You probably don’t know who 2K is, and he’d like to keep it that way. You might have heard him mixing PARTYNEXTDOOR into Ruff Sqwad during +44, the monthly show (every second Thursday of the month in case you were wondering) on Radar Radio he sometimes rolls through to. Maybe you’ve caught him blending chopped and screwed edits of R&B classics into medievally hard drummed rap instrumentals, sipping on Rubicon Lychee in a dark room in London. Or perhaps you've seen his close friend and collaborator PARADISE orchestrate a live rendition of La Haine in Amsterdam with the “The World is Yours” blimp as a backdrop? If you're lucky, sometime in the near future you might see him #movingprestige2k18 in Mayfair – but even if you did, you would never know.
Thanks to an innate skill for weaving the romance of UK funky with the anxiety of guitar-led instrumentals and more, 2K is an artist who's come to decorate himself as a builder of narratives in the hours he spends on radio. Tune in to that 60-minutes and you'll possibly be blessed with some of 2K's secret edits. Made as far back as 17 years ago, these edits are as much a DIY collage of feeling as they are floor-ready tools for smoking rooms out. That's why it was essential for us to meet with him. Ahead of his appearance at Goon Club Allstars’ fifth Birthday this week, we managed to track down the most elusive man in music since Burial during a standard day for him – a shopping trip to Harrods. Today, 2K has teamed a black camo-print satin shirt and a United Nations hat with a pair of metal Saint Laurent sunglasses – essential to keeping his identity hidden. Drifting through the men’s perfume section of the luxury store, 2K spritzes Flying by Maison Martin Margiela at regular 4/4 intervals. After a couple of hours wandering around, during which he buys 16 new Ralph Lauren bedspreads for his chateaux in Cherbourg as well as a miniature Prada backpack-keychain for his USBs, we head to the Tea Rooms. Inspired by long-time behind-the-scenes collaborator @bambooshooter, it's time for 2K storytime.
Let’s get into it. Who is 2K?
2K: Bismillah Al Rahman Al Raheem. Ferdowsi Tabatabai. Born in London and Paris.
When were you born?
2K: 31/3. 313, obviously.
What’s your favourite meme?
2K: Rah…okay…A critical question. Kermit. All of the Kermit memes…I’ve got every single Kermit meme ever saved on my phone *shows photo gallery*.
Wow yeah. That’s a lot of Kermit. Are you a fan of the tea?
2K: Yeah. Only Kermit’s though.
Why have you ordered coffee?
2K: It’s the better drink and I’ve been on zero hours sleep, but I come like I have unlimited Mario Kart stars and move invincible either way, so mashallah… That being said triple shot latte with 2% milk or an iced black americano – if you’re reading this and tryna pull up on a show, bring either one in a large size and you’ll get list.
That coffee has a lot of cream and chocolate going on. You repping diabetes gang?
2K: Astaghfarallah, I’m strictly here for a healthy lifestyle. I wanna know which donny was tryna kill me with this but we don’t need to bother with the cream. Useless. Just like Twitter. Back to the point, it’s gym gang 24/7 – although I’ve been off gym for a minute as I see to +44’s international operations. Soon on job though don’t worry.
What’s your favourite workout when you touch gym?
2K: I live in the weights and resistance section; Pure Gym is a true hero.
Let’s get into some real zeitgeist issues. What’s 2K’s stance on plastics?
2K: In regards to the utility of plastic within the domestic sphere, 2K is of the position that all manifestations of plastic must be recycled and repurposed for further use in accordance with achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. That reminds me: Plastician’s recent tweets about how back in the day nobody knew who the identity behind the artist was? Can’t relate.
Why do you disagree with that take?
2K: It assumes there is some kind of ‘reverse privilege’ where utilising identity or marketing your music through it exists in a vacuum that excludes the real-life violence of existing in attachment to that identity. We’ve already had this conversation multiple times in multiple languages. I’m tired. Most of us are too.
You recently tweeted about your distaste regarding Fatima Al-Qadiri’s use of Muslim prayers in some of her music. Can you tell me more about that?
