Ten years on from its debut, we welcome back one of New Balance’s famed runners, the 2002. With this welcome return of their iconic 1000’s series, the 2002R returns with slight updates to its technology whilst keeping those all important original colour grey and black colourways.
We welcome London creatives Frenzy and Kodj to the Frequent Players channel to tell us about their story!
Born and bred in London Frenzy has built his name up for being a conscious rapper that not only cares for his music but also his community putting together sessions for young artists to make their mark with their own sounds.
Like Frenzy, Kodj’s creativity is a free flowing form that has helped him shape his career behind the scenes making sure that message is shared to all the listeners.
Having worked together for many years now, they have been able to work together to create some powerful moments of which London locals can relate to. We sat down with them to find out more on their career as well as talk about the launch of the upcoming New Balance 2002R.
Footpatrol: Guys welcome to the Frequent Players Meets series! It’s great to have you here, how have you both been?
Frenzy: Ive been great man, giving thanks daily, self affirming myself that things are great, staying inspired by my environment, friends, family, and trying to live a New balanced (Pun intended) lifestyle, Although this balanced lifestyle is about 2 years old now lol.
Kodj: Yo! Thanks for having us, I’ve been well man, healthy, aligned – Just had my bday so you know, keeping a nice and balanced Libra spirit.
FP: Let start from the top and begin with both your stories, how did you guys find yourselves in such creative careers?
F: Mine starts from instrumentals on loop from a Sony Ericsson W810i and 8 punchline bars in the boys changing room in Hackney Free (now Urswick Academy) that got a reload selecta lol. It then transpired into a popular grime crew called ‘SOS’ or ‘SOStreet’ ‘from secondary to college almost like One Direction but just with grime and in the ends. After being torn between high level football, education and music I then took a break during college through all that adolescent confusion and returned to music in University with a crazy mixtape ‘Kareem Mclean’. Since then I have never looked back 6 projects deep with my brother Kodj guiding me all the way and now we arrive at my latest EP ‘Council Estate’ which is being received very well. Overall i think God gave me this ability to be outspoken and articulate and it seems to really do well with some story telling over amazing production.
K: damnn, I’ve been slyly on this creative journey forever it feels like, I began exploring design since the tail end of primary school, msn displays then eventually on to myspace all the y2k layouts and that. Music has been heavily enforced through my Mum and older brothers. It’s been my vehicle really in navigating my way to this point, I started music blogging back in 010 and prior to that had been doing odd mix cd covers and enjoyed being around the likes of S.O.S and other super talented peers in Hackney back in the day, taking pics, getting creative and stuff like that. I’d say that period really put the battery in my back to pursue music and A&R’ing in particular. Studying music business and crossing paths with some real life legends has allowed me to now use my vast experiences together with design & UX to collaborate with start-ups and individuals from fashion, music, film, games, comedy – any and everything. Low-key I’m just finding ways to stay a kid for as long as possible.
FP: Besides your guys careers, we have brought you guys down for the launch of the New Balance 2002R. What do you guys think of them?
F: 2002R’s trainers are cold! Personally me and kodj come from a trainer/runner community so its right up our street, this shoe seems to me like a hybrid where fashion/running have birthed something pretty cool. Dad shoes have come full circle so to be able to spark some life into a classic whilst keeping the very essence of what the 2002R’s mean i think is a winning formula.
K: They’re hard man! As Frenz said, we love trainers and for me personally NB have too many crazy silhouettes intended for running that I would just rock standard lol. I love the original 2002, the sole unit was out of here! and I really like what they’ve done with this version. The upcoming collabs for the 2002R’s look wild. I’m here for it.
FP: What’s your favourite colourway out of the two?
F: Tough one, grey & black are like my favourite colours. Nothing beats subtle! But since you’re forcing me to pick ill say grey because you can see the details of the shoe and i think grey and autumn go together like Frenzy & Kodj, Aubemeyang & Lacazette, MJ & Pippen.
K: Lol, frenz is nuts. I Love them both, it’s a tough one but I have to agree, the Grey is straight militant, there’s a real harmony.
FP: Now there may be some readers asking why we are interviewing you both together, but if I’m right in saying you guys have been working together for a while. How did you guys end up crossing paths?
F: Kodj called me after my first ever mixtape ‘Kareem Mclean’ just to tell me he heard it, he loved it and wanted to know how i pieced it together! At this particular time in my life i was on an internship in Uni and i was driving in Dagenham, the reason i will never forget is because i didn’t really have faith in my craft or ever see it was a career. It was just fun and the competitive nature of wanting to release the best tracks with the best bars whilst telling my authentic story is why I even made that mixtape. Kodj gave me confidence that i could do more, since that moment in 2013 we have been focusing on raising our game with each instalment whilst leaving footprints on our local community, to ensure sustainability for young creatives around the borough. As a Rapper/MC, designers/Creatives like Kodj are priceless. We need more Kodj’s.
