During our photoshoot with South London rappers Casyo ‘Krept’ Johnson and Karl ‘Konan’ Wilson, their top 10 hit Freak Of The Week came on the radio not once, but twice, and then what seemed like every 10 minutes for weeks after that.
And during our sun-kissed trip to Wireless Festival earlier this year, we couldn’t move for T-shirts repping the duo’s recent album The Long Way Home, which, the very next weekend, went on to become the highest charting UK rap album in history. To call this summer absolutely freaking massive for these two 25-year-olds doesn’t seem to even get close.
But don’t think this has been some sort of X Factor overnight success story. Since releasing their first mixtape five years ago, the duo has steadily built an underground empire for their tunes and streetwear alike (Play Dirty, their clothing line, ticked off a staple rap business move early on). So where next for the UK’s most hyped hip-hop artists? Across the Atlantic, of course…
KONAN: It’s good, man. To think we’ve got this far is a blessing, so we’re gonna keep pushing. Hopefully we have a shot at America, as we’ve signed to Def Jam. We’re gonna go there, get our feet wet and take this shot.
KONAN: I don’t think anyone’s succeeded, really. I feel like it’s a risk for us to take, but as long as the UK’s behind us I think we’re cool, man. If we fall off there we can land on our big England cushion. There are maybe 100,000 rappers here, but their population’s way bigger, so there are probably millions of rappers coming up. It’s gonna be scary, it’s gonna be hard, but because we’re not from there it should seem different and new, so hopefully we’ll get the advantage.
KREPT: I don’t wanna be anyone. I want to have attributes that some legends have. I’d love to have the portfolio of Jay Z or P Diddy, music success like Kanye West or Drake, and the respect level of Beyoncé. But I feel like we want to take bits of everyone and just become the ultimate version, you know?
KREPT: We’d never been to the Brits, so the first time we experienced it was on stage with Kanye West. Sick. Skepta hit us up and was like, “Yo, can you meet me at The O2 in the next hour?” He’s not the kind of guy who would randomly message you, so we knew it was for a reason. Then we went backstage and saw Kanye and he said, “Thank you so much, I appreciate this.” It was a good vibe.
KONAN: [Laughs] We were making the album and my mum sent me something, saying, “I’ve got this video of when you were three, singing with me.” I was like, “This is sick”, as we had a song that was about paying the bills and going through struggles, so it was perfect. Funnily enough, she just told me she’s found another one. So you never know, album two…
_ Photography: Dan Wilton _