2K: She had a project a few years ago where she used a lot of old nohes [sacred Shia vocals] – no Shia would besmirch the sacrality of what those things mean. She’s aestheticised something that hundreds of thousands of people have been executed for believing in; I’m very protective of this. Suicide attacks and the proliferation of terrorist organisations in the modern Middle East have a genealogy of anti-Shia sectarianism and people have been murdered in practice of their faith by them. Why is it okay to take the very reason people get killed and have that repurposed for the white gaze and passed off as art? It’s not, it’s clapped, it’s image gang, and exoticisation is inexcusable — keep it moving. *Suddenly turns his head*. Is this [Ed Sheeran] “Shape Of You” playing?
This tune follows me everywhere I go. What’s your favourite vine?
2K: Wow. Okay. Anything posted on Aswad’s account – this Nigerian Shia don, posted bare Nollywood videos. RIP Vine. I used to make a lot of videos on it.
Tell me a bit about your friend PARADISE.
2K: 2K is PARADISE’s manager – he’s living between New York and Paris at the moment; currently based in Paris.
Talk to me about red roses.
2K: Something something romance and growth. Actually, it’s not that deep – they look beautiful.
You like to use the rose emoji a lot in your social media output. What’s your favourite emoji?
2K: *Picks up drink, swills it and takes a long sip* That’s a very difficult question.
Okay, let’s make it easier – what are your top five emojis right now?
2K: Let me bring out the stats. *Gets out phone and checks frequently used emojis* We’ve got the red heart emoji — a classic. Gotta show love and affection to my faves — shoutout to FOSHNADEH. Ghost emoji’s posted up here, naturally. The sparkling star emoji’s popping too; the rose emoji too, obviously. Finally, a classic emoji combo: the race car with the gust of wind coming out behind it.
On the subject of the ghost emoji – you’re one of the most ghost guys in music right now. Can you tell me more about the art of ghosting in these hyper-visible times?
2K: Obviously as Ferdowsi Tabatabai AKA 2K AKA CEO of +44 Industries – a subsidiary of GHOSTING INTL. LLP – I am an expert in this area and a member of the Honourable Society for Internationally Chartered Ghosts. GHOSTING INTL. LLP is an international organisation specialising in the theory and practice of ghosting, with particular reference to the geographical confines inside the M25. We have recently expanded operations and have opened offices in New York and Paris that are headed by Hassan Najafi, AKA PARADISE. He’s currently on holiday in Monaco.
Would you say Monaco is the best place to ghost in 2018?
2K: I cannot disclose privileged information but it’s definitely not Dubai. Dubai has generally become the location for International Instagram Bad B link-ups, and we aim to avoid those conferences at all costs. Monaco and Monte Carlo are the new International Centres for the Advancement of Ghosting Culture but Monte Carlo isn’t anyone’s plat du jour yet. SAINTLY’s due to fly out there though.
If 2K had a super power what would it be?
How did you get into DJing?
2K: Aged six under the tutelage of Ademo, one of the PNL brothers. Alhamdulilah, we have been able to build a strong relationship in the time that we have spent together, and I hope to be reunited with my brothers soon. They were the ones who really put me on and showed me the way.
Who are your influences?
2K: This G here *points to chest* – not Ralph Lauren, the Ralph Lauren horse. Everywhere you go you see him posted up. He’s just about. The don whose face you will never ever see – that’s the definition of being everywhere and nowhere at the same time.
Who would your dream B2B be with?
2K: Goku Black but I’m in archived navy LV, silk smelling like a rose orchard.
What does 2K get up to when he isn’t doing music?
2K: As a graduate of BSc Ghosting & International Mind Your Business Studies, 2K is currently in the process of obtaining his MBAA – Master of Babyboy Analytics & Administration.
Back to some more important issues on current affairs. Best rapper in London right now?
What are your thoughts on London’s music scene?
2K: Put it in the bin and set it on fire.
Final question – who do you hope is a secret listener of your show?
2K: Head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya Amano.
Catch 2K playing at Goon Club Allstars fifth birthday this Friday, March 30. Tickets available here.