K: This guy’s trying to flatter me! Love bro. As Frenzy said really, the ‘Kareem Mclean’ project was just instantaneously classic to me. Seeing his journey from Grime and 140BPM hearing this project I could tell he was just a rounded guy and he spoke many things in his lyrics that represented “us” and our story coming from East London. Hats off to him, he still does that to this day. Since then really we’ve always checked in and for a little while I looked after him as a part of the collective/roster IDREAMBIG(IDB) – (when I was getting my mogul on). We’ve now done so many projects and grown a strong relationship that just spurs the whole operation. That’s my guy.
FP: Frenzy, you are also known as London’s ‘Community Driven Rapper’. How does it make you feel being dubbed that and how important is it for you to give back to the community?
F: I just feel as if i play my part as an older person should. I feel as if when you grow in a close knit community you should be able to knock next door for some butter if you have run out. Community seems to have lost its meaning in this new gentrified London but originals like myself, who are old enough should take pride in guiding the youth through so they don’t get lost. Too many people are lost out here and the last thing we need is young people with no purpose. My Uncle once said to me ‘A elder man sitting on his rocking chair can see more than a young man on a mountain’
FP: I read also you run a safe space for young artists to record their own music, how did this idea come about?
F: Again Kodj had a massive part to play in this & i cant take all the credit, I give a massive thanks to my team for helping me unravel my brand and put our finger on exactly what makes us tick. My album ‘Murder Mile’ really helped us understand not only what we love about our community, but why we love our community and how we can really impact the people closest to us. Working with Kodj & Dominick Prosser we identified an area within Hackney/London where the next generation of artists may need assistance. We look back at our journey of people misleading us, exploiting our ambitions and lying to us and we were just hungry for an opportunity. So as a team we decided we would never want to follow these ways and any information we gather we want to share with the next gen of artist and give them confidence. Now we are sitting down and speaking with Footpatrol which is a blessing! We will share this experience and be transparent about how it came about so young people have more insight into how this industry works.
FP: Moving quickly back to both you guys. Kodj could you tell us both your guys creative processes when it comes to working together, do you guys work similarly or do you guys ever have a split of opinion when it comes to working together?
K: haha, we always have a difference of opinion and I think that is what makes the link up work. We both bring ideas to the table and almost sell it to each other. Its sick cause really life dictates 90% of it. We both strive for excellence in our lives so it usually spurs organic ideas which we can then develop gradually. For instance Frenzy told me he wanted to incorporate sport into his brand at least 4 or 5 years ago and I had no idea other than ‘Go do sport’ And now it manifests so much in both of our lives that we run weekly with RTB and it’s almost synonymous with us (more him though lol) without even forcing it.
FP: What about your guys favourite project, out of all the stuff you guys have done together was there one that stood out the most for both of you?
F: I would say i love all of our projects and they all serve different purposes, but because of the scale, time and finances involved it has to be ‘Murder Mile’ because essentially we were our own label and we had to move like the majors, we employed PR, Consultants, Promoters. And literally from the ground up we were able to release an album, sell various merch, work with big brands, tour our project. All independently with no backing.
We just emptied our bank accounts and scared our girlfriends but we believed in ourselves. The main thing we know now is that we can do ths on a high level even without any clout.
K: Yeah, ‘Murder Mile’ definitely, I think that was like the combination of 10 years of figuring things out and owning independence. We called it an ‘Album’ from the jump to ensure we didnt limit ourselves in any way. We were able to work with some great people and seeing the whole thing come together was crazy. Without it there would be no ‘Council Estate’ (EP Out now btw!)
FP: Well guys its been a pleasure thank you so much for coming to spend some time with us! Before we let you go is there anything you’d like to share to the Footpatrol and Frequent Players readers?
F: Big up Footpatrol and Frequent players for having us. I spent some of my hard earned money from my retail shifts whilst working at Schuh in Footpatrol’s W1 store so this is a 360 moment for us. To the kids out there ‘SPEAK IT, BELIEVE IT, RECEIVE IT’! My EP ‘Council Estate’ is out now on all streaming platforms and my brother ‘AyChibs’ directed a bad boy video for ‘48th Floor’ Ft BlazeYL.
K: I back that! Also hold on to those dreams and promises you made to your younger self, they can ground you and in time become more valuable than you imagine. Love