K-Trap – The Re-Up
After a strong breakthrough in 2017, the South London trapper returns with his newest release 'The Re-Up' to reaffirm his impressive skills once more.

If East London is the mecca of Grime then surely the sun for Road Rap sets in the South. Producing historic movements like PDC and SN1, not to mention veterans such as Blade Brown, Youngs Teflon, Timbar, Fekky, and so many more, a recurring sprawl of distinctly disadvantaged council housing in Lambeth, Southwark, Lewisham, and their neighbouring boroughs has been responsible for a large chunk of the canon as we know it. Perceived newcomers such as Suspect and Young Adz stand out as exemplary graduates from a class of talent laid waste to throughout the stalled progression years around the turn of the decade; along with drill groups such as Harlem Spartans, 67, 410/150 and Zone 2, this generation has consistently kept their neck of the city at the top of the UK Rap game through all of its various phases. Since his return from jail in recent years however, one of the most influential rappers on the UK scene by far has been none other than South London’s K-Trap. 

Given that he was a relatively lesser known name outside of South before his incarceration, fate could have easily gone badly for the rapper and left him a mere footnote in the overall history of Road Rap. Luckily for K-Trap, and a scene that was threatening to become overwhelmed with a ravenous demand for the booming UK Drill sound, it went another way; he debuted his mixtape, The Last Whip a modern update of the template started by meticulous rappers such as Blade (not to be confused with the 90’s UKHH act of the same name) and Yung Meth, which saw tales of building lines and going cunch to a newer generation with a demand for harder beats. From appearing on the earliest 67 loosies, to excelling with tag team partner Mischief over the course of two mixtapes and striking a partnership with regular collaborator Slay Products, K-Trap went from an obscurity to a man who’s influence on both his peers and the majority of London alike feels resonant. Now he brings us his newest project The Re-Up, as both a reintroduction and a forceful reminder of why he’s become one of the strongest presences in UK Rap today.

As alluded to earlier, why K-Trap is such a significant rapper is that he’s managed to corner off a lane to himself in his generation that hasn’t been claimed by many in the current scene. Sure, rhyming about drug selling isn’t some radical discovery, but K-Trap’s greatest qualities emerge within this constant theme. He doesn’t talk about generic violence or boasts in the way most of the chaff of the drill scene tries to get away with, but instead commits to a level of detailed imagery and content that instantly puts him heads and shoulders from the others. Meanwhile his aggressive, barreling flow rolls through more modern tracks than a lot of road rappers who prefer the older, slightly conservative east coast hip-hop feels. This sort of potency in his own preferred formula that cribs from different branches of rap allows for him to feel somehow more universal than a lot of rappers. He isn’t quite drill, not trap, not even the more hip-hop style, but a guy who can give a little bit of everything for anyone. Its telling that when guests who have made themselves known for different styles or aesthetics such as LD from 67, Loski or Yung Bxne show up on The Re-Up, each of these men feel a need to bring their A Game lest they be pushed to the side by K-Trap’s skilled Mcing.

Of course, returning to help make The Re-Up such a successful victory lap for K-Trap is his sparring partner in Slay Products. For all of the confidence and the malleability of vision that the rapper is benefited with, it helps that his producer displays a versatility that sets him apart from many of his peers in the scene. Records like the hard nosed “In Season” or the pensive monochrome simplicity of “A to B” are familiar updates of what we already know to expect from the pairing, and are executed to satisfying results. But more interesting are the curve balls that emerge, such as the clubby crystalline attempt of afro-trap on “Deserve Me” that could easily stand up against the more commercial efforts of rappers such as Mostack or Mist who balance the rough content with the smooth sounds, or even the romantic Spanish guitar laced “Wild & Winning”. Other productions from the likes of Carns Hill, Soundboi & GA certainly help continue with the consistency of The Re-Up by offering no weak efforts on their end; yet it’s unmistakably this signature team’s output that makes this EP an impressive follow-up to breakthrough project The Last Whip.

Standing at 11 tracks deep, The Re-Up is a breezy but brutal listen, and a satisfying refresher of quality tunes from K-Trap to keep his presence on the scene as strong and potent as possible. Already having demonstrated his considerable influence on peers and progeny alike, the demand for the kind of material he’s serving up is at a record high, and he appears no less capable of rapping at a caliber that should leave newer listeners and established fans fiending for more. With the last year or so safely tucked under his belt as having left an impact on the scene, the stage feels set for K-Trap to make his presence felt even further than ever before. Now the only question is with the streets undoubtedly behind him, where is the next level for him to dominate?

Written by /
Published /
July 18
Category /
Album Review