In Conversation: Blade Brown, K-Trap Talk ‘Joints’, Jamal Edwards’ Impact, Cloutchasers In UK Rap & More

The idea of a joint mixtape is one that often exists in the realm of possibility but rarely in reality. If two artists make a successful song together, fans ins

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blade brown k trap blade brown k trap blade brown k trap

The idea of a joint mixtape is one that often exists in the realm of possibility but rarely in reality. 

If two artists make a successful song together, fans instantly start calling for a fuller body of work. On some occasions, one track is all we need. In other instances, a whole project makes complete sense. Joints—a collaborative mixtape from Blade Brown and K-Trap—falls in the latter category.

Blade Brown was one of the first road rappers to successfully drop a joint mixtape when he and Giggs connected for Hollowman Meetz Blade in 2007, back in an era when UK rappers needed to sell physical copies of their music and radio spins were rare. 15 years later, Blade has linked up with fellow South Londoner K-Trap as two generations collide to remind everyone why they’re both so highly rated. Calls for the rappers to release a joint mixtape started back in 2019 when they put out the trap banger “Joints”—which, at the time, was their third cut together, following on from “Show Me” and “Back To Cali Freestyle”. The music video for “Joints” has since garnered over four million views and still offers high replay value today. 

Demand for a collaborative mixtape only grew stronger when K-Trap delivered his debut album, Street Side Effects, in November 2020. One of the standout tracks was “Probably”, his fourth release with Blade and another moment which listeners referenced as a reason why they should make more music together. Fast forward to the present year, and those requests became a reality when Joints—the mixtape—finally dropped last month. Blade Brown and K-Trap put out a couple of music videos from the 11-song tape and linked up with Trapstar for a one-off pop-up store to help spread the word, and it all paid off in a major way when Joints—released independently—entered the UK albums chart at No. 18, which is a testament to both rappers’ solid fanbases.

We caught up with Blade Brown and K-Trap to discuss the making of Joints, the impact the late Jamal Edwards had on their careers, cloutchasers in UK rap, and more. 

“During the first few sessions, Trap was definitely putting the pressure on me to get stuff recorded quicker than I was, which made me step things up a notch. Having that push was good for me.”—Blade Brown

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COMPLEX: Blade, you first started rapping in 2005, and yet you’ve managed to stay relevant all these years later. What’s your secret?

Blade Brown:
If you look at the length of the time that I’ve been rapping, I’ve been practicing my craft and I just moved with the times. I’ve studied the art of rapping—rap is something I’ve always studied. It’s not easy for me, but it is easy for me because I’ve studied the game and mastered my craft. Working with artists like Trap helps me keep up as well. 

When Hollow Meetz Blade—your collab mixtape with Giggs—dropped in 2007, it was a really big moment for UK rap. Will we ever see a part two?

Blade Brown:
That tape changed the streets and changed the dynamics of the game, so I’d never rule out a part two. It’s got to make sense and the people’s gotta want it, but I’d never rule that out.

Given the success of Hollow Meetz Blade, why did it take so long for you to link up with another artist for a joint project?

Blade Brown:
 I’ll be honest: other than [Youngs] Tef and Trap, the fans haven’t really asked for it. But they asked for this one a lot, so we decided we had to do it. The listeners spoke it into existence.

How do you know when you’ve made a good track? What’s your quality control process?

K-Trap: You just get that feeling. You can’t force the feeling—it just comes naturally. With this project, because it’s a joint tape, we weren’t as harsh on ourselves. But when I’m rapping by myself, I think of my biggest songs or the songs that people like the most, and if it doesn’t give me that same feeling, I need to go harder.

Blade Brown: There are moments where we can critique each other and no one’s gonna take it in a bad way, but the funny thing about this tape is that everyone thinks we made loads of songs and picked the best. We didn’t. We literally just made 11 songs and that’s all the songs right there. I feel like we were on point and the quality was on point—we didn’t really need to do a lot of chopping and changing. Trap was more on-form when we made this tape, in terms of releasing music and recording, whereas I haven’t put out a lot of stuff recently. During the first few sessions, Trap was definitely putting the pressure on me to get stuff recorded quicker than I was, which made me step things up a notch. Having that push was good for me.

How did you go about selecting the right producers for Joints?

K-Trap: We just got sessions in with different producers and made the tracks there and then. 

Blade Brown: I think we kinda know when a producer plays a beat that we both like. We both have to be feeling it. There might have been a couple of beats I didn’t like as much as Trap did, but he’d be like, “Trust me on this one,” and vice versa. There’s definitely a sound that we wanted—we wanted it to be very trappy. We weren’t trying to make any commercial hits or anything like that, we just wanted to give people what they want and love us for. There’s a wide variety of producers on there. We got Skepta to produce one of the beats as well. That was just us vibing in the studio and then he started spitting that bit of the Gucci Mane freestyle, then we found it online, sampled it, and wrapped it there and then. It was very organic.

You had a pop-up store collaboration with Trapstar and used their font on the front cover of Joints. I know you both have close ties with the brand, but what was it about this particular project that made you want to do something bigger with them?

Blade Brown: Like I said, there’s no label or anyone else involved, but we wanted to work with a brand that we’ve associated with over the years. They were involved with some of the marketing side of the tape; we used the Trapstar font on the cover, and we kept the Trapstar theme going through the videos with the clothing, all of which led up to the collab [T-shirt drop] with them. It’s a brand I’ve been working with for years, Trap’s been working with them for the past few years as well, so we’ve got a good relationship. We both appeal to the same market, so it made sense for us to come together. 

“Since I’ve been working with artists like Blade, [Youngs] Tef and Giggs, it’s a different type of pattern compared to working with other artists. I’m honoured because these are the people I used to listen to from early on.”—K-Trap 

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