it deliver?
Along with acts like Young Fathers, Krept & Konan are one of a handful of UK hip-hop acts to confound expectations and break through to reach a more mainstream audience, and on this evidence that success is well deserved. If they can get an album into the Top 20 with minimal promotion and almost no airplay, we can only imagine what this south London duo can achieve with the weight of a huge label behind them.
If you enjoyed Young Kingz then you'll definitely want to add The Long Way Home to your shopping list sooner rather than later. The pair have also just released an hour-long documentary charting their story over the last few years, which you can find here. You can also find the video for 'Freak of the Week' below...