- Words Aaron Bishop
- Photography Vicky Grout
- Styling Bemi Shaw
- Photography Assistant Salam Zaied
South London rapper K-Trap speaks to Notion about his new album ‘Street Side Effects’, as well as life, lockdown, and his vision as an artist.
There aren’t many figures in UK rap quite like K-Trap. His cool, calm and level-headed demeanour isn’t quite the attitude that you would readily associate with someone who is widely regarded as one of the leading lights in the formative years of the UK drill scene – especially given its largely negative portrayal in the media to date. But he has evolved since then. The days of being wary of feds, taking trips to cunch and looking out for his opps may seem like a distant memory now, and instead live on through the stories he tells in his music.
He’s made the transition from street life to stream life, with tunnel vision towards getting the kind of notoriety he can proudly associate his name with. It’s almost as if his time on the roads has shaped and moulded him for the politics of the music industry. K-Trap seemingly holds himself in high regard with his own moral code. You never see him involved in drama, controversy or twitter fingers on the timeline, and it’s this focused attitude which has seen him cultivate relationships with the biggest and best artists in the scene from Blade Brown and Potter Payper to Krept and Konan and Headie One.
His entry into the world of rap was accompanied with a balaclava back in 2016 and saw him put out certified street projects like ‘The Last Whip’ and ‘The Re-Up’. But after revealing the face behind the mask last year (along with his ‘No Magic’ mixtape), he sat down with Notion to reveal more about the man behind the music as he gears up for the release of his debut album: ‘Street Side Effects’ dropping next month.
- Jacket Prada
- T-shirt OFF WHITE from mytheresa.com
- Jeans AMIRI from mytheresa.com
- Trainers Dior
It’s been just over a year since you’ve taken off the mask and this period has seemed like a new era of K-Trap. How has it felt for you?
It’s definitely been challenging but it’s made me a stronger person, and there’s no regrets. I feel better. I feel like, at the beginning of me taking it off, was more of a struggle but now I’m starting to reap the benefits of things that I couldn’t do when I had my mask on. It’s made me a better person.
What was the thinking behind you taking off the mask?
Me taking off the mask… there wasn’t too much thought into it. Obviously the reason why I wore the mask in the first place, the circumstances just weren’t valid anymore. I felt like, to get to that next level and the level I want to get to, it’s something that I needed to do. And I got to the stage where I actually wanted to show the real me. Like, as much as in this game we play, and in entertainment, there’s a lot of people that act a certain way or they behave a certain way, or they put out an image that might not be them. I feel like the mask deep down isn’t me, I wasn’t too much of a fan of it and I just felt like it was that time to level up.
You started out on drill then pivoted to trap. Do you feel pressure from fans to keep your content or your sound the same?
I started doing drill, but when I started doing drill that was just a reflection of my life at that time. I feel like as much as you want to entertain people and you want to cater to people, I just want to be true to myself. So, the reflection now of my life isn’t exactly drill. I’ll definitely still do it, I’ll still touch on it, but I feel like it comes more natural, and I feel better, when I just give people my life or how it is for me at this time. So yeah, it’s kind of making a transition… I don’t want to make music that doesn’t reflect my day to day. I want to live off experiences and give people how I’m feeling today or tomorrow. So I started in drill, and I just feel like you’re never gonna get that raw sound of drill from when I started, because that was me when I started – the circumstances back then were very different. It’s hard for me to make you feel exactly how I made you feel a few years ago because life has changed dramatically. At the end of the day, I’m an artist before anything, I want to push the boundaries, I don’t want to just stick to one genre.
- Jacket Dior
- T-shirt DOLCE AND GABBANA
- Jeans AMIRI from mytheresa.com
- Trainers Dior
You’ve dropped quite a few singles this year. What can we expect from the new project?
Yeah… I’ve been working. I’m gonna drop my debut album that’s coming shortly. I’ve been putting in a lot of work, working behind the scenes, and put a lot of effort into what’s to come. I feel like what you can expect from K-Trap, with the new [album], is just… raw. In the sense of the gift and the curse, the good and the bad, the ups and the downs; not just the lit life, not just all the good stuff. It’s the reality of what it can be. I feel like you can expect more of a conscious K-Trap, and even more detail, but also more me, more of my emotions, of how I feel, not just what people want to hear.
How did you find lockdown and the pandemic?
Lockdown was definitely challenging because I felt like I went through loads of serious and personal stuff that, even if the world was normal, would be very hard for me. So going through it whilst there was a pandemic definitely showed me survival of the fittest, and actually getting through hard times no matter what, so it made me stronger. It was difficult, but at the same time, if you look at some of the highlights, I think it made me get to know myself a bit more. I had loads of time to think, and it made me realise what life’s about, my priorities and actually getting stuff done, and not just living for today. It just taught me loads of life lessons. I feel like everything happens for a reason and I don’t regret it because, me taking a step back or pausing made me really get into my album bag and get into what I want to do. It made me think about a lot of stuff, so I’m happy with how it went.
How far do you want to go in this music game? Do you think about the future?
I definitely want to go very far, jump over them hurdles, kick open them doors, and just push this to the limit and actually leave a legacy. I actually want to open these doors and put a lot of people in these doors too. I want to make sure that when I stop making music or I take a break, I know that I’ve kept the door open for other ambitious people that are coming up like myself.