June 27, 2019, was an important day for British rap: it was the unveiling of a new K-Trap, the unmasking of a rapper who—since his debut in 2016—had been brazenly wearing balaclavas due to not wanting none of the fame, nor the “baitness”, that came with the job. No face, no case, was fully in motion.

Twenty years after the world was introduced to the metal mask of MF Doom—the London-born, globally-revered hip-hop legend—the mid-2010s saw a new wave of masked emcees rise up from London’s inner city, whose harsh realities on wax have been a major point of contention. The UK drill scene—inspired heavily by Chicago’s “Chiraq” sound of the early 2010s, but one unique to its London-centric stomping ground—is a movement that South London-repping K-Trap feels proud to have come up in, but having been one of its leading torch-bearers (alongside Headie One), it’s now time, he feels, to explore the next chapter of his career.

On No Magic, K’s first project as a bally-free rapper—and also his first as a newly-signed artist to Sony imprint Black Butter, which follows underground smashes The Re-Up and The Last Whip—we get a K-Trap in full experimental mode, trying out his choppy, urgent flows on Afro-inspired cuts (“Young Fly”) and club-ready riddims (“Stay Safe”), all while staying true to his trap (“Gunshots”) and drilly beginnings (“Badness”). There’s even some downtempo, guitar-led R&B (“Change”) for good measure. Showing that he’s more than the trigger-happy bars we’ve come to know and love him for, here K-Trap gives us introspection from a fly-boy’s perspective while also nodding to his years in the trap and his love of the hustle.

In his first interview as an unmasked artist, Complex gets the lowdown on K-Trap.