Krept & Konan – ‘Revenge Is Sweet’ album review: taboo-busting brilliance from the UK rap polymaths

Score

'Revenge Is Sweet', the Croydon-raised duo's first album in four years, is a record stuffed with heritage, great penmanship and feel-good tracks

In the four years since their last studio album, ‘The Long Way Home’, south London duo Krept and Konan have released a slew of mixtapes, run their own label, Play Dirty Records’, and even opened a crepe restaurant named Crepes and Cones. Renaissance men Casyo Johnson (Krept) and Karl Wilson (Konan) are now back, though, to remind us why they become so beloved in the first place.

Showing off their Jamaican heritage, the duo team up with the queen of dancehall, Jamaica’s Spice, to remix the ‘Beach Front’ riddim, made popular by the explicit (and now jailed) star Vybz Kartel. Interpolating his dancehall hits ‘Virginity’ and ‘Romping Shop’, the groovy ‘First Time’ is an island song to get every Caribbean to wave their flag. It’s fronted by the Bajan-Canadian Tory Lanez, his crooning syncing up nicely with the free-flowing track. All four contribute to the sexual narrative that (usually) links to the genre. The song is a proud hailing of West Indian culture.

But if you’re listening to a Krept & Konan record, you don’t just expect one type of genre. The afro-swing ‘G Love’ – featuring African superstar Wizkid – is a refreshingly mellow love song. Utilising the isolated snares and drum line of afrobeats, this shimmering track will ease your autumnal blues. The low, bass-less instrumental allows you to listen to every word with clarity: “I used to do moves like pilates,” Krept raps, “Con was with a MAC like Ariana Grande”. Konan adds to the heightened feeling of success with his cheeky boast about his contact list: “They say your network is your net worth / Probably got half a billi in my phone book (behave)”.

This album is laced with elite UK talent. The most interesting UK collab is with Stormzy and the dearly missed Cadet, who died in a tragic accident last year. ‘Keep Talking’ is a show of raw penmanship, as the four rappers send a warning to everyone testing them. Cadet’s boastful cadence illuminates the end of this boisterous track; he blows away the previous verses, his rhymes mixing comedy with gangster imagery: “Pull up with some old school Bebo n****s / Them n****s take flights like some Heathrow n****s”.

‘Revenge Is Sweet’ also pays tribute to another lost brother, Nash Chagonda, with great respect. The duo’s former business partner, who was instrumental in setting up Crepes and Cones, tragically took his own life last year. Krept & Konan’s heartfelt lyrics demonstrates their emotional side, as they break the ‘angry black man’ stereotype synonymous with many UK drill rappers: “So much pain, so much love / God took an angel from us,” they sing on ‘Brodski’,a tribute song for all the fallen soldiers out there.

These two rap entrepreneurs have proven that it was worth the wait for another studio album. The years between ‘Revenge Is Sweet’ and their debut ‘Long Way Home’ have been fruitful for the duo, but – for all their dabbling – this is a welcome return to their roots.

Details

Release Date: 1st November 2019
Record Label: Virgin EMI