J2K and PUMA linked up to shut down Notting Hill Carnival this weekend, turning the J2K HOME Float into one of carnival’s biggest and best vibes for 2019. The float was a celebration of everything that PUMA and J2K’s partnership symbolises: pioneering creativity and culture. J2K stepped out in the PUMA RS-X, the latest chapter in a relationship between himself and the brand that will see them partner up again at ComplexCon to launch the new PUMA Rider sneaker.
HOME is J2K’s lifestyle essentials brand and they connected with a host of huge names to takeover the J2K Home Float for carnival’s biggest party including Krept & Konan, Chip, Ramz, Damson Idris, Mikill Pane, Harry Pinero, Yinka and Poet. Every guest was gifted a HOME Carnival Essentials pack, which included J2K’s all-new HOME Hot Sauce.
Over the past decade J2K has been one of the most influential and inspirational voices in youth culture, whether he was rapping in Roll Deep or being the founder and driving force behind start-ups like Crep Protect, Crepes & Cones and – more recently – HOME. Notting Hill Carnival was a time to celebrate everything that him and his friends have been able to achieve.
As the vibes at Notting Hill Carnival wrapped up for another year, we caught up with J2K to chat about linking up with PUMA for this year’s float, the sneakers that shut down carnival, and how he became one of the most exciting entrepreneurs in the UK right now.
Photography by Jay Kammy.
COMPLEX: It’s that time of the year again! Why is Notting Hill Carnival so important?
J2K: The carnival is important because it bridges the cultural gap between communities. It’s a weekend where you see everyone from all walks of life turning up together and just having it!
What are some of your favourite memories from Carnival?
There’s loads really. I mean from childhood to adulthood, coming to carnival is going to give you different memories – from enjoying the party as a kid in the street for the first time in your life to absolutely losing your mind at Rampage when your favourite song drops, but I think one of the most memorable times for me was seeing busta Rhymes perform when I was young and the sea of people that was there for that. He was like electricity in a human form! Mental!
What’s the story behind this year’s float in collaboration with HOME and PUMA?
The story behind the float is the same every year, basically HOME is all about organic vibes – when it comes to our events we started out by doing house parties so the aim is to bring that vibe and energy to the float. At the same time, not everyone has the luxury of just walking through the carnival and enjoying themselves which is understandable if you’re an artist or an actor, so HOME provides that ‘HOMELY’ environment you need on your days off from being a superhero! PUMA will be making sure we step well and comfy so we can sustain over the course of this weekend – which is very important! They’ll be providing drip and wellness for the people.
This year’s theme is “Flight & Fantasy”, what does that mean to you and how have brought it to life?
Flight & Fantasy fits perfectly with HOME this year as our logo is all about the flamingo, so we’re just gonna follow the flamboyance of this great bird and fly into the night! Seriously though, we’ve added costumes to our float this year so our dancers (@jadelaurice and @joleahnoble) will be winged and ready to take off alongside the ELIMU Paddington Arts Mass band.
From Crep Protect to Creps and Cones to HOME, you’re one of the UK’s biggest entrepreneurs! Where did this spirit come from?
Ah bless, from young I’ve always just wanted to work for myself and put my ideas into practice, it’s just something I’ve grown up being into – I’m never really comfortable having to rely on anyone and patience isn’t really my thing either – but I do enjoy working with people to grow ideas and businesses from scratch. My mum actually reminded me that I told her I wasn’t going to work for nobody at six-years-old! Only God knows why my mind was made up at that age (laughs).
Your latest venture is HOME Hot Sauce. Why hot sauce and what’s your palette like with spicy food?
The hot sauce is something I’ve always wanted to do and with the brand being all about HOME essentials it just made sense as every home needs hot sauce whether you can cook or not! It’s actually more essential if you can’t cook as it’s a quick way to vibe up your plate if it’s bland…
The sauce actually came about after I had a conversation with a sauce maker called Patrice Hinds, who reached out to me because he felt I needed a sauce, which was crazy because it was perfect timing as I was already planning it, it’s like he read my mind from wherever he was! We had a few meetings, I tasted his stuff and then I told him where I wanted to go with it in terms of flavour...and then here we are today! I’m good with spicy food, even when it hurts (laughs).
What’s your favourite food at carnival? What did you pair your Hot Sauce with?
Anything I could get my hands on the quickest! But in all honesty I was looking to pair the sauce with some chicken, fish and fried dumplings while down there.
How supportive have PUMA been in getting this year’s float up and running?
I’ve enjoyed working with PUMA – they’re a brand that aren’t afraid to work on interesting projects as opposed to just hype all the time and that works for me, I like the balance over there. It helps when I bring my ideas because people like Tom at PUMA will just get it, so then we can just crack on and create some dope shit and leave memories...the support is massive.
Sneakers are such a big part of carnival. What’s the ultimate carnival crep?
I’m probably gonna say the Puma RS X Tech – it’s a long old day so you’re gonna need that cushioning under your foot! What I’d also really love is for PUMA to make the all-white Cali in men’s sizes please!
What's next for J2K?
I’m tryna deal with what’s on my plate now! My head is spinning (laughs). I am actually working on one of my life long dreams, but let’s catch up on that one at the end of the year or early next year...I need to make sure that’s right before I talk about it!
J2K will be linking with PUMA at ComplexCon to launch the new PUMA Rider sneaker. Get a closer look at the J2K Home Float from Notting Hill Carnival – in association with PUMA – below.