The festival takes to Laboma Beach, Accra this December.
The explosion of urban music into the mainstream in recent years has been undeniable, but perhaps less unearthed is that of the UK’s second city, Birmingham. The city is home to many hip-hop, grime and sfrobeats artists, from MIST, to JayKae and Lotto Boyzz, all of whom have had incredible success in the past year.
Another up and coming star of the city however, is K2. The self-proclaimed ‘pretty-face hustler’ recently released his debut EP, Hustler Season, a raw delivery of his struggle, eventual triumph and everything between. The 8-track project received an incredible response, leading with the single Life’s Good which, along with other videos, have amassed hundreds of thousands of views.
Following this release K2 has announced his first ever headline show, to be held on 28th February 2018 at the 02 Institute Birmingham. We caught up with K2 on his recent visit to London to delve into his music, the show, and what’s next.
A few months ago we saw the single Life’s Good, and then when the EP dropped we saw another visual for Straight Raw, contrasting the celebratory moments of the first, with the raw grittiness of the latter. Why was that?
Life’s Good is exactly that, me in a space where I wanted to make a tune about how my life is a bit different now. I was feeling good with life at the time, hence the chorus. We shot the video out in Barcelona, it was amazing. It’s brighter and so is my mind-frame, you can tell… but it wasn’t actually the first single I made for the EP. Straight Raw was more of an accurate depiction of where we’ve come from, and what we had to go through. But it was also a reaction to the feedback I was getting. After Life’s Good, I had people asking me, “is this your new thing now?”. They thought I was gonna’ go down that route of afrobeats type music. I had to make it clear that’s not really what I come from or what I do, hence, Straight Raw.
But having seen the success of that sound, with artists like J Hus, Not3s etc, charting and going Gold, were you ever lured towards it?
I would do that sort of music 1000%. I would jump on it, but I would never just do that. I’m all about hip hop and rap. I’ve got my own type of sound, and that’s what people say, it’s always been like that. Back in the day when I first started, it was slower, and when I started learning more about structure and making music, going into the studio, it quickened up, and developed. It’s not quite 140 bpm grime sort of speed, but it’s quick for rap.
Birmingham is having a real moment, 2017 has arguably been the best year for music coming out of the city. Can you see this momentum continuing?
100% I think it will. I think the momentum will continue but we need to stay on it. Look, like this year, we’ve had Lady Leshurr killing it, MIST (who just won a MOBO), Lotto Boyzz with a sold out tour, and Jaykae with his upcoming EP and tour. And that’s not even all. We are taking it seriously now. It’s looking healthy and right, but we just need to keep it up.
When it’s your time it’s your time. We all have different blueprints, and we have to keep working at it.
The EP was strong, the show is going to match it right?
It’s my first ever headline show – o2 Institute Birmingham. It’s gonna be a movie. I’ve been planning it since the beginning of the year. The right time has come, and I’ve always wanted to fully see and interact with my supporters; see the people who listen to me, who will actually come to the show and watch. This is the right way to do it. We’ve got all sorts planned and it’s the right way to do it. I wanna’ give them a good show, something to remember. The right people are coming, and it’s gonna be lit.
After the show, in fact even this year, we’ve got more music coming, more projects. Non-stop work mode right now. Just watch.
Tickets for K2’s Hustler Season Headline Show at 02 Institute Birmingham on 28th February 2018 are available now through Ticketmaster.co.uk.